with 🎙️ David Lynch, CEO & Co-Founder at Klir
💧 Klir is building the All-In-One Operating System for Water.
This episode is part of my series on Water Digitization. Go check it out! 😀
What we covered:
✋ How the Water Industry really differs from any other economic sector in its core mission itself
🍏 … and what the core differences between the Water Sector and any other vertical actually are
🚨 How usual approaches generate alarms and triggers but leave operators helpless to translate this into a clear path to action
🍏 How task management can be enhanced when it is addressed in a Water-specific way
🧮 How Klir helps out water operators by learning on the go which tasks really move the needle
🧑🤝🧑 How digitization of processes is not about replacing people but enhancing them
😓 How there may well be many existing tools on the general market, like Asana, Monday.com, or Rippling, but bending them to Water Topics isn’t easy as pie
🍎 How the low-value many users still give to Water is a challenge across the entire value chain.
🍎 How water professionals are still the unsung local community heroes (and why)
💻 How the software landscape has changed quite a lot over the past decade
🍏 Who the power users of Klir are, and what the two largest use cases are
🔊 How water utilities shall communicate with their end-users (and what to avoid)
🦄 How Klir intends to become a Water Unicorn and how they align themselves towards that goal
🎷 Klir being a “saxophone,” being laser-focused on your customer, two Potties helping to solve Water, the proof being in the pudding… and much more!
🔥 … and of course, we concluded with the 𝙧𝙖𝙥𝙞𝙙 𝙛𝙞𝙧𝙚 𝙦𝙪𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨 🔥
Teaser: Compliance Confidence
🔗 Have a look at Klir’s website
🔗 Come say hi to David on Linkedin
is on Linkedin ➡️
Infographic: Compliance ConfidenceInfographic-David-Lynch-Klir-the-Operating-System-for-Water
Quotes: Compliance ConfidenceQuotes-David-Lynch-Klir-the-Operating-System-for-Water
Table of contents
- What we covered:
- Teaser: Compliance Confidence
- Infographic: Compliance Confidence
- Quotes: Compliance Confidence
- Full Transcript:
- Klir sends a postcard from Toronto
- Regulation and Compliance is at the core of the Water Industry
- “Why does the Water Sector need another piece of Software?”
- How does that make the Water Sector’s Compliance and Task Management tools different?
- What is an “Operating System for Water” aka Klir?
- Break down your mission into task and keep only what’s proven to work: ensure compliance!
- How shall Utilities communicate with the Public?
- Will Klir move into hardware in the future?
- Entrepreneurship 101: Listen to your Customers
- How to Build the “Saxophone” of Water Software?
- For which water professional is digitization the best opportunity?
- Klir just closed a $16 Million Series A
- Growing at a Venture Capital pace in the Water Industry
- Klir’s Business Model to help you build compliance confidence: Software as a Service
- Where’s the road heading for Klir?
- Building a Water Unicorn to ensure Compliance Confidence
- Rapid fire questions:
- Other Episodes:
These are computer-generated, so expect some typos 🙂
Get Season 2's Summary!
Antoine Walter: Hi, David, welcome to the show.
David Lynch: Thank you very much. So happy to be here.
Klir sends a postcard from Toronto
Antoine Walter: So from Europe much, I can notice a little bit of this Irish accent we had on the podcast already, but you’re sending a postcard from Toronto. So what can you tell me about Toronto? Which I would ignore, by now.
David Lynch: Yeah, I know you’ve had other Irish people on the podcast.
So I think we are supposed to be the sexiest accent in the world, but not definitely doesn’t beat the French. I don’t think so. Talking to you today from Toronto, it’s a balmy minus 28 degrees Celsius, which Irish people are most definitely not built for, but it’s a great city. I actually have to say one of the reasons that.
Moved from, from Ireland over here was, uh, reading the diversity. They say it’s a city where everyone’s from somewhere. And I think that’s brilliant. Like, I think that’s what I love about the city. You’re, you’re accepted no matter where you’re from or, or what’s your, what’s your creed or color or.
Making a dent in the Water Industry
Antoine Walter: So that makes for an interesting transition because you’re coming from a field which has this it field, even if it’s sustainable it environments of it.
And you’re trying to move something in the water industry, which brings me to a very simple question. How do you get accepted as a newcomer? Is it exactly like Toronto style or to have to make a dense into, into that?
David Lynch: Oh, you definitely have to make a dent, you know, particularly in, in water, it’s definitely, uh, a much more conservative industry.
You know, I know a lot of my colleagues and other companies sort of rail a little bit against your, how conservative they are, but having spent my entire career working with water professional.
I was lucky that I got the experience in Ireland and cause trauma in Europe and get experience and then be able to take that reputation that’s in north America, but definitely have to rebuild it again. What’s something I’m actually pretty happy.
Klir’s elevator pitch
Antoine Walter: Looking at what you’re happy doing. What’s your elevator pitch to Klir?
David Lynch: Yeah. So for Klir, basically what we say is it’s the operating system for water. My experience is pretty much working in the trenches, working with water professionals day in, day out, and we know that water operates as one single interconnected system, albeit a system of chaos.
What it is, it is one single site and a one single system. And yet that’s not how it is managed. So basically what Klir is it’s this one single platform that manages and will eventually manage at a watershed or water cost from base approach, what happens and what activities are taking place inside that watershed with the ultimate aim to be able to in essence, collaborate and make water better.
What is RegTech?
Antoine Walter: That’s
a neat pitch. Should we go inside and just deconstruct the verse elements in just a minute, but I have elapsed stuff before going into plunging into the deep dive. And I’ve discovered a term when having a look at your, at your path and that’s the reg tech. So what is the reg tech
David Lynch: Reg Tech is something that came from like the financial sector whereby.
You know, if you’re a bank or you’re a financial institution, a large part of your business is making sure you adhere to different regulations. And when we started off Klir, we caught, we were in that category. It can also apply to health and safety on that side of it. And just applying that to water and basically using the tools and technology that you need to make sure your regulatory, regulatory compliance, what we know though that water, and this is the nuance, which I think.
