Episode 81 Transcript

Welcome to Episode 81
of the Business in Morocco Podcast today
i'm talking with the founder of Clinaqua
Bottles and he's going to talk to us about growing up in Morocco about going to
school
in Spain and some of the experiences he's had as an entrepreneur over the
years including his most recent projects to
produce water bottles and to produce a technology to help clean the ocean
of pollution and plastic specifically so Aymane welcome to the podcast uh could you just introduce yourself for
our listeners of course thank you very much Ryan for introducing me so my name's Aymane and the
nickname is Berrerdoche i know it's a bit complicated and it sounds a bit uh you know difficult to pronounce uh but
yeah and i'm based in in Spain and i'm originally from Morocco great so you you grew up in
Nador
um talk to us about your family did you
come from
a family of entrepreneurs or where did
you get this
spirit to start uh building businesses
yeah sure um so my my
my father is uh is working
um with the government and my mother is
working
on a bank so it's i don't have a member
that i know of in the family that he's
an entrepreneur
it was more of maybe
yeah yeah yeah exactly it was more of
understanding what it is and the
importance of being
it more than being influenced by someone
to do so
so when you were in nador growing up and
did you go to public school to private
yeah so another i was studying in uh
spanish school
um and that's that's why i had um
easiness also with the language
and uh well also uh
get had given me a permission a help
uh to go to study in Spain also okay
so was it there where you started
learning english as well
english was more an
auto deduct thing it was more of
watching videos and reading books and
consuming content in english that was
that was uh pushed it did you have
friends or family members that could
speak english as well and you could
practice
um yeah i but
i i have a cousin that lives in the um
usa in texas and so whenever she used to
come
i used to uh practice a little bit with
her english
yeah because you you have a good level
of english
and it seems uh amazing to me that you
could arrive there if you weren't uh
practicing speaking it and listening to
it all
i mean every day yeah thank you very
much
it's mainly because of the content i
used to consume on youtube
and also because at an early age
precisely at 16 i understood that
english
was the main language in which i can
learn things and new things because
the main innovation was happening in the
usa and also because
in english countries and also that's
that was the language in which
they provided the content so you can
learn and so i i understood that
and i started to consume it in english
and also
started to read in books in english
because of that purpose
yeah i completely agree i mean if you
have a
um a company here in morocco and
they have a relationship with a company
in germany for example
they're most likely going to be
communicating in english
or if you're communicating with let's
say
uh a manufacturer in turkey or in china
you're also probably going to be
communicating english
right now i'm i'm doing negotiations
with a company in switzerland
okay we're communicating in english and
english right
i completely agree it's it's a it's a
great idea and some
one of the reasons we do this podcast is
to encourage
moroccans to learn english knowing
exactly what you just said
which is if you can speak english then
you'll have many advantages
uh doing business around the world um
and especially as an entrepreneur like
yourself
trying to do business across borders
uh english is a is a great thing to have
so tell us a little bit about your your
first adventures
into entrepreneurship um i know it's
from your your linkedin
profile there's a couple of things there
called uh
oh natural nador what was that
yeah that was the first experience on
having a business
um and in other and it's
very much related to the this last
startup in which i'm in
uh that's called clean aqua as you said
um
before and it's it's basically the same
idea
just developed even more but that was
the first thing that i had and i started
it
at the edge of 16. and so what was the
goal of the company
the goal came up from a very big problem
that happened in my city it was just a
normal day
i was in my house at my home sorry
um and i just wanted to wash my hands
from tap water
and whenever i opened the tap water
yellow water came out
and i was completely surprised i didn't
understand what was happening but i did
understand that
this is not something normal um
it was actually a problem that happened
for a week within the city
and whenever i informed myself more what
happened it was because
there was a pollution leak into the
water that was going through tap
water and cities and so i thought that
uh okay if it's just me washing my hands
imagine if there are families in the
city that count
on drinking this tap water that's a huge
problem
and so i began thinking of ideas that we
can
start doing in order to solve that
problem in that moment
it was not something saying okay this is
a problem
i'll just think of something long term
it was
let's come up with something that can
fix it in that right time
yeah and and so whenever we analyze what
was the best solution
to it it was to provide develop and
design
uh individual water filters so they can
be cheap
and each one can buy it
and use it whenever they have polluted
water
in in their tap water so
you were able to find materials from
local stores and markets in order to
make these filters
so i actually heard about a program uh
those weeks it was called in jazz and it
was the perfect opportunity to go there
and just pitch the solution and be part
of them
because this program allows you to
develop your projects
so you don't have to worry about the
legal part because you have a program
