As an environmentally sustainable company at the forefront of recent technology turning waste into industrial commodities and energy, Emergent Waste Solutions (EWS) provides innovative and practical solutions to communities and organizations across Canada that are dealing with waste issues.
EWS has been operating for nine years as a proven, commercially successful technology within Canada. Partnering with organizations that have a waste problem, EWS operates the innovative technology and turns waste into a profit centre rather than a cost for disposal. As the company moves into their pre-IPO fundraise phase, they have joined FrontFundr to connect with Canadian investors who understand and believe in the importance of innovations to create a sustainable economy.
Emergent Waste Solutions’ CEO, Kevin Hull, and Robbert Visscher, CFO, share their experiences in raising capital and explain the company’s upcoming milestones.
- There are many different ways to raise capital in today’s markets. What appeals to you about FrontFundr?
FrontFundr is outside of the box in the investment world. It offers access to people who are looking for long-term investments that they can hold on to, and who will benefit from a genuine increase in the value of the business. In many ways, the public markets have become a disappointment and a drain on the financial system and economy. FrontFundr brings a new, fresh way to accomplish fund raising, where a company can go directly to interested parties and present a viable investment opportunity to them.
1. What are some of the biggest challenges when looking to raise capital in Canada?
There is so much opportunity for the Canadian investor, and yet one of our current challenges is that we have not yet been introduced to those parties in the proper way. We have found that potential investors are often wary of the public markets, yet without going to public market, how can we get to those other regular investors? Now, there is FrontFundr, which gives us a pathway to get to the investors, have a conversation, and show them our value proposition. That’s what FrontFundr does: it takes a different look at the current investment landscape, and offers a new angle for investment.
2. Based on your experience, what do you consider to be an important aspect when pitching investors? Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs on the key ingredients of a strong investor pitch?
Emergent Waste Solutions’ technology is not brand new, we have a proven technology that has been running commercially for nine years. So, we are different to other startups in the clean tech sector in that respect. What we emphasize in the investment conversation is the idea of risk mitigation. Investment is a risk-reward exercise. Our company has an extremely high ROI relative to the risk. To some potential investors, based on the risk-reward model, this strong ROI reward suggests that the risks must also be high. However, our technology is proven for multiple years and has a much higher ROI compared to risk. Therefore, we consider it very important when pitching investors to show them that the risk is actually quite low while maintaining a high reward – that’s what appeals to investors. Any pitch is about leading a potential investor to an understanding of the risk-reward ratio, and how it is very advantageous in that situation.
3. How would you define success for your company?
While we most recently received the necessary financing to build our showcase plant in North America, our next milestones will be our pre-IPO fundraising as well as providing working capital for our first project until revenue. If we can achieve that fundraise, it will give us the resources we need to operate the company and ensure that the showcase project is a complete success. That is what we are looking to FrontFundr for: help to reach our next big milestones.
We are solving a major hurt. Waste is a cost for corporations—it costs them to dispose of it, and it costs them social license to do so, as the perception of their communities is that the corporations are generating too much waste and pollution. EWS not only offers a solution, it provides a business opportunity by turning waste into a profit centre. That waste becomes a raw material for manufactured products, instead of a cost for disposal. This in and of itself is a success.
4. What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned establishing your business over the last nine years?
Tenacity. The ability to modify and change our approach when things are working, and a willingness to critically look at how we could do things differently.
We knew that EWS was a unique and innovative service, but what we had failed to recognize was that we have a track record. We had to shift our attention to emphasizing that we are a proven, commercially successful technology in Canada. We want to give Canadians the opportunity to be a part of what’s going to be an important new wave of sustainability through North America. To do so, we had to learn to come up with creative funding opportunities.
5. What advice would you give to a business looking to raise capital? And what advice would you give them in terms of selecting an exempt market dealer to work with?
Our selection to work with FrontFundr is based on meeting the people and looking at the platform. We were flat out impressed with the team. What especially impressed us was the amount of due diligence they were putting in. This wasn’t the case with other crowdfunding businesses. In this instance, we really felt FrontFundr was doing their due diligence on our company, and that the level of attention applied to each selection means that they are only bringing desirable companies to their platform. When we were invited to be on the platform, we thought: okay, we are part of a select group.
For more information on Emergent Waste Solutions, visit their profile in Sector Lounge.