You know, a lot of people don’t understand is if you’re thinking about like
It doesn’t run away with itself. Where if you actually take water, the whole purpose of a water authority or water, utility or water municipal delivery of services is to deliver safe and secure. Um, that’s an essence while regulations are. So:
And so it often gets lost that I think in the construct of how water service is delivered today that we have that’s optimized engineering or let’s operate, optimize operations. What does it actually make water better? Is this improving our ability to deliver safe and secure water services?
I think that’s what sometimes gets missed because even if you have the best engineering department in the world, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to deliver the best services or they’re not correlated. So when you think about the entire purpose of all of that authority is basically regulation and there’s nuance to that.
And not sometimes regulation, doesn’t always align to safe and secure services, but that tends to be more in the implementation site, but the principles are.
Regulation and Compliance is at the core of the Water Industry
Antoine Walter: It’s very, very, very underestimated. When I, when I say that, it’s very interesting what you just said, because we are somewhere at episode 80 of the podcast and the spin you’re giving to that is unique.
It’s the first time I heard that and it makes a lot of sense that this regular retreat aspect is at the center of it. And that’s somewhat, we’re delivering to that before everything else. I don’t know if it’s a good thing by the way, but it’s certainly. The way we’re set. So it’s a very interesting encapsulation.
David Lynch: Absolutely. You know, like I think in my experience, because what my background is very much on the water framework directive site, which I actually, I love as a piece of legislation. I think many people will look around and say, they love particularly. I love it because it’s a relatively simple piece of legislation, like 13 pages or so long, but the technical, the patient is much, much more difficult, but the principle is, is takes a, you know, an epidemiological approach and just making sure that you protect that.
Of the water and then you can use various tools and various different techniques to try and protect us now, the implementation and when regulation comes along, a lot of vested, interests has come in. A lot of interpretation plays into it. What’s great about the water framework directive is this, for example, if you’re a wastewater treatment, And, you know, let’s say you’re discharging to a local river on the nitrate level of the river needs to be without 10 milligrams per liter or something like that.
If it arrives at your pipe at nine milligrams or where you’re discharging on, you’re just discharging to traditionally, you would be the person who was making that water body. But what the framework allows and that the principles behind proper good regulation is, and allows you to challenge us and allows you to say, I’m not putting in this massively cost ineffective and nutrient reduction program or treatment, or my facility.
And I’m actually going to challenge the licensing limits. You’ve put on me. I’m going to challenge you to say, this is, this is happening upstream. Maybe it’s runoff from agriculture or whatever, maybe. And I’m going to challenge them as you’re facing. If you allow this flexibility and pragmatism into regulation and allow a structure to challenge us, it works.
What the problem with so much regulation is it’s very much a stick that’s like, you must do it to this level or else, or you must do these jobs or else. And when we set out to build Klir and to deliver this type of that,
And that’s what this is all about.
Antoine Walter: There’s a lot I’d like to unpack in what you just said, but I have to, to put them in the fridge and let me come back to that later, what you’re saying is that that sector has to undergo some transformations and some of this transformation has to do with the digitization aspect of it too.
Do I get that right first to have the right starting points?
David Lynch: Yep. That’s exactly it.
“Why does the Water Sector need another piece of Software?”
Antoine Walter: And you think you have care ideas to support? In that, and then we can deconstruct why, so the why elements, but let’s start with the how and the, how is, that’s you say that you have clear ideas on this digitization path and you can help the sector get better and more efficient and, and both different stuff with Klir, but why do you think that you have something special in difference to answer that specific question on the hall to get better
as a second?
David Lynch: I suppose I’ll take that as a question of maybe why does the sector need another piece of software or platform and Klir, you know, maybe, maybe that’s the way to address it. And I think the way we thought about this is first off,
They were made for health and safety. They were made for electricity transmission or something, something like that. And then. Maybe I’ll have to cut out this bastardized or software.So forgive my French and turn it into something that sort of works for water. And it goes back to that initial thing I said at the top, which is the nuance of water is that regulation is aligned. And the jobs we’re doing is in safe and secure delivery of water services.
The water sector is special, its software should as well
Antoine Walter: Sorry to cut you, but, but to that extent, do you think the water sector is very different from the energy sector for instance?.
David Lynch: Absolutely. Yeah, for sure does a couple of reasons that it’s different from the energy sector. First of all, there’s a huge quote. Like I know there’s arguments against this, but there’s a huge quantitative adamant of the product we deliver. So is it more like a food, like.
I know on your podcast before, you know, this is something that you’re passionate innovation, it’s like, do we, as a species, do we, as a, as communities really understand the value of the product we’re getting.
So you’re delivering. Source of food thing. That’s sorta perceived as free. You have to maintain the quality from upstream of your catchment of what’s happening up there. You need to do the production that needs to deliver it out to your, at your end consumers, then you need to, or one of your colleagues is to bring that back and treated and discharged.
Water Professionals are unsung heroes
You can draw similarities to different markets, but it’s definitely not the same as electricity or gas. I think the people I would also argue in water are fundamentally different. And, you know, I, I often say when I spend time in the fields, you know,
And it’s a more for human health than anything else. This is a job, a thankless job, 24 7. It doesn’t command the same pay rates as other sectors, but the people who work in water and have a very, very deep rooted sense, their community, very, very passionate about the job they do.
They really are very, very tightly aligned to the mission of what their authority does, which is delivery of this service to their community. So these nuances about the people in the field on the product we’re delivering, I think is often under, under estimated under appreciated by others. Uh,
How does that make the Water Sector’s Compliance and Task Management tools different?
Antoine Walter: I fully get your explanation.
It makes a lot of sense, especially people special, good. We working on and special frame. We are evolving in, but how does that make the tools that we need different??
Whereby the nuance of water. Just to follow is a tool to be creative for a sector. So for example, if you have a permit, a permit, which can be anything from an NPD, yes. Pollution permits, or discharge permit to an obstruction permit in a lot of systems that are like electricity or health and safety management. They just think that those, that.
A series of jobs that need to be gone, and they can just sit as a task list for someone to be done in a sort of a basement somewhere else. Where if you actually think about it, those are the jobs where I’ve lined in those permits. And then those jobs that need to be done our courts to the very business of the authority or the utility.