endorsing it and so we had a coach and
we had a
team of like 17 people and so we started
developing it
with with that team okay and how long
did you work on that project
and and what were the final results it
was it was about a year
and we actually sold some uh i think
exactly we made the uh i made a profit
of uh
i think it was uh a thousand seven
hundred damn
something like that it was a big thing
for me was the first time i was uh
um you know gaining money which is not
my focus but
it still was like it gives you a sense
of accomplishment
just happiness so yeah it was about a
year
since uh we began about sell actually
selling it
so tell tell our listeners
about what you learned
during this process because you clearly
identified a problem it was a problem
that everyone had
they needed a solution why did you have
the courage
to go figure out an answer to the
problem and
and what did you learn during the
process that you can share with our
listeners
um ryan i think the most important thing
that i learned
and that i still count on very much
and i'm very thankful of learning it is
to develop the mentality of problem
solving
for instance if you know that you have a
problem i have
the ability to instantly
think of what can i do to solve this
what's the most efficient way to solve
this and i think
that's the most important thing that i
learned and also to answer
your second question uh ryan it's
i think i am a very emotional person
i'm the kind of person that um if knows
that something
wrong i'd love to be part of the
solution
and i'd love to be part to make happy
the other person also
that's why i think the uh being
emotional affects so much
and i think that's what triggered the
the energy and the commitment
to be involved in these uh solutions
that are very difficult to to handle
actually
so you you finished that project and
you started something else called extra
is that right well you were still in
exactly extra is a long term
i think it's not legalized but um
it's more of a a brand for architecture
and design focused products and also a
philosophy of doing things the
philosophy of doing
extraordinary things you know and the
only way to do extraordinary things is
to not limit yourself
so uh that's just something that i have
aside as a long-term thing but
for now it's uh more of it of a
philosophy that i try to embody and
inspire
mm-hmm so these projects you were doing
while you
were going to school and in fact you're
still going to school
right now is that is that correct in
spanish yeah i'm going in
college yeah so this whole time um
you've been studying full-time but also
doing
side projects you know a lot of people
would say
you know i don't have the time you know
i'm a student i don't have enough time
or energy
to be doing these side projects and
starting these businesses
what would you say to to people when
they tell you that
well ryan just the philosophy that i
talked to
about extra i think the only way to do
extraordinary things the word itself
tells it
is to go beyond the ordinary and the
only way to go beyond the ordinary
is to not limit yourself i truly believe
that
we are capable of doing more than we
think we can
and i also try to inspire that and
um embody that and try to express it
whenever i
do these projects because right now i'm
studying architecture and the same time
i'm having two
complex projects clean aqua is a startup
that we're going to start to sell
actually in one month and prolo is a big
project of
32 members and we are going to
um put a filter in the mediterranean for
the year 2021
and that's why the university is helping
us too
in more in the financing of the project
itself so
yeah i think that's what i think i think
we can do much more
each one of us can do much more than he
thinks he can do
so you're you're at university in spain
talk to our listeners about
how you decided to go to this university
to move
to a new country to move to spain um to
study i assume that most of the
education is in spanish is that right
yeah you have the option of taking it in
english but mostly
it's in spanish yeah so talk to our
listeners about this decision-making
process why did you choose to go to
spain for
university yeah i think it's the same
motivation that
everyone has uh at the beginning which
is to go after bigger opportunities and
more opportune opportunities and
more doors opening more doors for you
my goal was not to go to spain was to go
to france
i applied to study in in paris and
montpelier and i got rejected
and so my plan b was to go to spain
to go to valencia and and so yeah that's
that was the main
the main thing to open more
opportunities
so talk to us about your your
focus of your studies and how does that
focus of your studies relate to the
projects that you're doing right now
yeah so right now i'm studying
architecture um
and actually there are a lot of people
that do
ask me that why are you studying
architecture if you're doing
uh something related to business for
instance entrepreneurship
i don't see it as business i see it more
as uh
to be an entrepreneur i think
entrepreneur embodies better the
word of uh or term of business
because that allows you also to be an
innovator and you know
be design driven and many things so i
think the main thing
is being design driven because in both
i develop products one is developing
buildings and also you can develop
products inside that architecture agency
if you
if you open one and the other one is
also a product driven
that's what i focus on and the other
thing is
both they have heavy management and
heavy
leadership skills that's that's what i
think that's what combines
them both so
uh which of these initiatives did you
start first the
clan aqua or the the pro luo
the cleaning of the ocean okay so it's
it's an
interesting story how i try to plan
things so whenever i finished
uh the project on a trail what i decided
to do is to give myself a break
