H2O, our most vital liquid was the subject of Innovation Forum Manchester’s most recent Pitch in a Pub event. Held on 9th August 2018, in the usual place of the Turing Tap on Oxford Road, around 30 attendees, including students, academics, researchers and professionals, gathered together to hear about two water-related projects from the established Salamander Group and young start-up ArzuTech.
To kickstart the evening, Iwan Roberts, President of Innovation Forum Manchester, welcomed the attendants and introduced the speakers. He also explained what Innovation Forum is and promoted the IMAGINE IF! 2018 Accelerator competition.
The first speaker, Dr. Stephen Boult, Founder of Salamander Group, relayed how his need for better water monitoring equipment became a successful business for him and his partner. His company started back in 1996, designing, manufacturing and selling environmental water monitoring equipment. But eventually, as Steve said in his talk, they realised there wasa much bigger market opportunity in the monitoring of water distribution systems (pipelines). They also learned that finding specialised partners was easier than trying to do all the work by themselves so they decided to licence some of their products to Siemens. Nowadays, Steven continues to expand the commercial activities of Salamander Group with his academic research exploring technologies that could lead to new products. He concluded his talk by stressing the role that fear plays in many decision-making and how the potential risks of not adopting a technology can often be a more powerful motivator than solely concentrating on the potential benefits. By applying this with identifying the needs of specific individuals within an organisation, it can often lead to much more fruitful opportunities to seemingly impenetrable large organisations.
The second speaker, Aranzazu Carmona Orbezo, is a PhD student in chemistry, working with Graphene ‘the wonder material’, to purify water through electrochemical processes. Her aim is to tackle the water scarcity problem that is currently affecting many major cities around the world and which will become more severe in the near future. ArzuTech, the name she gave to her young start-up, has been a finalist in a number of start-up competitions, always finishing in second place. Aranzazu admitted this has demotivated her on occasions, but her passion for this dream makes her keep trying with renewed energy and improved strategies.
After the inspirational talks and the corresponding questions from the public, attendants continued their discussion of ideas in a great atmosphere for networking and engaging with other innovators.
New connections were made, experienced professionals offered to share tips with those wanting to dip a toe in the entrepreneurial waters, some attendants enquired about volunteering to speak at future editions of the event, and others asked to join the Innovation Forum team. This edition of Pitch in a Pub was a great success all round.
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on our next Pitch in a Pub.