ROBIC APPLAUDS THE GENEROSITY AND INGENUITY OF ITS CLIENTS. HERE IS THE INSPIRING STORY OF LES INNOVATIONS ADAPTIVA INC.!
Life sometimes throws us onto a path towards new ideas! This is the case for Thomas Thibault, whose invention came about due to an inability to find a suitable product for a remodeling project that he was undertaking.
After a long search for a solution that gives the appearance of barn wood to an interior wall, the engineer and scientist, who hails from Matane, has now developed an effective and innovative formula for graying wood to achieve the « barn wood » look.
Born in 1988, the president and founder of two companies displays the typical profile of an entrepreneur. He admits with full honesty that he did not have big professional ambitions until his late twenties. However, while working on his graduate thesis, he contributed to patenting a first invention, which he had improved for the benefits of a Québec company. Is it only then that he discovered the field of research and development and the importance of intellectual property?
After having practiced as an engineer in the public sector for nearly 5 years, he founded his first business in 2016 – Aqua Ingenium Consulting Services – alongside his colleague engineer Charles Légaré-Bilodeau. Since its launch, the engineering consulting firm has been able to maintain an annual growth rate of more than 100% and has now become a reputable company, being able to count on a devoted team of 12 professionals working out of 3 branches in Québec. This experience introduced him to entrepreneurship and gave him full confidence in his abilities.
« At the beginning of Aqua Ingenium, I became more seriously interested in entrepreneurship. I read dozens of books on the subject in order to learn more about the different business models and financial mechanisms. At the time, I saw that the scope that the Aqua Ingenium business could reach was limited. I dreamed of starting a company that could offer innovative products or services worldwide through the new trends in e-commerce. In 2018, I devoured the Elon Musk’s biography, the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX and others; his story was a powerful inspiration to me and made me realize that it was possible to run more than one start-up at a time, » he says.
While doing some interior renovations in the winter of 2018, Mr. Thibault sought to purchase a treatment that would allow a « barn wood » type finish to be produced on new wood. Despite numerous several searches at major Québec hardware stores and large online marketplaces, he could not find anything readily available for recreating this effect. Smelling an opportunity, the promoter sought to develop a product that would be effective, affordable, eco-responsible, available in all hardware stores and in a format ready for e-commerce.
« Two years later, after numerous trials and errors, we are now ready to market our VOC-free, heavy metal-free blending kit, and that includes biodegradable and recyclable packaging. » In addition to developing the winning formula, ensuring product quality was a significant challenge and required an investment of more than $150,000 in research and development. The final product includes water and four packets of powder (three chemical reagents and an innovative Booster) that mix to create a solution that allows the graying of the wood.
“We oxidize the wood without altering its physical properties. Drying takes only a few minutes and it’s quite impressive the first time you try it. We target individual end users, but also pros in the wood industries.”
Due to the pandemic, the sales and marketing strategy have had to be postponed and the entire team was put on hold for a while. Although COVID-19 has negatively impacted this start-up, this young company was able to benefit from government aid programs that were implemented during this crisis.
The first 8,000 units have now been manufactured by the young president’s parents, and the company recently received the green light from Health Canada to market its eco-friendly treatment. The current priority is to reach agreements with the major Québec hardware stores. Additionally, the start-up is actively promoting its blending kit on various social media platforms.
The company will also begin marketing three new wood treatments in the near future. The promoter is also keen on highlighting a revolutionary new product line that is currently in the works and that will be revealed this coming year.
With a head full of ideas, Thomas Thibault has big plans for the next few years, which are sure to be profitable, as four innovations will be released in 2021 and 2022.
ROBIC salutes Thomas Thibault’s courage, as he invests in his projects without hesitation and reflects the audacious nature of Québec entrepreneurs.
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