So by basically taking components and taking tools that are now readily available and sort of tweaking them and making sure that they integrate the things like your Lim system, your sampling, your SCADA systems and SCADA systems as well. Field operating the nuance of like working in low connectivity environments, which isn’t, which always isn’t the case for other sectors on being able to have this closed loop or the singular loop from start to finish of the job that you need to do.
Did it work are the results in one system? Can I see that contextually within the job I need to do? And did that ultimately have an impact on water?
The software landscape has evolved
So things like mapping is not a product anymore. It’s a feature that you should be seeing in a platform or a piece of software that’s contextual to your business speed on water delivery or whatever it may be.
So I think Ed’s, there is definitely enough nuance in water that justifies its own products. And if you talk to people in the fields,
I think that’s the USP and white, white Klir has grown so much and we’ve, we’ve made the impact we have so far.
What is an “Operating System for Water” aka Klir?
Antoine Walter: Let’s jump into it. Let’s be very transparent. What is Klir? What is your scope of work and where does it start? Where does it end?
David Lynch: Yeah. So as, as I touched on Klir is an essence, the operating system of water and what is at the heart of this is basically your tasks, the jobs that you need to do in your authority.
Antoine Walter: Let’s be very clear about this. OS you’re thinking, OS in the sense of windows of MacOS of iOS is re that’s the definition you use?
David Lynch: I would say it’s maybe if we, if we look at Morris or the similarities,
So it’s not like that you replaced the windows, that’s on your PC. It’s just that. Now we’re in the, sort of the second iteration of what an essence operating systems mean to be. In essence, when we, when we think about operating systems, it’s not like the Linux or windows services we were before, this is about
And that’s the sort of next iteration of operating systems. And that is what Klir is for Water.
Klir connects with your SCADA, telemetry, GIS (and more)
Antoine Walter: So that is the user interface somehow. What, what what’s the operator will see as he will be working in Klir instead of any kind of other constellation of tools that he may have, but on the other end of it, what exactly can you all bring into Klir on the, um, let’s say behind the scenes, up to which level of depth do you go with Klir?
David Lynch: So I would say we’re rapidly investing in our product. Like that’s where our latest, random best with this. So we have a very, very clear product roadmap right now. Today we have API hooks into your SCADA, your telemetry, your LIM systems, your customer care and billing, uh, your work order management. So, this is a very much a layer that ties your very GIS as well.
And it ties those various different stacks together. The way I sort of think about like what’s at the heart of Klir is really the task. It’s the jobs that need to be done. So. Intelligent to make Klir is we start off by taking all the prescriptive tasks that are listed in documents all around your organization.
So they come from permits from regs and they’re all either prepopulated or seamlessly brought into the platform.
So for example, if you have an Ecolab breach, there’s a series of tasks that need to be undertaken, uh, changing and something frequencies and dots have a logic needs to happen.
Or if there’s a heaven forbid, a terrorist attack or a spill or something like that, it basically fires off instantaneous VR on the trigger of an event, all the work that needs to be done. So the task is the core of this. And then what’s great about it is that the end of the.
So the way I sort of, the analogy I would use is I think in the water sector, We have lots and lots of tools coming out, lots and lots of alarms and lots of, lots of fancy systems that are saying we can predict leaks or issues in your water. But what happens after that alarm is sound. And typically, typically speaking, that is all an offline process.
So you get these great tools, this AIML, you know, all this fancy stuff for what happens when you learn something or when it tells you. Um, doc generally is done by email or text, or it goes into someone’s head. And then as soon as they retire or are you the industry knowledge, not insight is.
Break down your mission into task and keep only what’s proven to work: ensure compliance!
Antoine Walter: Let me try to rephrase that just to see if I got it right.
That means that whatever happens, it’s broken down into a list of tasks. And then once you’ve completed, the tasks Klir is asking you to, was that effective or not. And on the long run, it’s going to be become better at telling you those tasks are the ones that really mattered. So you shall do those and forget about these.
David Lynch: Exactly. That’s exactly it. And I think one of our customers, our director of operations said as the water sector matures, you know, the job traditionally for operators is to press buttons. And I think what we need to move to is the operator saying, should we press that button? like a very, very simplified way of saying it, but
Does exactly. Yes. It is about a hundred percent of enhancing and it’s about being a. It’s been operating in an environment. Thus, the people who worked in water at this point are, are only starting to see, which is we’re operating a much more constrained environment, much more regulatory, heavy, much more operational challenges that are in place, you know, as well as much more resource constraints in the entire sector.
So it’s not about reducing. This might just be coming down a little bit more in hunts so we can face the challenges that we are going to be facing over the next 20 or 30 years.
Who can benefit from Klir?
Antoine Walter: Who’s the typical user of Klir today?
David Lynch: So th it generally, it goes from the general monitoring from the CEO of water’s already done to consultants and third-party contractors, as well as the operators in the fields.
And I love technicians. Pretty much most people in the organization will touch off at some points in Klir the core or
at the moment, or they’re managing programs for the authority such as contract management, such as backflow or.
Are those types of initiatives or those type of teams within the utility.
How shall Utilities communicate with the Public?
Antoine Walter: And what is the visibility of Klir today for the outside world as it’s something which really like the example you gave some to me, like, like really internal tools that really stay inside the utility or insights, the office, which is working with it.
Whereas if you look at the way you communicate and the way you advertise. The sector, it sounds to me like you, you want to push them towards a bit more transparency and towards discussing what they do towards the outside so that it’s not longer the unsung heroes, like you were saying that the special people from the water industry, but maybe not to the level of the firefighters, we cannot compete with them, but at least we get a bit of that message out stats.
We’ve solved seven problems. We’ve done these, we’ve done that. So what’s your vision there?.
David Lynch: So I think the first thing I learned in my experience, and so in Europe and in America,
Like, you know, if you’re not, even if you are a water professional, you’re, you know, you’re, the user is asking the question is my water safe to drink? And when we did, when we did a project or when we did our first sort of first digitizing these type of approaches, we came across the sort of concept or the ethical position that
And so what will you find is the most optimal ways to guide consumers and guide stakeholders through what these results and what this data means? So, although in principle,
By opening up the information as opposed to maybe the data and like, don’t hold me over. You know, obviously, uh, there’s nuance to that. I’m not saying we shouldn’t open up the data, but I think we just did. There’s definitely health warnings that needs to come with us. I think the benefits from that then is if we message it right, is that consumers will place a greater value in water when they understand.
