3AW offers a disruptive technology to transfer the environmental water analysis from laboratories to field enabling smart sampling to monitor the heavy metal contents on-site and real-time. The technology is highly needed because monitoring the environmental impact of mining and metal industries with the current laboratory technologies is slow, expensive and inefficient. These old-fashioned technologies do not provide the companies with proper tools to optimize their wastewater management and minimize their environmental impact. Neither do they give the authorities effective ways to monitor these companies.
After three years of intensive R&D, scaling the production, and piloting with customers, 3AWater is ready to bring the first commercial version of their patented Multimetal Water Analysis System (MWAS) to the market. The first two units will be delivered to an international customer in January 2022. 3AWater is now looking for a seed investment of 300 – 500 k€ to scale the business, accelerate international sales and develop the product towards wider customer base.
Markets and business
The market for metal analysis of waters is worth more than 1 B€, growing 8 % annually. It is currently dominated by commercial laboratories. 3AWater’s entry markets are environmental and wastewater monitoring applications, which currently are worth more than 500 M€. The most potential customers are companies in mining and metal industry, environmental consultancies, mineral exploration companies, water treatment plants and services, research institutes, rescue services, and military forces. The applications beyond the entry market are for example drinking water and process water monitoring that will provide further growth in the future.
3AWater MWAS utilizes three different parts: 3AWater analysis kit, consumables needed for each measurement, and a third-party X-ray fluorescence spectrometer (XRF). Business model is based on sales of consumables (36 € a piece on average), analysis kits is sold around cost price (3000 €), and spectrometer is sold by our collaborator (from 20 000 €). A typical customer already owns a spectrometer that can be used with the product. Therefore, starting the use of 3AWater system requires low capital expenditure for these customers. The lifetime of a spectrometer and analysis kits is up to ten years. Therefore, actively measuring customers create continuous and long revenue streams.
Benefits and competitive advantage
In 2022, it is still normal to wait for results of metal contents of water for several days. This does not need to be tolerated any longer because 3AWater system now offers the analysis results in seven minutes on-site. The fast analysis offers several benefits to our customers in mining and metal industries:
- Optimized water management and environmental risk management for water intensive industries: Customers have always up to date information on their waters to ensure compliance with the regulations.
- Capability to react immediately to abnormal situations: Customers will detect anomalies several days earlier than with current technology. Once an issue is detected, the customer can trace the sources of the problem using 3AWater technology and take immediate action to mitigate the issue.
- Better public image, transparency and social acceptance: Communicating the use of state-of-the-art environmental monitoring technology and disclosing the results reassure the public that nature is not harmed during operations. This leads to better acceptance of the industry on local but also global level.
- Smart sampling to improve data quality: Smart sampling refers to a revolutionary method to determine the environmental sampling points based on the results of the earlier analyses done on-site. This method leads to more comprehensive and relevant information in any environmental water investigation.
There are few other companies offering on-site solutions for metal analysis, but these are not in wide use in the environmental and wastewater monitoring because they are not truly field compatible. They are complicated to use in field conditions and require highly trained operators. The main competitive advantages of 3AWater are ease-of-use, robustness, and reliability of the technology enabling reliable results also in difficult conditions with little training.
Strategy and objectives
3AWater aims to be the number one global brand for portable metal analysis of waters. There are about 100 000 handheld XRF-spectrometers in active use globally. Our objective is that at least 2 % of these will also use 3AWater technologies for analysing waters by 2027. Based on our predictions, that would bring around 40 M€ annual revenue for the company. The early sales will focus on customers with pre-existing compatible XRFs while expanding the compatibility of 3AWater technology towards more XRF models. Sales will be further accelerated by utilizing distributors and sales networks of XRF manufacturers in international markets and especially sales in the most compelling markets US, Canada, and China. We believe that the company is ready for a business acquisition by a global technology company within five years.
Team and ownership
Company currently employs the operational team of four persons: CEO Tuomo Nissinen (PhD in applied physics), recently hired CSO Heikki Jyrkinen (MSc, experienced professional in international sales of industrial solutions), CTO Joakim Riikonen (PhD in applied physics), and part-time R&D specialist Tommi Tiihonen (MSc in applied physics). Company has Board of Directors consisting of Professor Vesa-Pekka Lehto bringing scientific knowledge, Bernhard Münzing an experienced business development and sales professional, and Anne Horttanainen (Deputy director of Finland Chamber of Commerce) specializing in Law and administration. The team has also two active senior advisors Pekka Savolahti (industry expert), and Petri Pietikäinen (majority owner and chair of board in BioSafe ltd., expert in commercializing innovations).
The founders own more than 85 % of the shares of the company. 3AWater has four investors: Butterfly VC, BePaMü GmbH (owned by Bernhard Münzing), Finland Chamber of Commerce, and Piinom Oy.
Why to invest
We offer an opportunity to invest in a growth company with game changer technology entering a pristine market with high potential. The global megatrends of environmental consciousness and increasing public and regulatory pressure towards polluting industries are in favour of the business of 3AWater. We will be a key player in driving the sustainable transition of industries by making water monitoring more effective to improve water management ultimately leading to cleaner and safer environment. The investor risk is greatly reduced by the fact that the product is ready to market and tested with third party. The technology is protected by granted and pending patent applications. Not only is the technology proven but also the customer demand has been shown by pilots and first sales to a major global mining and metal industry company. We believe that that this is an optimal time to invest in 3AWater and expect a good profit in a reasonable time frame.