Michael Doran is the president and co-founder of Aclarus Ozone. Aclarus aims to solve complex water problems with advanced ozone technology.
The ozone world is a 1.4 billion-a-year niche I used to know pretty well, as that's where I've cut my water teeth. It's been around for over a century, with the ozonation step of the Nice drinking water plant in France continuously operating since 1906.
On the players' end, you've got Veolia and Xylem as established market leaders, a new wave of Chinese players that might well be of equivalent size today, like Newland or Guolin, proponents of modular approaches such as Primozone or Pinnacle, and historic Japanese moguls that quietly exist to hunt a white elephant from time to time, such as Metawater or Mitsubishi.
All that little band meets several times a year in International Ozone Association gatherings, where they are joined by academics, and grows steadily under the influence of new regulations and higher water quality expectations on both ends of the Water Cycle.
On the technological side, I remember how excited my R&D colleagues were when a multi-year development program yielded some percent of performance improvement - and they were and probably still are the top-notch guys in this industry. So safe to say there's a technological asymptote, and that sector tends to it.
All in all, it's not the worst business to be in, I've enjoyed my ozone years, and I've learned so much, but it's probably not the most exciting either, still, if you ask me.
So if you can't really expect to disrupt the technology, if it's around for a while, if it has established players, and if it won't go through the roof. Why would you start a company in this field?
Well, that's one of the keys to today's conversation with Michael. Because it goes against all the preconceptions: there's much to innovate on the business side, the customer service, the go-to-market, the overall approach, the solution mindset, and many more that Michael will detail in a minute.
You don't have to create a category or prove a technology from scratch. Executing better than anyone is also a key skill - if not THE key skill - but enough from hearing it from me. My guest will tell you all of that much better.
So let us take off, just after this reminder, that if you like what you hear, if you think this will be of interest and value to someone else out there, there's only one way to spread the message: take this episode and share it with them. Drop a WhatsApp message, a LinkedIn InMail or status, an SMS, a hint at the coffee machine or simply tell them. Really, that's how podcasts spread, and that's how I know I shall continue to provide more of them! Come on, do it, and I'll meet you on the other side!
How to Win in a Competitive & Mature Niche Market: The Astonishing Aclarus Ozone