The recent infusion of $1.7 million from the 26-member Peterborough Regional Angel Investors (PRAN) into Canadian operations of Rainmaker Worldwide Inc. will push forward a unique life-changing system for turning air into water, helping to address a pressing human need in equatorial coastal communities around the world.
Michael O’Connor, a Peterborough-based serial entrepreneur, says the new money will stay in Canada to expand and improve the new company.
“We hope to quadruple the size of our former sales pipeline within a few years,” says O’Connor, Rainmaker’s CEO. O’Connor’s extensive biography includes ten years with Orascom Telecom in Egypt. During that time worldwide growth in operations skyrocketed from 250,000 mobile customers in Egypt, to 125 million globally.
“We want to do the same thing with Rainmaker,” he says. “We aim for the same success and most importantly, the same or even greater societal impact.”
The locally raised funding was critical to the company’s keeping its new headquarters and corporate growth planning base centred in Peterborough, says O’Connor.
“In the process I’ve met local business people who believe in our vision and will act as my mentors.”
O’Connor credits the City of Peterborough’s and Trent University’s plan for an 85-acre Trent Research and Innovation Park with establishing the right environment for clean technology businesses to develop. He also praises help from the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster for providing Rainmaker with invaluable early planning support.
“Rainmakers success in raising such significant funding and bringing their technology to market so quickly is a perfect example of how the partnership between PRAN and the Innovation Cluster benefits local entrepreneurs,” says Martin Yuill, CEO of GPIC. “It is this perfect combination of access to funding and value-added support services that makes Peterborough such a desirable location to start and grow your business,” Yuill says.
“Basically we have a wind driven system that converts mechanical energy into thermal energy, in a cost effective, sustainable manner, with the end result of converting air into 7500 litres of water a day,” says O’Connor.
A second, related purification system can produce over 90,000 litres of purified water a day from salty or polluted water in remote locations, he adds.
“The need for access to clean water around the world is massive,” says O’Connor. “And I am not in the slightest concerned about competition because the need is so great worldwide. Water is a matter of life and death.”
The Peterborough office will employ six to ten people this year and expand with the addition of a research and development element, O’Connor says.
“The staff here have senior executive experience in finance, business development, marketing and international business,” he says. The office also has part-time help for administration and bookkeeping. The Netherlands office houses the company’s technical executives, and the chief legal officer works out of Dubai.
“Rainmaker received additional funds from Dutch investors as well as support from a Dutch business development fund that is facilitating construction and opening of our new plant in Rotterdam,” says O’Connor.
Plans for the near future include the induction of more research expertise to improve the company’s product portfolio.