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Highlights

 

Welcome to another episode of Category Visionaries — the show that explores GTM stories from tech’s most innovative B2B founders. In today’s episode, we’re speaking with Greg Newbloom, CEO & Founder of Membrion, an industrial wastewater treatment solution that has raised $23 Million in funding. 

Most interesting points from our conversation:

  • The Origin of Membrion: Greg delves into how Membrion started with a focus on improving battery technology but pivoted to wastewater treatment, utilizing the unique properties of ceramic materials inspired by silica gel desiccant packs.
  • The Challenge of Commercialization: Greg discusses the rigorous process of scaling Membrion’s technology from a thumbnail-sized concept to a solution capable of treating multiple gallons of water, emphasizing the importance of achieving a minimum viable product.
  • Navigating Investor Expectations: Reflecting on Membrion’s fundraising journey, Greg highlights the differentiation between investor and customer expectations, and the strategic narrative adjustments required to meet these diverse needs.
  • A Focus on Semiconductor Industry Needs: Membrion targets the semiconductor industry, addressing its complex wastewater treatment challenges by offering a cost-effective and sustainable alternative to traditional disposal methods.
  • Marketing Strategy: Membrion employs a unique approach by offering water treatment as a service, alleviating customers’ adoption risks and aligning with their sustainability goals without demanding upfront capital expenditure.
  • Leadership Transition: Greg’s transition from CTO to CEO underscored the importance of team building and mentorship in navigating new roles and responsibilities within a deep-tech startup.

 

Actionable
Takeaways

Leverage Unexpected Sources of Inspiration:

Greg’s story of how a simple silica gel desiccant pack inspired Membrion's breakthrough in membrane technology highlights the value of seeking inspiration from unconventional places. For B2B tech founders, this emphasizes the importance of staying open to creative solutions from outside your immediate field of focus.

Pivot with Purpose:

Membrion's shift from battery technology to wastewater treatment underscores the strategic pivot’s value when the original market doesn't align with your technology’s strengths. For founders, it's crucial to remain flexible and pivot towards markets where your technology can solve significant problems, even if it's not the market you initially targeted.

Focus on Building a Strong MVP:

Greg's discussion about the importance of developing a minimum viable product that genuinely solves a problem highlights the necessity of focusing efforts on creating a tangible, testable product, rather than getting caught up in the potential of the technology alone. This approach is especially crucial in industries where efficacy is binary, such as water treatment.

Strategically Navigate Investor and Customer Expectations:

The contrast between investor expectations and customer needs that Greg experienced underscores the importance of tailoring your pitch and narrative depending on your audience. Founders should develop the skill of articulating their vision and product's value differently to investors and customers.

Adopt a Customer-Centric GTM Strategy:

Membrion's success in the semiconductor industry and its marketing strategy of treating water as a service illustrates the effectiveness of a customer-centric go-to-market approach. This involves understanding and addressing the unique challenges and risks your potential customers face and offering solutions that align with their needs and limitations.

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