and enter in other projects so i can
learn faster so i can begin
another project by myself so whenever i
finish on a trail that was the period
i left morocco and then i went to spain
i had nothing
in in that gap and so what i did
is enter projects inside the university
of of of
students or even teachers i was in
in in a project started by a teacher in
which we were developing
um scooters electrical scooters
i entered as uh someone just wanted to
learn
and so i try to learn as much as i can
from those projects
uh the electric scooter we i worked on
it for six months and we failed
we actually didn't launch at the end but
it was enough to gather information
and knowledge and experience so i can
start and so
the next thing that i did after those
six months
it was 2019 was to start
a clean aqua clean aqua came up with the
idea of onature
it was because i saw potential in it and
i
saw how important that solution of
filtering water
was and also we come up with
the idea of actually if we develop this
project
we will not be only tackling the water
pollution problem which is immense
and it's getting even even worse
throughout the years in the whole world
but also we can tackle the plastic
pollution problem
because we can add the filter inside
reusable bottles
of water that you can use besides buying
single-use plastic
water bottles and so it was tackling two
problems and that's what introduced me
to the second pro problem which is
plastics and i understood
the problem with plastics and so months
after i started the program
that's great so so talk to us about your
journey with clinaqua
when you first had the idea
what was the first thing that you did
was it a design
did you investigate producing
the bottle and the filter talk to us
about your journey to
to the po the moment we're at where
you're about to start selling
this water bottle yeah so as
i said before ryan it's that mentality
of problem solving so
once i understood that the main the
fundamental problem
a solution to the problem is to develop
a filter
then it was like creating the bubble
around it you know you have the main
thing you
have it's it's also our first uh
principles
way of doing things you know to break
down the problem to its core and to
break down the solution to its core
so we started with the actual solution
which is
filter and then started to design around
uh how to develop it for instance we
started the filter
and then we ended up with the bottle
that will be inside it
because as i mentioned it tackles also
the problem of plastic pollution
so that's how we started it was a design
driven process
and actually we use the same process
both in clean aqua and protool
which is the design process i think it's
the most effective thing
if you are developing a product a
focused
uh a business or project
and and you say we are are you a team do
you have a team of people that are
helping you
realize this project yeah so a clinical
we are seven
members and at prolo we are
around 30 people okay so so once you had
the design
how did you go about testing your design
or
or creating prototypes yeah
as i mentioned the design process that
we are using allows you to
uh jump from prototype to prototype it's
like having multiple ndps
for instance uh the product we just
released the name of it it's it's called
aqua one
so before arriving to aqua one what we
did is developing aqua 0.1
and then we test it then we take the
good things and bad things of it and we
then develop aqua 0.2
and then 0.3.4.5 until we arrive
to 0.9 which is the last prototype we
validate
we improve it and then we finish with
aqua one and that's the same process
also that
we're developing um at prologue and the
prolo the product we are developing is
called blow
blowing so the place i uh i'm currently
based in is valencia so valencia has
another language um which is called
valenciano and in valenciano blue means
blue i think it's uh it's also common in
other countries
uh and the idea of naming its blue is uh
to regain uh the
color of the mediterranean back to blue
because it's it's very much polluted
with micro plastics and plastics
and so that's the same process we are
developing and
it's the name is blow one because of the
process we're doing
so talk to me at the the actual
practicality
of creating a prototype does the
university have resources
did you have to go out in town to
actually get
um the materials that you need to create
the prototypes
yeah so in blau we're still developing
so
as i mentioned we have aqua one we're
just we're going to start selling it and
in prolo we're actually
at the phase of blouse 0.3 we're we're
at
um an early phase in prototyping
but the financing part of it comes from
the university so the university
allows you to uh to pick up the money
you need
um because it's endorsed by it and and
also
it's because they take uh some shares
with you
okay that's some university policies if
you start a project with the university
there are some policies is that the same
for aqua one
no one is a startup so for aqua one
yeah the the first prototype bottles
did did you start did you buy the
materials and start
putting it together and fast singing it
how did that work exactly it was a
personal funding from
the co-founders um and just start
prototyping directly from the things
that we can we can buy
okay and so you had a series of
revisions
and corrections over time of different
prototypes based on what you learned
now tell us once you had a design that
you liked and that was functional
how did you decide where to manufacture
okay so this is actually a very good
point
ryan and a very good question because
what we are trying to do with clinako
is to be as sustainable as possible
and so involving the same mentality of
problem solving
we found out that the best way to be
sustainable even in the production of
the product
is by using additive manufacturing
