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Technology designed to give outdoors people more options
MEET ANDREW COOK
Andrew Cook is CEO of a small Atlantic Canadian company, with a product you will literally get a charge out of.
Cook is co-founder of Seaformatics Systems Inc., a St. John’s-based company that has designed and manufactures the WaterLily – a hand-held water turbine that allows people to charge electronic devices, utilizing water and wind.
It’s great for campers, hikers and boaters venturing off the grid.
It was thinking off the grid that inspired Cook and his co-founders to pursue the technology, developed from sub-sea power harvesting research at Memorial University over the past decade.
In fact, the company is now producing a suite of turbine products and accessories to allow customers all over the world to harness renewable energy, transforming flowing water and wind to power.
“Our company is empowering the modern outdoor enthusiast to harvest energy anywhere and explore further,” Cook says. “The WaterLily is a micro-turbine that harvests energy from rivers or wind to charge electronic devices and batteries.
“We are hoping to allow people to stay out and enjoy nature longer and explore further. Outdoor enthusiasts are taking more electronics with them now than ever before and why not let them take more pictures and video, stay connected to family and friends, and use their other rechargeable devices without having to worry about a dead battery. And as a bonus they can do it with a renewable and clean form of energy.”
The road to company success hasn’t always been easy.
There were the long hours of working on the technology at Memorial, then running into financial challenges that required determination and ingenuity to overcome.
Cook said with the support and encouragement they received in Newfoundland and Labrador, the company has attracted customers from six continents.
“We are employing people here in the province to design and market our products, and we are constantly growing,” he says. “I certainly value where we live and wouldn't dream of living anywhere else. But living here doesn’t mean we can’t compete on a global scale. The biggest challenge is that in Atlantic Canada, companies tend to have to be much further along before they can attract significant levels of investment.”
In 2019, Cook is focusing on increasing sales worldwide.
“My world revolves around marketing right now, and the best marketing channels to use for WaterLily,” he said. “For me, personally, as CEO of a small company, pretty much anything goes — but I’m most focused on the growth of our business at the moment.”
“We want to build our company to be a global leader in portable power-harvesting technology.”
As the process continues, Cook says the company will work to improve on long-term planning. For him, it’s to become better at delegating.
He says there is always so much to learn. Right now, he’s reading Crossing the Chasm, by Geoffrey Moore — a renowned high-tech marketing guru.
Moore’s book is said to offer time-tested insights into the problems and dangers facing companies trying to bring cutting-edge products to progressively larger worldwide markets.
“I’m not sure how I haven’t read it before,” Cook says. “You have to keep learning every day because you never know where you’ll end up.”
One thing he knows for certain: “It doesn’t matter where you live. We can build massive companies right here.”