Company Profile Page, click here: HZO, Inc.
According to HZO’s website, HZO technology provides liquid submersion protection, corrosion, prevention and high volume manufacturing solutions for consumer electronics, wearable technology, medical devices and industrial components.
1. Mr. Bartholomeusz, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions. I’ve been following the HZO’s progress since I first saw the company in 2012 at Harris & Harris Group’s “Meet the Portfolio Day.” Before we get into more detail, firstly, in your own words, let’s start off with an overview of HZO, Inc.
HZO provides a nanotechnology solution for electronics manufacturers and device makers that protect electronics from damage and failure caused by exposure to water and other liquids, dust, debris corrosive environments and even full submersion. The protective technology is applied at the component level of a device or product during assembly. We work with customers across a wide spectrum of markets, from consumer electronics and wearable technology to medical, life sciences, military and industrial applications. Our technology is enabling because it gives product designers additional freedom and flexibility to design their products that include a waterproof feature – they do not need to design around our technology, which is mere microns thin and optically clear.
2. I remember getting my first cell phone in high school, and it’s become unfathomable to think of going anywhere without my iPhone – this includes places where it could potentially get wet. What inspired the development of HZO technology?
You’ve hit the nail on the head. Electronics have become intricately woven into the fabric of our lives, and damage, or even the risk of damage, can cause disruption to our routines (consumers), our livelihoods (businesses), and even our safety. Electronics and water have never been known for their symbiotic relationship, but in todays world or 24x7 connectivity we can't run the risk of device failure because of exposure to things we encounter everyday like water, sweat and humidity. HZO Protected devices have the power to eliminate the risk associated with everyday use and open the door to change a user experience beyond what has ever been possible. It’s about confidence that electronics will be able to perform in any environment and under any conditions, and protecting essential electronics is what we get up every day ready to do.
3. I’ve seen the HZO technology demonstration a few times now – both in person at the Growth Capital Expo, and on video, with us on SNNLive. Can you explain in greater detail how the technology works?
We spend a lot of time tearing down and studying electronics. How they work, what their failure points are, rethinking engineering problems that would create a more efficient way for us to apply our protection. This is key. We develop a customized solution by device through the extensive engineering experience we harbor in house and through close and ongoing collaboration with our partners. Once we know a device intimately, we pre-treat key components and then apply the technology. Again, the application is directly applied to the components inside of a device. That too is key. That’s because water will always find a way in. No matter how tight or how strong the seal is. The HZO difference is in the fact that we let the water into a device and it doesn't matter because the sensitive electronics are safe. No corrosion, no risk, no failure.
4. How do you intend to monetize HZO’s technology? What are the various applications?
HZO is a technology licensing company. We monetize our technology through licensing it to our customers, or their manufacturing partners, who incorporate our solutions into their devices at the device assembly stage. The demand for HZO’s solution has resulted in the company growing at a truly remarkable rate.
5. Since July 1st, you’ve come out with some news regarding a $20 million financing with Iron Gate, expanding your partnership with Flextronics, the launch of Deutsche Telekom’s Waterproof Tolino Vision 2 eReader in Germany, and expanding to Korean manufacturers. Could you elaborate on each of these milestone events?
HZO closed on a growth equity round this year to support the much larger than forecasted demand for our solution. We are striving to ensure our ability to grow does not impede our key customers. To support this growth, we have developed a global network of world-class strategic manufacturing partners, well versed in our technology, who can multiplex our ability to support our growth. Our manufacturing partner strategy provides our customers with choice; either they can license our technology and adopt it within their own mfg ecosystem, or they can contract with one of HZO’s partners to support their manufacturing needs with relevance to our technology.
We are extremely pleased that Deutsche Telekom chose us as its waterproofing solution for the new Tolino Vision 2. It is the first commercial European product that we are protecting and a powerful validation of our technology to manufacturers and consumers in that region. Our expansion into Korea is another step forward in our global growth and positioning plan. Korea is especially relevant given its long and successful tradition of manufacturing innovative devices in the electronics space. Beyond Korea we also have evolved and productive partnership in the US, China, Taiwan and Europe. The partnership with Flextronics, like DT, is another strong proof point of HZO’s acceptance and adoption by the Fortune 200 club.
6. How do you see the future for HZO?
We are growing exponentially in a market that is almost $7B dollars today and growing at a CAGR of almost 50% for the foreseeable future. The relative size of HZO and the market today provides some insight into the tremendous market pull we are facing and the unfettered growth prospects we are contending with. Think about all of the electronics that surround us and we use each day and where those products come from. HZO provides a level of protection and security that consumers are starting to demand, and we are on a mission to become the brand that is associated with superior protection, making us the go-to solution for makers of electronics. HZO’s brand is already developing a strong head-of-steam and international recognition via steady communication with key markets and industry leaders. We’re consistently working to secure consumer visibility by finding cobranding opportunities like the Tolino Vision eReader that was announced by Deutsche Telekom a few weeks ago. Putting HZO Protected products in the hands of end users will act as a powerful catalyst in driving brand awareness and consumer demand--especially when our partners are willing to highlight our technology as a differentiating feature.
7. What is your background and how does management intend on achieving HZO’s goals?
I’m an applied materials scientist by training but with an interest in growing technology businesses. HZO is on an aggressive growth trajectory and with the diversification we discussed before, there are many companies and many opportunities for us to pursue. HZO is focused on the customer. We put a lot of emphasis on really understanding the issues and challenges that device makers face, and then working together to come up with a process and solution that emboldens a product. The power of this technology speaks for itself, so we work diligently to create alliances that help put this remarkable technology in the hands of more and more consumers and end users. In the end, they’re the ones who will drive the demand. I feel that once a person experiences a HZO Protected device in action it will be hard for them to imagine having anything less.
For more information about HZO, Inc., check out their website: www.HZO.com
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