Oh my God, this is what it needed to be for water to get to me, to make sure it’s safe and secure to these are the things that happened. This is where my water rates go. This is why I’m paying these things. To help in the bottle with driving value and having consumers and stakeholders based on value on what as it is very, very important to get that, to get that out there.
But I think there’s a, we need as an industry to reach consensus as best we can with what the best format is for us. But generally speaking, I think more transparency is going to be better as a whole from.
Will Klir move into hardware in the future?
Antoine Walter: Let me come back for one second on the scope question, because your answer is absolutely clear to no pun intended.
I actually, but, but, but the answer was, it was very clear about what you’re doing, what you plan to do. If there’s one vertical that we didn’t explore, which is the one which leads to the hardware, you said you can connect to the SCADA, you can connect to APIs and things like that, but you have no ambition at any point to go into hardware?
David Lynch: No, hardware is not in our, in our scope. I suppose our vision and what we have in here.
We don’t need a hundred different software solutions with a hundred different dashboards in a water authority. We need. A singular place where we can contextually collaborate with the same level of information, because otherwise we’re just perpetuating the Excel problem where we have 25 different versions of Excel and the data that’s in it.
I can tell you many are stories of the consequences of that. What this. I know where I can hook in, where this data, where the data and the things come from this, and what’s going to happen. What happens as a result was that piece of hardware, was it a good purchase? Did it achieve the objectives of what we were doing?
So we are not in the hardware game. We are in the solutions game, or we’re helping our end users solve a problem. And, you know, I know it’s sort of shame this bloke and maybe I think one of the things that’s unique about clear on it is the most that you kind to think it’s, it’s the opposite of. As we just listened to us, the users want, and it sounds so simple, but I can tell you I’ve been working in the sector for a very long time.
A lot of times that’s not done. We don’t listen to water professionals. We go in and we tell them, this is how it shall be done. This is how it’s started to where else, or this is how I think you should do it. Or we don’t actually listen. I’m really open or go into them with both ears open and listen to what they need.
And it’s amazing what you will learn and amazing the different tasks of tools you can deliver by just listening to the people who are actually doing the jobs.
Entrepreneurship 101: Listen to your Customers
Antoine Walter: Let me share you an anecdote. I voted what you just said. It’s a month ago I had Meena Sankaran, the CEO of Ketos on that microphone.
And she, she was sharing similar stuff to what you said with regards to you still listen to your customer. And she said exactly what you said. She apologized saying, oh, I, it always sounds like everybody should do that. And I was reviewing the infographic after that. So to summarize what she said, and I’ve put that in infographic.
And then I had to chat with her, a marketing director and said, are you really sure you want to put that? Because you know what? That’s just entrepreneurship 101. Everybody should know that they’re not my feeling. And still today is still the same as that. Yes, we shall put that because you know, that’s, that is what you should do to listen to your customer.
And she, she knew that that is what you have to do to listen to your customer. But honestly, That is not the norm. That is not what everyone is doing. So I think that is still a core and the key message we should share. So, sorry, just reclosing the, my sidetracking, but I think that it’s important to hear.
So don’t apologize to give, giving some simple advice on the paper, but it’s crucial.
David Lynch: And I think if I was to offer my thought process on this, I think it’s because it’s a very consulting that markets, you know, consultants don’t get paid. And like, as a recovering consultant myself, we didn’t get in and get the rates, um, the daily rates to, to go in and listen and talk and like, you know, reflect and think nicely, right things.
We go in to be like this. And not listen. And you can just see it, it really grinds up against the people in the field when they’re like, would you just listen to what I’m trying to say? You know, I think it’s the. Not the only, but one of the really good things that I’d sit on having gone through Y Combinator program is they just condition you in a practical level to basically build a massive microphone on a system to process all the things that are coming down, microphone on and build what the users need and iterate very, very quickly.
So instead of. Buying something a consultant built 20 years ago on it’s just sitting there and it’s not really updated very often, but like, you know, it seems to sorta do the job. You really want to invest more in, like, if you look at any seminars, he’s such as like a payments processing in Silicon valley whereby you know, that’s one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world, you know, you’re moving money at the end of the day, how the start to get started there.
Well, you know, not without paying, but by continuously iterating rapidly, delivering new features and. Helping end users solve their pain. And that’s what we’re we’re as a company set up to do is to like what we are today is not perfect by any stretch of imagination, but we are set up to constantly get better every single day.
Uh, and that’s where, when you’re investing in care, that’s what you’re investing in.
How to Build the “Saxophone” of Water Software?
Antoine Walter: Let me come back to the digital playgrounds and battlefields, depending on how you want to see that. Do you play music?
David Lynch: I do play music and not very well, not very well, but I try, what do you play? I play, I’m learning the piano and I played an Irish instrument called the Baron, which is like a drum completely a biasing.
Me. Now I got to be asked to play it there. Next time. This almost sees me.
Antoine Walter: The reason why I’m asking is that sometimes when I’m looking a bit at the digitization in the water industry, it makes me think of, you know, that special time. I think it was the end of the 19th century in the musical sphere. Every single inventor that was, was creating a new musical instrument.
And when you look at those symphonies, which were written at the time, each of those features instruments that nobody’s playing nowadays anymore, but they were there. People were writing music for those instruments. And all of a sudden there was Adolf Sax who came along and he created the saxophone. So the saxophone or the four main saxophones and.
He basically killed all the other ones, just because his instruments, was better, a more versatile, more ready for any kind of music, which was written at the time. And that’s ended that really tidal wave of instruments coming along and where I’m going with my analogy is that nowadays every single hardware manufacturer in the water industry I’m discussing with tells me, you know, I’m building a platform.
And he knows that his platform it’s not gonna be the one to rule them all. He just builds it to preempt a space, with the hope to get to be at the table when the ones that rules them all, or the couple of ones that can rule them all the will be established. But we are still in this phase where there’s no saxophone yet, or it’s still in the making, it hasn’t killed all the other ones.