instead of traditional manufacturing um
and so that's what we use and also the
plots of um using additive manufacturing
is that you can buy it
because it's affordable and you can
produce it from your
home if you decide to produce it from
your home so that's what we are using
and we are producing directly from
the office that we have and we're
starting to sell in morocco that's
that's where we're going to start
producing
so you buy the shell
and then you buy the filter then you do
the assembly yourself things that
parts said essentially that already
exist
exactly so um additive manufacturing is
uh
commonly said is the 3d printed uh
3d print and what we do is
go into the fundamental things for
instance what you use is
uh for the bottle itself the material is
very ecologic
it's acid the polylactic acid and what
we do is we buy the pellets
defund the multiple things so we can
decrease the cost
and we turn it into filaments and then
we use the 3d printer
but for the filter we it's a bit more
complicated to
you by yourself uh manufacture the
filters so we buy
the main ingredients of the filter which
in this case
in this case is one of them is uh
activated carbon
okay so you are actually printing these
bottles
and then you're buying the filter
materials and you're assembling it
and that's basically your your
manufacturing
process exactly but at the end because
there are some inconveniences in 3d
printing so at the end there
there is a refinement exercise and
a finishing process so we do that uh
to finish it and to give it that uh a
very good looking product also that
that's one of the things that we focus
on
with your current process how many
can you create per month for example
um it depends on how many uh 3d printers
you have obviously
about what with the capacity that we
have um
it's around uh 300 bottles
300 bottles so is your is your business
plan to go direct to consumer
using social media or do you also have
uh b2b plans
exactly it's uh b2c plans directly
okay so you're gonna you're gonna do
social media marketing and
and and are you planning to just use the
the post office once you get an order
you're going to ship it out
through various logistics companies
yeah exactly that's that's the yeah
that's the best way
we we can do yeah the best thing we can
do sorry
okay have you already set up your your
payment system
uh e-commerce website we
are in it that's the last thing we
wanted to do so we can truly focus on
developing a great
product and then once we finish aqua one
which is the case
now we are involving all the things so
we can wrap it up and start selling
okay so that the website is not active
yet
it is in development okay well why don't
you just give the listeners the name of
the website so that when this
episode does actually publish uh they
can go
and check out your products exactly it's
clean aquabottles.com
okay we'll put that in the show notes so
we encourage all of our listeners to go
and
to order a bottle um so let's uh
transition to pro
luo and talk talk to our listeners about
what is the situation in the
mediterranean you talked a little bit
about the pollution
what is the situation
yeah so ryan
um i started
with uh a lack of knowledge
um i started as uh like two years ago i
thought that the problem of plastics was
just the idea of you throwing
maybe a plastic bottle in the ocean or
on land and it
stays there and whenever i start to
inform myself
more and be more involved in this and
start reading more books
which is one of the things that i do so
i can complement my lack of knowledge i
buy a lot of books specialized
specialized in
those topics uh for instance prologue or
what i've been reading a lot is
uh marine biology and now
i know that the problem is um
how can i say the word it's it's
very much lethal than i thought and it's
much more complex than i thought
the mediterranean is a closed sea so
the problem of plastics is um uh
happening in the global oceans there are
five uh
big patches of plastics they're called
plastic gyres
so what we are doing is going um
directly
to solve the problem in the
mediterranean because it's a closed sea
and so the plastics gather there the
actual problem of the mediterranean is
plastics are very much gathered there
and by time and because of sunlight
also they break down into microplastics
and that's
the main problem orion it's not the
plastics it's the microplastics so
whenever the plastic breaks
um because what what what happens is
the um the fish and all the organisms
they confuse it with food and they eat
there's one report that i recently read
and on national geographic
and it says at 60 percent about 60
percent of sardines
in the mediterranean contain
microplastics
so we know that microplastics are
already
in our chain food or sorry food chain
um and that produces uh long-term cancer
and many other things but the main
problem is that it's killing
organisms and it's killing one of the
fundamental
um organisms in the world which are
planktons
planktons produce oxygen actually about
50
of the world's oxygen uh um
i don't want to say something wrong but
i think it's uh
whether 50 or 70 it's it's a very big
amount
of oxygen of the world does not actually
come from trees
it comes from plankton's plants are very
tiny organisms that live
in the top layer of the ocean the seas
and so
they eat the microplastics too
and because they eat it they die it's
because uh
it blocks their digestive system
or it's because it produces long-term
complications inside the system
so the problem is actually very big and
the main problem is the micro plastics
and that's what we are going after the
filters specialized
to gather more than big plastics which
is the long-term thing to do
but the tiny plastics the micro plastics
so tell our listeners um how your
solution is going to
remove these micro plastics from the
mediterranean
yeah so um i don't know if you if you
