Matys Tessier, cofounder of Ozero, AquaHacking British Columbia ’20, shares his reflections on IH2O WIW2020

By Carmen Joy King November 2, 2020

By Matys Tessier, cofounder of Ozero 

I attended the sessions about “How to deploy water tech” and “How to be a better water entrepreneur”. I really enjoyed the panel format with an engaging moderator and speakers from different companies or sectors, who shared their experiences and perspectives. Given my startup’s efforts to penetrate the municipal market, the speakers’ points on taking the time to get to know you end-user’s needs really resonated with me. Our startup has learned that in our case of connecting with municipalities in Quebec, patience is key and maintaining relationships and conversations is paramount. Two of our co-founders are dedicated to building and maintaining relationships with potential municipal end-users, and they are fully occupied with presenting updates to our municipal contacts every week and speaking with other people within the municipality. It could be a full-time job! We are convinced that the effort we put in now to develop these relationships will be worth it in the long run. It was helpful to hear that is the experience of other water tech startups through the Imagine H2O Water Innovation Week. 

Another key things I remembered was one panelist mentioning how important it is for communities to meet and discuss in informal settings. “The best thing to get to know one another and to discuss things is to go out for a beer together!” I definitely think this is important for young entrepreneurs who are building their network. It’s unfortunate that with COVID-19, many of us have lost the ability to just get together over a beer to share ideas and just have fun. I think that human element is really key, and I know it’s one factor that has helped my startup be successful so far. We work hard but we also ultimately want to have fun through this experience. It was refreshing to hear from the Imagine H2O Water Innovation Week panelists that this is the case for many water tech startups. I look forward to when we can gather again and enjoy good times together, in person. 

Thanks to the AquaHacking Alumni program for supporting my attendance in the Imagine H2O virtual conference. These kinds of learning and networking opportunities allow us to tap into a broader community, to be exposed to ideas or perspectives we may not otherwise encounter, and to feel that we’re part of a bigger community working to safeguard our water resources. 

Ozero is a startup based in Sherbrooke, Quebec, that won 1st place in the British Columbia 2020 AquaHacking Challenge. Ozero is tackling the problem of aquatic invasive species by developing a station to clean and decontaminate the internal piping system of nautical vessels. Our product complements existing cleaning stations to offer a complete solution. Once completed, the project will help restore the balance of aquatic ecosystems.