So everybody’s is around some of them, you wash them and, and you know, it’s a zombie, you know, it has no chance of. Till the end and some others like, okay, it’s a reasonable bet. Would that be the right? Or what would that be the wrong? And now if you’re a customer in that phase and you’re a utility and you have to pick one, okay, how do you bet that the one you pick where you’re going to invest time, money, your teams on will be still alive in five or 10 years.
And in the middle of that, you’re not one of these contestants. So how do you behave in that markets and how. How’d you get through the fog yourself as a company with your roadmap and your ambition to be one of the survivors, hopefully on the five to 10 years timeline.
David Lynch: Yeah. Well, let’s, say…
and that’s what we’re going to be.
That we’re going to be that I think, I think the, the first thing is there’s a coconut, there’s a coconut threads. It’s a really good question because if you’re, you know, if you’re already authority like on, this is the reality today you’re being inundated. So much sales material, like there’s so much money to be made.
Concentrate on your core business to deliver consistently
It’s like a noisy bar, you know, like everyone’s shouting their orders, everyone chatting what they want. And at the end of the day, you know, what is it that they’re actually trying to do? Or what is it they’re trying to achieve? And I think I like to go to the point that. You should concentrate on what your core businesses and just do that.
I think a lot of businesses, a lot of solutions out there and tried to respond to it because I think it’s the next shiny thing for also, we are extremely myopic in what we are about. We are about at time to gather information on allowing water operators, do their job at spend less time and data administration spend less time on.
Data and try and get the jobs on and figure out what is it I need to do today. I did that job work. That’s what we do. And that’s what, we’re our entire sense of being. And
you know, so we definitely do need, but I think what’s going to happen is a lot of the hardware providers are those ones. Uh, you know, have a core business and they’re very, very good at their technology.
You’ll be able to buy that software that service through us, which is one of the biggest challenges for you in comments is like, how do I sat into water authorities or into government entities or public entities? And then I can just concentrate on making my technology the best that it is. So I think it’s a useful thing that it happens for the end user.
When you’re thinking about making this purchase decisions, the first question you want to ask is, is this something that’s at end of life or that has been around for 20 or 30 years and it’s not really being improved. Um, it’s the same as a was really, really frustrated. It’s the first thing, a lot of the technologies and offerings today are that, is this going to be a huge capital investment up front?
So if my Totex is to take a 10 or 15 year payback, because I invest so heavily in consulting to get the thing implemented, which leads me to sort of the sort of latter point is, you know, what we’ve noticed when you look at other verticals is if you try pilot projects, if you try to. Tools and software solve problems right.
At home, but in a very containerizing safe, like sandbox within a team or whatever, rather than doing. Multi-year digital transformations that generally leads to much, much better adoption. And ultimately when it comes to tech tools and technology, this is all about change management. It’s not about the software.
So I empathize that like the so much coming at you as a, as a water user, um, of like which ones that I picked. But I think you need to pick the people behind the product and say, is it. To do what I need to do, or are they specific to my industry? And do they have a roadmap of how they’re going to help me solve the problems that are coming over the next many years?
Or are they just a one trick pony? Are they this thing that they say they’re on volume today? And they say, they’ll develop things in the future, but there’s no guarantee of that happening. So look at their core mission and make sure it applies to, or, you know, has great alignment to your own mission would be sort of my advice on the other side of the.
For which water professional is digitization the best opportunity?
Antoine Walter: So that’s extent, who’s your ideal customer or who’s the one that can help the most is the early adopter who potentially already has 10 platforms and you will be the 11th and maybe the one to rule them all. Or is it more of them? Lag guard is not a mean way to define it, but let’s say someone who would be a bit later to the game.
David Lynch: It’s really good question for me. When I look at the, I suppose, the growth trajectory and the amount of customers, we brought on very quick. And who’s adopted us, does definitely an innovative element. So those who are looking for a better way to do something, those who are actively looking for not being an Excel definitely is the, you know, our ideal customer.
Saving years of experience from Silver Wave collaborators
There’s a couple of sort of people who it tends to be if you’re approaching retirement and does definitely a group of people who are like,
So they didn’t want to take this at a very sort of small basis near you on.
Helping new managers to ensure compliance
The second scenario generally is someone who’s just recently promoted into a management role.
They just come in after that person has left maybe, or in a newly created role or they’ve moved on, they look at it across our purview. Oh my God, this is all the things I need to do. If I miss some of this, I could go to jail. I could have non-compliance violations like Mike and promote. I might can get promoted and I could, you know, any, any array of these terrible things are gonna happen on.
They want a singular way to see across the Fairview, all the stuff that they need to do. And a lot of those cases, what we do find is we are switching off a lot of legacy. It systems doesn’t tend to be any of the newer market entrance and what we find. The contextual collaboration nearly negates the need for them over time.
So the fact that they can talk to other people around their organization, they can record the conversations in the chest and talk during those conversations, be talking about the actual data that they’re trying to reference, but it does tend to be a lot of the Excel displacements. Custom application development.
And of course, some of the old known at companies which shall remain nameless, where we all know who they are. And then I think what is happening, I suppose, when it comes to the newer entrance. They are getting a little bit, um, I would say contained in particular teams and because what’s happening is the it team are saying there’s some, I don’t want to manage a 50 or a hundred different applications.
We need to sort of a unified digital transformation strategy. Like where are they going? How can we rationalize it down and protect ourselves from a lot of different systems, which are just opening up to more cyber security risks and how can we consolidate here? It tends to be. Platforms likelier can offer solutions to that because it is all very rationally rationalizing it.
Klir just closed a $16 Million Series A
Antoine Walter: I have a couple of questions on the business side of things. Let’s start with the elephant in the room. Somehow you’ve closed a series A right of 16 million end of last year. Yeah. Which places you in quite a special position in this industry, because already the amount, it is not common within what industry first and second, because the profile of investor is, I would say also quite uncommon because it’s venture capital money, which places you on the path for hypergrowth, theoretically speaking, because that’s supposed to be what comes together with, with VC money.
So what is your vision? What does it add value in terms of perspective to have this, this backing. This past fall hypergrowth.
