The name Aclarus is based on the Latin word clārus/clāra meaning to be clean and clear which aligns with the goals of the company for both water treatment and client relationships. In 2004, Michael Doran, Aclarus Ozone’s President (and Peterborough native), began working with ozone. In 2009, VP of Marketing, Adam Doran joined with Michael to develop Aclarus advanced ozone technology.
For World Water Day (March 22nd) Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development connected with local cleantech company Aclarus Ozone to discuss their growth over the past five years, navigating COVID-19 and what it’s like to be named to “20 Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2020” by MaRS Discovery District.
1. Where did the idea/concept for Aclarus come from?
We were motivated by what we realized was the massively underutilized potential of this superior disinfectant technology that was also environmentally friendly, energy-efficient, and sustainable.
In 2012, through an introduction from the Innovation Cluster, we partnered with local investors who were starting a water company. At this time our company focus was providing complete ozone-based systems for the consumer residential market.
In 2019, we made significant changes to our senior management team and investors. We also pivoted our sales and marketing focus to the commercial, industrial and municipal sectors.
Our instincts regarding the potential of ozone back in 2004 have become fully realized as ozone is one of the fastest-growing technologies in the global water treatment sector. Aclarus has become a recognized leader with an installed client base of nearly 1,000 systems globally. With increased global concern for environmentally friendly solutions, Aclarus is well-positioned for continued success.
2. What has it been like navigating the COVID-19 pandemic with Aclarus?
We are proud of the way our team has adapted so well during this challenging time. As a vital service, we had to safely manage and adapt our workplace for those team members that were required to work on-site. Those who could, worked remotely. We believe our team has become even stronger and resilient as a result. In fact, during this time we have experienced tremendous business growth. We recently hired two new team members and we are currently looking to hire key positions in technical sales, service and engineering. These opportunities can be found on our website at aclarus.ca/careers
3. What has the past two years been like? Walk us through some of the accolades you and the business have received.
The last two years have gone by so quickly. We’ve grown at an amazing rate; having doubled our staff and continuing to add more to meet the growing demand for our advanced ozone solutions. Just over two years ago, we moved into our new Peterborough headquarters at 1901 Fisher Dr and have recently expanded our space for both manufacturing and offices.
In 2019, we partnered with a new investor group. We also repositioned our business plan from a consumer focus to business which has resulted in a more sustainable and coordinated growth path. We have grown our revenue year over year and have front-loaded a larger pipeline of projects while expanding our partnerships. Our marketing and communications have evolved to promote our brand and success stories to a growing audience, helping to expedite our growth even further.
Our Aclarus client list now includes First Nations communities, public parks, municipalities, fisheries, breweries, wineries, farms, dairies, condominiums, public buildings, cannabis growers and more. We are also thrilled our system is part of a solution for disinfection and removal of medications from wastewater in a hospital in Ethiopia.
Last year we were included in:
“20 Entrepreneurs to Watch in 2020” by MaRS Discovery District (the world’s largest urban clean technology accelerator) and “20 entrepreneurs Changing the Way Canadians do Business” by Yahoo Finance.
We were also honoured to have won a Water’s Next Award in the Water Resources, Project and Technology Category, which recognized individuals, projects, and technologies that have made significant contributions to the water industry in Canada.
4. What are your hopes for Aclarus in the next few years?
We have a solid business development plan in action to affirm our place as the leaders in advanced ozone technology and complex water solutions providers. We hope to continue our growth at an accelerated pace and recruit more talented team members to support this growth.
We plan to expand our industry partners while continuing to evolve our technology for current and new markets. Our plan includes significantly expanding our global sales with an emphasis on greater US market penetration.Adam Doran, VP of Marketing at Aclarus Ozone
With our proven track record system benefits with industry demand for our solutions, we continue to expand ozone’s position to replace or enhance traditional treatment methods. We have built our brand on those results, always proving out the operational, financial and environmental advantages for the end-users. Our environmentally friendly systems are now treating millions of gallons of water a day without harmful chemicals.
5. What is it like owning a cleantech business in Peterborough & the Kawarthas?
Cleantech is certainly a ‘feel good’ industry to work in and our home in Peterborough & the Kawarthas has been a big factor in our growth and success. The region and local groups such as PKED, Innovation Cluster and CFDC have made great efforts to help elevate the region as a key clean-tech player and provide solid support programs.
We have benefited greatly from our partnerships with the local community. We’ve worked closely with Trent University and Fleming College on projects, research and local suppliers providing leading-edge research project opportunities and verifications. In fact our VP of Technology & Customer Success, Dr. Brent Wootton was formerly with Fleming CAWT.
We work with lots of local companies such as SGS Labs who provide lab testing, Tindill Electric who assembles our electrical control panels, and MATCH Automation who provides our system programming. As we continue to expand and grow, there is a great ripple effect for job creation and revenue that transfers through us and our partners to the community. That’s not even to mention the benefit of lower costs to doing business and high quality of life in a great city close to major hubs and the US market.
6. What are your thoughts on the growing cleantech industry in the region?
This is a bit of a goldilocks region for cleantech; access to suppliers, markets, support and research institutions, an affordable area to operate and live, surrounded by the natural resources, clean-technologies strive to protect for life and industry. This is a growing area with the right population density that takes pride in promoting its community success and there are opportunities in the region with concerted efforts of decision-makers to bolster cleantech. Innovators, particularly in cleantech rely on a tight budget and many resources and mentors to design and develop their products with. We are able to make our dream a reality due to a community looking to grow and local investors who were willing to seed and grow our concept. We are very grateful for the region’s help in supporting and bolstering our growth.
We must also acknowledge and express our appreciation for our early cottage & residential clients, many of them from the local area, who have supported us for nearly a decade. Without them, we would never have achieved the success we have realized today. Although our business has shifted to larger commercial applications, we will always be available to support our residential clients. We owe them our deepest gratitude.
7. What makes Aclarus unique to our region?
Aclarus Ozone is an innovative company that is unique to the region, as well as globally. We are leaders in the design and build of advanced ozone water and wastewater treatment technology that is a superior disinfectant, environmentally friendly, chemical-free and energy-efficient. We have unique expertise in solving complex water problems with our advanced ozone technology. Aclarus is attracting business from around the world in need of our superior environmentally water disinfection solution. We took ozone beyond what people thought they knew about it and what it could do; much the same as the region has.
8. What is your favourite thing about living and working in Peterborough & the Kawarthas?
I would say without hesitation it’s the people and the ambition of the community that stands out, with world-class companies and institutions ready to go to work.