Since making its presentation to investors at the 2013 Michigan Growth Capital Symposium last May, MAR Systems Inc. has brought in new capital and revised its market-penetration strategy, positioning the company for near-term profitability and long-term growth.
“During 2013, we closed on aggregate C Round financing of $3.9 million,” says Richard Stuebi, president and CEO. “This will lengthen our runway significantly.”
Cleveland-based MAR System manufactures, packages and sells a patented proprietary adsorbent media under its Sorbster product brand that removes highly toxic contaminants, such as mercury, selenium, arsenic, fluoride and cyanide, from water streams. Sorbster pellets function like small chemical magnets that attract and hold, or “ionically bond,” heavy metal particles, removing them from discharge water.
This clean-water technology is attractive to mining, refinery and power-generation operations, which must meet increasingly tighter environmental restrictions and regulatory compliance laws governing their discharges into rivers, lakes and streams. “We also recognize other sales opportunities in the chemical, metal-plating and steel industries,” Stuebi says. “In Michigan, we are working with chemical plants and a steel manufacturer. We’re also doing a significant pilot deployment at a mining operation in the state.” The hydraulic fracturing industry is not on MAR’s radar, however, because Sorbster pellets do not remove the contaminants present in waste water from fracking operations.
Last summer, MAR Systems revamped its go-to-market strategy to broaden its market penetration, shifting toward indirect sales through channel partners and away from direct sales by its own sales force. “We have taken steps to develop relationships with distributors who can market our products rather than knocking on doors ourselves,” Stuebi explains. “Based on our client and channel partner successes over the past year, we anticipate we will achieve profitability by mid-2015.”
MAR Systems’ success in advancing a promising clean-tech product and process, at less cost than its competitors, has not gone unnoticed. In September 2013, MAR was selected as one of the 10 Energy and Clean Technology Venture Award companies at the 11th Annual Energy and Clean Technology Venture Forum in Houston. The event, sponsored by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, is the largest venture capital conference in the Southwest.