David Lynch: Thank you for not calling me the elephant because I’m this. If you don’t know when it always be on this big six foot six person, that’s normally the joke that’s cracked. So thank you for that.
First off, obviously we are delighted with how such an incredible partners with high reputation. One of the leading VCs in the world see the level of growth we have enjoyed. And back us on this next stage of our journey. So, you know, I think straight up what’s really exciting is that this is just money that we’re planting into a product for water professionals.
Klir’s co-founders mission
And that’s what really, really excites me. Like I sort of view myself, like, you know, when we even started to Klir myself on my co-founder lane, we asked ourselves the question of like,
Uh, We know we can’t, I mean, it was a very, very complicated issue to solve, but what we can do is basically free up time and allow those professionals, the people who were experts who have trained as operators who are PhDs, who are masters, who have all these other things just stopped doing work that can be automated, that can be assisted and just allow them to actually solve the problems at hand.
So, you know, we are just a tool. We are just a means for these people to do the job that our species needs them to do, and our communities need them. And so I’m just so excited that we have this incredible backing, this incredible demands of. To deliver a product that should have been in the sector 20 years ago.
It should have been of this quality. And we’re taking the same, many of the same playbooks from other enterprise software, such as sales, HR, finance, those playbooks that have revolutionized all sectors. And we’re going to be able to deliver products of that caliber to water. And, you know, if you think about a water professional, like they drive to work and they listen to podcasts, they consume media on Facebook and Instagram.
They’re used to a user interface that’s in the center. Um, and I think it’s time that when they go to work and they sit at their desktops or they remotely log in or they, or whatever may be that they get those same levels of tools. So yes, we are absolutely poised for growth. And I think it’s also necessary in the sector.
You know, water, as I said at the top is wanting to connect to the system. If we continue to go on and manage this in hundreds of different. We’re not going to be able to move to the integrated Cashion monitoring or integrate a watershed monitoring to posts we need. So we know what the left hand on the right hand are doing.
And because that’s the only way that we are going to successfully face the challenges that we’re going to be, that we’re going to face over the next one to a hundred years.
Growing at a Venture Capital pace in the Water Industry
Antoine Walter: Yet. It’s not that I want to be the party pooper at all, but that would be a first of its kind. I don’t know if you’ve ever met Paul O’Callaghan he’s the CEO of BlueTech research and he’s written this awesome paper on the dynamics of water innovation. And, uh, what is explaining is that basically innovation in this very specific markets, it goes at a particular pace and companies, developments also goes at a particular pace. The, so what’s usually takes five years in a regular industry, takes 15 years in that sector.
So the timelines are a bit challenging to the extent, is it something which puzzles you or your confidence that’s times will change to that extent?
David Lynch: I’m not naive, I think is the first thing. And like, you know, it, it is a challenge, but like, isn’t that what we all were, we’re here to try and solve challenges that aren’t easy dissolve, you know, definitely it excites me.
You know, I, since the beginning of my career in water, many of the projects that we’ve worked on with some of them, the most, the greatest leading minds in water, many people have said that it’s not possible, but it’s not possible to do this. It’s not possible. Build these types of solutions. It’s not possible to run these types of programs and B they even non software programs or projects.
I know we were able to, to grow at rates that are in many of early stage investors. And in many of the benchmarks, we are number one in our stock.
And number one on our portfolio side, sort of. And many often I say:
We’ve proven we’ve delivered to customers. And we’re excited to be able to take us experience on the proof that we’ve done on, on, uh, on just basically you there’s even more, you know, there is, of course there’s challenges.
There is challenges in terms of the cycles for innovation, but I will come back to the listening to users and I think, you know, innovation is one massive bucket and water it’s. LoRa sensors to AMI technology, to UV filtration, to deploying physical infrastructure anywhere in your water to software. If you look at the level of innovative or water, innovation does not a huge amount on the software side there’s a lot on the physical side.
And so I think it’s, it’s a little bit of a very, very big sector that you contemplate the same uniform approach to. And I suppose, you know, it goes a code it’s crazy until you do this. And then everyone started wondering how you did it. And I think that’s what we’re going to try on. We’re going to, you know, I think we’re going to go position where we’re poised first.
We’re well slammed and we’re able to, uh, to take that approach. I’m quite confident of that. Looking at where we’re sitting in, what our opportunities are at the moment that we’re going to be able to surprise a few people over the next.
Klir’s Business Model to help you build compliance confidence: Software as a Service
Antoine Walter: What is your business model? Are you a software as a service?
David Lynch: Yep. Completely software as a service and no consultancy fees. It’s pretty much what you, what you see is what you get. And it’s one annualized fee that, um, provides sort of, you know, I think that’s, that’s again, really contextual and really important that our go to market strategy and very nuanced this water sector is that you need to, again, this is the, what the customer wants and what they need and how they report to their rate payers on this transparent.
Is is important to our customers and that as not, you’re not overburdened by consultancy or unforeseen fees, I guess.
What is Klir’s activation metric or Wow effect?
Antoine Walter: You’ve you, you must have seen that video of Dave McClure was on the stage and it says R and says that there’s the growth path for pirates. I think that’s, that’s the full sentence. So it’s this AARRR framework.
And. Your business model, the thing you we’ve all been the, the industry you’re, you’re evolving in. Did you identify your activation metric? That specific thing that when people do that on Klir, that is, I mean, they can play with tons of stuff all around, but when they do that single thing, then you won because they saw that you are unique.
David Lynch: I think the aha moments if I was to sort of maybe at take it that way, you know, when people look at Klir, they go, oh, this is just another task management platform or another software that’s is it really even needed in water. But I have been in many meetings on. Some of the biggest names who are actually doing the work and water on they’re sitting around a table and you’re showing them the product.
And you’re like, this is how it works. This is how different teams from different parts of organization, all collaborate and work together. And here’s a use case on it just, it happens at around 12 to 15 minute mark and in any of these meetings and you show them that the product. And so you’ve done your 10 minute instructions going around the room.
That’s the way they say it, so that when they’re, when they visualize everything, water monitors just happen. They see what Klir is and how it manifests and the ability to work.
So simply across multiple teams with one unified approach to water under the mission of the authority and that they can all work in this collaborative unified way that singular corporate mission. That is there a hot moment? That is just when they’re like, I just need it. I want to get it in now. And that’s when they get very, very excited about it.