know about
a very big project that's called ocean
cleanup
yeah i have exactly so what they're
doing is going after the gyres
the actually the problem is much more
bigger than that it's not going through
uh after the five gyres that i talked
it's about going everywhere because now
it's everywhere
and so what we need is not only one
of ocean cleanup not only one project of
product but we need
dozens many of them because it's a very
big problem it's everywhere
and so uh what we are doing is uh
developing this filter
so we can gather the micro plastics uh
through the mediterranean and so we
start indirectly with
the mediterranean which is um another
plus
so is it you said it's something that's
going to be
um put in the the the mediterranean by
boats
basically attach it between boats and
they they move through the mediterranean
to gather the plastic
exactly that's it's because that's the
long-term solution
the best solution it's the same idea of
going to the fundamental
to break it down the best solution is to
make something that's not autonomous
because it's less expensive and it's
more efficient also
so the best thing is to attach it to
both that already move
from point a to b um
that and that's what ocean cleanup is
doing is developing
autonomous systems and so what we are
the point of innovation is
you know we're doing it at uh
much less cost and it's also
a long-term solution also
yeah that sounds like a great initiative
i know that
all of us want um healthy clean oceans
i'm glad that i'm glad that you're
working on that project to help
resolve that problem talk uh
talk to our listeners about your
experience in spain
um during coronavirus what has happened
at the university
what are your impressions of the economy
yeah so this situation is
uh actually worse than i thought
whenever the pandemic started obviously
everything closed up
and the university closed so we were
doing uh online classes
um and so spain was one of the countries
that really
got the impact of the pandemic and
mostly in the hospitals because they
were full of people
and actually we were still working at
aqua and prototyping
and what we did is we shifted um
the prototyping of the bottles and we
started creating visors
so so uh we can help in the pandemic so
that's what
we i'm really proud of uh i'm saying
saying that we
we've done that and what we we've been
doing is developing visors to protect
the head
and sending it for free to hospitals so
we can help them
as much as we can and it turned out very
very effective and we've also sent to to
morocco
we were sending to spain mostly in
valencia
and malaga and we've sent also to
morocco we sent to nador and to another
small city which is uh so it was so
all the visors that we created and it
was
it was obviously completely for free
because we wanted to help
um and so yeah right now
the con the um the economy is uh
being uh heavily impacted
and its pain is already been a little
bit
felt so are you allowed to move around
the country
are you allowed to go to other areas in
the eu
um or are you still sort of confined to
certain areas
yeah um during the quarantine you you
obviously couldn't move
uh i think you could move only if you
have like a very solid excuse or
because you had something uh that you
had to do
but now that quarantine is over in in
spain
uh now you can move in the uh i was
about a month ago i was in holland i was
in rotterdam and i met
actually the ocean cleanup team so i can
gather information from them and
learn and just to sit with them so you
you could move freely and
and go whatever you want even in the uh
eu but now the situation as they are
talking
you know and news and that and that they
may uh
re-quarantine quarantine so they may
block again the circulation movement
have they said whether you will be
taking in-person classes
in the fall or where is it going to
continue online
yeah they the universities announced
that will be online
uh just the first uh semester
but the second semester there's still no
visibility and also that that's another
issue that
there is not a solid visibility and
where we are heading with this pandemic
i think it's a problem worldwide also
so as an entrepreneur you have to deal
with this reality
uh of coronavirus you have to deal with
the situation at your school
um you have two projects that you're
working on
um tell us about what your your goals
are for the rest of the year
so the short-term goal
is um to fully develop um
or at least to arrive to blow uh 0.8
uh this year well my teammates actually
know it i'm someone that really puts a
tough deadline so um
that's that's my that's my hope and also
it's to start very well uh selling aqua
one and
it's because the long-term um aim or
goal that i want to arrive is to give as
much as i can for myself
to do an effort um to connect
better civilizations with nature that's
what eventually sustainability is and
that's my aim
to really work on sustainability
projects and to make them successful as
as soon as i can it sounds like uh
a great initiative um
two great projects reusable
water bottles and cleaning up the ocean
great projects wish you the best of luck
and tell our listeners again the website
or where they can find you on social
media yeah
so the thing is uh the idea is whenever
you
write clean aqua bottles or pro-l
projects
it will appear whether on google whether
it's instagram
facebook or twitter or linkedin and the
actual websites will be developed so
uh eventually in some weeks we you can
even
find the actual web pages
all right thanks damon so much for your
time thanks for
sharing your story with all of our
listeners uh we wish you luck with these
uh these two projects and stay healthy
stay safe
um yeah thank you very much ryan for
having me and have a very good day
and weekend that's uh come in very near
thanks thank you very much

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