Victoria entrepreneur wins big for food waste solution

Plus, discounted tickets to our first panel event.

Good morning and welcome to this week’s Midweek Memo. In this issue, get tickets to a special climatetech event in Victoria, meet the local entrepreneur looking out for septic systems and kitchen plumbing around the world, and catch up on local innovators' appearances in the media.

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Send your food waste down the drain, safely

Victor Nicolov, CEO and founder of Sepura Home, pictured at CES Las Vegas in 2020. Photo: LinkedIn

Victor Nicolov's entrepreneurial journey as co-founder and CEO of Sepura Home started when he first clogged his kitchen sink with a bunch of potato peels. "I had a garburator at the time, and I thought that was really cool — that you could just click a button and it would do all the work for you," he said. "But it broke. I did not know you couldn't put potato peels. I clogged my entire plumbing under the sink and it was horrible."

The ordeal led Nicolov to startup Sepura Home — an under-the-sink compost disposal system that was featured as one of TIME Magazine's best inventions of 2020 and recently won the grand prize at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas. "Our technology is patented," said Nicolov of Sepura Home. "The way it works is kind of like a reverse juicer [...] all the liquids go down the drain like they normally do, but then when you push a button, it opens a valve, and it pushes all the solids into a collection centre for disposal."

In his final year studying of studying engineering at UVic, Nicolov credited his professors for being able to use their labs to 3D print the first versions of the technology as he bootstrapped his way through. The Coast Capital Innovation Centre also helped him write up his first business plan. Eventually, he was able to raise a friends and family round, thanks to the attention the device garnered. "I would tell people, 'Hey, I'm building this myself.' And they would say — can you make me one as well?" he said.

Sepura Home is looking to replace the garburator, Nicolov said, particularly as he learned about how they were getting banned in cities around Canada, including Toronto, Ottawa, and Guelph. The garbage disposal unit works by shredding food pieces small enough to pass through plumbing, but are notorious for failing and clogging pipes, as in Nicolov's case. In addition, because everything passes through one pipe, food waste gets sent down the drain, instead of the compost.

Most recently, Sepura Home completely sold out of its first production run of 3,000 units, the majority of which you should be able to find soon at a Canadian Tire near you.


A desk that moves with you

Victoria's Ergonomyx wants you to have a better desk setup, whether at your home office or office, er, office.

To get you setup for success, they're giving all Victoria Tech Journal readers 25% off this month on their signature large Smart Sit Stand Desk, made of 100% premium bamboo. Just use promo code OVERSTORYMEDIA when checking out and you'll get $170 knocked off instantly. You're welcome.

#VicTJtalks | Victoria On the Climatetech Frontier | April 12

Our first #VicTJtalks event in Victoria is live! On April 12, we're bringing together entrepreneurs, executives, talent, investors, and tech community members to network and learn from Victoria leaders in climatetech.

Local innovators are tackling climate change head on with technology to face a warmer world. From using the ocean to remove atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions to creating a climate-friendly built environment, there’s something special about the climate solutions in made in Victoria.

📰 More Victoria innovation news

🧦 An entrepreneur's journey: Rob Fraser, founder of Outway, reflects on the first pair of socks he designed and sold in 2016. See more on Twitter.

💼 How to hire: Matt Hollingsworth, founder of Align, chats with Evan McCann of The Hard Part about his early days at Tiny and strategies for hiring. Listen on Spotify.

👩‍💻 Improving gender equity in tech: Locelle has partnered with Scotiabank to support up to five BIPOC women in tech to advance in their careers via mentorship programming. Find out more details, including how to apply here.

🦺 New look, same industry: Truss Payments, formerly MazumaGo, blogs about its rebrand and what it means for the construction industry. Learn more here.

😷 Good business practices: Nicole Smith, founder and CEO of Flytographer, was featured in a piece by EY Americas on responding to uncertain times thanks to the pandemic: How an entrepreneurial mindset saved two companies after pandemic hits.

👩🏻‍💼Victoria tech moves

  • Origen Air hired Tamara Summers as VP of Strategy.

  • Synergy Foundation tapped Maddy Best as Circular Economy Project Coordinator.

🕴️ Tech jobs of the week

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