That tends to come from all the way from users to managers, the general managers, all, all across the spectrum at different levels, in different parts of the organization. That is the Eureka moment. What they are talking about. If they have talked that this is the way they wanted us and where they can never seem to get us.
There was a couple of different companies who try to do a, an M and a strategy to try and build a product like ours. But of course they don’t, it doesn’t, you know, on its very basic and raw roots knit together the way it needs to. And so that aha moment, it happens very, very early on. You know, I was sort of saying in terms of metrics that we measure, it always comes down to the task is how do you collaborate when you see things like alarms going off?
At detection of chemical or, um, or an issue in a network on the workflows triggering off on an everything just hopping happening seamlessly. So 10 sites, when the task is divvied, open jobs, get to go across the organization and they all work on it’s a little bit like you’re in Algeria, but the music is like when the orchestra all comes together, it’s like when they see these events, And they see their entire orchestra just came together in a sort of a perfect symphony.
That’s when they go, oh my God, how did I even survive before clear? Maybe there’s lots of very, very good individual musicians, but there’s something special about bring in, bring all those together, play that symphony.
Klir is currently deployed in three countries
Antoine Walter: What’s your level of deployment today?
David Lynch: We are in three countries where across Canada, the U S and Australia, and we were across nine states in the US.
Antoine Walter: And how many people are working inside Klir?
David Lynch: If you asked me that a month ago, it would have been 20. And now we’re up to, I think 35 as of this morning.
Antoine Walter: So you’re, you’re living the hyper-growth path.
David Lynch: Yes, absolutely. That’s the way,
Where’s the road heading for Klir?
Antoine Walter: Last question in this deep dive, you know, I have this crystal ball, you can have a look in my crystal ball.
You decided if you look in 10 years in five years, right? If you’re in the hyper-growth path, maybe in two years, what’s your rising.
David Lynch: For us, it’s about getting this tool into the most amount of people’s hands in, where we’re operating. So we don’t want to differentiate whether you’re a, an authority managing or a community system managed for 5,000 all the way up to 5 million that we have a democratic on an available product, which is what we do today, uh, available for all those people to use.
And so for me, Hoping to engage with solving the amount of users that are active and clear on that as seeing some of that, you know, sharing some of the information on the insights that we’ve already gained across different, uh, different customers to show these are the jobs that actually are having the most impact.
These are the areas you can challenge in your restricted, regular. And here’s how you have made water better today this week, this year. So I’m excited to be able to just get this product into as many people’s hands as possible. And for me, when I look in five or 10 years, it’s done, I look across the sector with water professionals.
All of their time solving the challenges they’re facing, being a water constraints, via eutrophication, being whatever, maybe working on those problems rather than spending a day or two weeks, trying to cajole information out of one of their colleagues in the different departments, or trying to find that old Excel sheet that they couldn’t find.
Building a Water Unicorn to ensure Compliance Confidence
Antoine Walter: Let me cheat and add a last question is deep dive. You mentioned how others have tried M&A you’ve mentioned how you are on the path of. What’s the outlook for you is that to become the first real water unicorn as it’s to going in on an M&A towards a big group is then to go towards an IPO.
David Lynch: Yeah.
And I know this is sort of, a lot of people would not answer this question, but I will send us down bread and answer this question. And for us,
That’s what we’re putting all our, every waking moments on Africa behind, and the logic behind that there is sort of solid logic.
This is there’s a couple of reasons for it. M and a is rife in the sector. Definitely, you know, a consolidation around the coconut core entities. Like of course, you know, you can never say never at the end of the day, the mantra is still to get this into as many people’s hands as possible. But really what we want to try and do is to IPO, because I think the information we’re collecting, the data we have, and I think it’s important that that has.
Remains and also be a public market ownership or some, whatever the equivalent is, be it a sort of maybe a crypto public market or whatever the future may hold for us all to even start predicting. And, but I think it’s important. There is accountability and autonomy in an organization has such powerful data across water in different jurisdictions.
So IPO is exactly what we’re focusing on. And the other aspect, when I think about on a personal level, my mission when it comes to water is I think when you do get your. Proper unicorn and water. What naturally happens is it flows so much other VC dollars slow into water. So what’s great about that is the great thing about VC money is they know that like 90% or 80% of at the early of their investments has just gone through evaporation.
What’s going to happen then is we’re going to have much, much more funding available. So. The innovation that we need in this water sector, as opposed to maybe a very laggard centric, modular approach to innovation, which is, I think that’s probably one of the contributors that maybe Paul references, um, is that, you know, you’re not, you’re not, we’re not investing in companies that it’s okay to say, like, it’s okay to try, you know, these, these very different things.
When there’s such construction around the level of availability of money for innovation, you’re not going to innovate very quickly. So. The IPO route is really important for us. We want to be able to show that I maintain the trust that our customers and put in us that we are going to be here for the long haul.
Antoine Walter: I think that it makes the perfect conclusion for this deep dive. So thanks for that one. I propose you to switch to the rapid fire questions.
David Lynch: Absolutely.
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Rapid fire questions:
Antoine Walter: So in this last section, I’ll try to keep the questions short and you, you are allowed to keep the answers short. And of course, we’ll see that I’m the one side tracking. So don’t worry. My first question is what is the most exciting project you’ve been working on?
David Lynch: I’m actually going to go internal for this one. And so I am fortunate enough to be able to work with our product team on a lot of the discovery team that are right there talking with users every day. So like delve into too many details just for commercial reasons. But what’s really exciting is to run these pilots or these sort of discovery based initiatives and actually see this entire unified platform.
Water operators in the field can use every employee in the organization can use and basically just do the job that needs to every day. And so anything I got to do in the product team, anything I got to do when I got to listen to water users, I’m really happy. I’m very excited to take parts. Can you name
Antoine Walter: one thing that you’ve learned the
David Lynch: hard way?
Everything happens for a reason. There have been in any startup journey. It is not easy. And there are a lot of challenges that come, and I know, uh, and he goes, Wayne was saying the same thing. So I’m sort of reusing maybe as answering your previous podcast on reflection, even in those hearts. And you wonder why it’s fallen a particular way or issues have happened or, you know, Adidas fall through and whatever, maybe it is.
It all happens for a reason. So it might seem like terrible in the time it all comes. Go to the end. Is there
Antoine Walter: something you’re doing today in your job that you will not be doing?
David Lynch: I hope in my job today, it’ll be much more remote focused. And I hope that I became 80 sitting at sitting in beaches are doing remote more remote enabled work than I am today.
Definitely has gotten much better than it has in the more office centric approach that we’re all used to. And what I hope in 10 years time, that workforces that are, or there are ways of working as caught up that we can basically work wherever whenever we want would be, would be fantastic. I’d love to hear.
Antoine Walter: See how I sidetracked you’re here just for one minutes. But you mentioned how you went from 20 to 35. Did you meet all of them physically?
David Lynch: Nope. I’m on, we even add even one or two of our fundraisers. We never even met the investors and in person. So this is the new world. Um, you know, and even we’re able to, I think one of the unique things, which is let’s just go back there is we’re able to.
You know, we’ve proven we can sell our motives and it’s a lot, it’s do our reputation and loss with our deep knowledge of the world of water users and their problems they face. And, but it’s a different world. You know, being able to sell enterprise software, meeting them, we’ll be able to raise the phone, but I need to be able to hire people, but I’d never meeting them is definitely.
Now I will say, though, you know, as a company, we like remote is a grace and neighbor, it’s race and gender of diversity, but it’s really important to have the physical contact as well. So, uh, you know, we do try to bond and particularly for mental health as well. And that we, we, we still do, we are social creatures and that we’re able to enable that through, through some sort of physical contact.
So hopefully we’ll be able to do more of it in the short to medium term. Uh, hopefully we’ll be able to even, even ourselves meet in person at the next water conference or whatever, maybe first with
Antoine Walter: pleasure. And second, I have a second sidetrack question and I give you a joker. You don’t have to answer that.
But if you wish I’d be happy given the field that you’re in during the digitization of something which was done with Xcel and stuff like that, it’s in the past a pandemic comes. Is there a part of you which has to admit it’s a good.
David Lynch: Oh, that’s a difficult one. And I suppose the first thing is to recognize how difficult it has been for some people, you know, like unfortunately in everything in life, there is sort of people who benefit from things more than others.
There’s definitely been pros and cons of endemic. It is being good in many ways, the digital transformation has just lit up overnight and water at what would have taken a long, much longer time is definitely becoming much more prevalent and much more open technology. So I’m very positive at. I am very positive in that remote work is now here to say one of my big passion projects is something I’m very passionate about is diversity in the workforce, um, is enabling, is, is, uh, gender party and work.
Um, is gender equality is people who are, who are not in the, who does not fit the formal Tartine categories of what makes you different. You know, there’s so many different aspects of, of how we live our lives. Remote work has enabled people who are, who are marginalized, even though it might not be immediately apparent being able to come to work.
And so I’m really, really happy. And I think like all things in life, like there are no, there’s no nothing that’s truly bad and truly go to, we all live on a, on a spectrum of good and bad, and I’m happy with that. Um, you know, I think, I think we all are. I think we’ve all reached baseline of what’s important, even on a personal level.
I’d love to see my kids going back to school and having physical context. And so there’s good and bad things. But overall, I suppose, from a business perspective, it has been, we are very lucky and very fortunate to have been in the right time, in the right place. Like since I started working in water, I think seven and 10, it’s a, it’s a 10 year overnight success.
I’m glad to have being here at the right place.
Antoine Walter: I think it’s the best possible answer to a curve ball. So congrats for that one. Sorry about the question. What is the trend to watch out for in one second?
David Lynch: There’s a couple of aspects of this is the old way of thinking and how it’s all been done before that’s gone on.
If you’re not moving forward, you know, you are going to be left behind. So I think we have a rapidly changing workforce to touch them. My, my biggest point, we are getting more diverse in the water sector as well. We are bringing more women into water, which is critically important to how we’re actually going to solve this.
I’m an engineer, mechanical engineer by trade. And so I know that engineers always have one solution to every problem, which is to build something or to do it that way. Or I think a more holistic, collaborative integrated approach is what’s going to help us solve this, this challenge. And so I’m really excited to see that diversity coming into the workforce and to see that new perspectives.
More new ideas coming on. Even if that’s not limited to age or gender or anything, we are 100% as an industry and becoming much, much more open-minded I think this week as we face into the shotguns, because we know there’s no other way, this is a, this is the new reality.
Antoine Walter: We’re a word political leader.
What would be your first action to influence the fate of the words? What a challenge.
David Lynch: I ain’t going to be boring here. And I got to reuse, I think about a few of your guests hoping for, but we need to get, we need to really ramp up and get a value on water and we need to place a nicer price. We need to, as a species on their sons, and we need to understand that the value and the importance of water has, you know, it just is a completely unsustainable model that we have when it comes to water.
And we need much more equality. Like, you know, this is not limited to particular jurisdictions. You know, you would think that one of the most developed countries in the world that doesn’t have a water poverty. Yes, we do have people making money on their water training, you know, and then all the while people will go out and spend however much they do in bottled water in store.
But I will argue against paying their municipal bill. So we just need to, you know, this might come from Ireland that there is another case of, you know, an incredible historic case study on the implementation of water. But like we just, as a space, we need to, we need to just like shake our head and realize that this is something that we just can’t meet.
We can’t forget about, and we need to place a value on a place.
Antoine Walter: Last question. Would you have someone to recommend me to invite on that same micro.
David Lynch: You’ve had so many incredible guests, so it’s difficult to them. Well, one of the, one of the people who I’ve continuously been impressed by, and I’m just, as you probably know, from this to me, I love people who were operators, water experts.
I would recommend Dave Johnson from Southern amount of water authority, and incredible thought leader in the, in the sector and balancing the, you know, actually doing what he needs to do or doing what’s happening in the field, making these decisions with incredible innovation and one of. Innovative progressive best managed water authorities in the world. And so I would definitely, I think that you were bringing unique insight of like the practicalities of what’s happening in the field. Perfect. So thanks to those. Absolutely. And thank you so much for having me.