First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Manoj Singh: Earlier in March of this year, my whole family fell ill with COVID-19. It was a scary ordeal. We had all come in contact with the virus before my wife started showing any symptoms. Our recovery took many weeks, but the experience gave me time to think about helping others in these unprecedented times. Our team at Acuva Technologies has joined the fight against COVID-19 with new innovations in UV-LED disinfection.
You can read more about my personal experience with COVID-19.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Acuva Technologies.
Manoj Singh: The technology industry has an interesting way of making lives better through innovation. This is what I have personally experienced over 25 years immersed in automotive and cleantech technologies. My mechanical engineering and business administration education has given me a strong foundation to specialize in technology commercialization, market and business development, strategic partnership formation, business and strategic planning.
I earned my MBA in Strategic Management at the University of British Columbia in 2010. A few years later, I reached out to the University-Industry Liaison Office in search of potential partners for a new venture. This is where I was introduced to Dr. Fariborz Taghipour, the genius behind a highly efficient UV-LED water disinfection system, which I felt could make an incredible social impact. We brought complementary skills and experience together, along with a true passion for making a difference. Together, Fariborz and I founded Acuva Technologies in 2014 to bring safe drinking water to millions around the world.
Acuva has since grown into an award-winning world leader in UV-LED disinfection system design for water, air, and surface applications. The company spans the globe with team members in Canada, Europe, China, India, South Korea, and the United States. This dedicated team strives to create a positive social impact through passion, innovation, and excellence in UV-LED disinfection system design.
How does Acuva Technologies innovate?
Manoj Singh: Technical expertise and intellectual property are among Acuva’s key advantages in the UV-LED industry. We have over 20 patents granted, published, and filed. We also benefit from a strategic partnership with a research team at the University of British Columbia, giving us exclusive access to future innovations. Many of our team members have graduated from UBC. Beyond research and development, we have a strong and agile team with extensive know-how in manufacturing, supply chain, and quality control that enables us to deliver market-leading products.
We also innovate through partnership. Our specialization in UV-LED water treatment systems has taught us valuable lessons for point-of-use applications. This expertise allows us to help OEMs navigate through their unique requirements and challenges for the integration of UV-LED disinfection system enhancements to their products. We adapt to the needs of our customers and their markets. Together we discover applications that were simply not possible in the past.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Manoj Singh: As the CEO of Acuva Technologies, I took all the necessary precautions to protect my team while ensuring our customers continued to receive the focused support we are known to provide. My family and I fell ill with COVID-19 in March of this year, which made things even more challenging as I attended to my health at home.
My personal ordeal with this ruthless virus gave me some time to think about helping others facing the pandemic. From the health care workers putting their lives at risk to all those in the communities where infection would spread, protection from microbial contaminants has never been more important. The need for PPE and disinfectants was clear, but the resulting waste and chemical emissions to the environment left much to be desired.
This triggered Acuva’s decision to join the fight against COVID-19, doing what we do best. We applied the same key principles used in our signature approach to UV-LED system design towards the creation of new products to help mitigate the spread of the virus. This resulted in the launch of the Acuva™ Solarix, the first of a series of products designed in response to the pandemic. We used proven UV-LED disinfection technology to create a more sustainable surface disinfection solution that conveniently fits in your pocket. It allows people to reduce risk with the wave of their hand in as little as 10 seconds, without the need for any chemicals or creating additional waste like disposable wipes.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Manoj Singh: Speed of execution is critical for the rapid global expansion of a company like Acuva. The team aggressively pursues its goals and pivots or overcomes challenges just as quickly. This takes a lot of energy and dedication. What unites us through difficult times is our collective passion for making a difference in the world with our technology. When you have a team with deep roots in research and development, the creation of new solutions is second nature. Having the right people on the team is what differentiates Acuva from any other company, and I am honored to work with such brilliant people.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Manoj Singh: My recent ordeal with COVID-19 reminded me that health is of utmost importance. I make time to practice yoga and have morning tea with my wife, although sometimes, our newest canine family member tends to interrupt for attention. Calming the mind helps reduce stress and enhance productivity. This helps me ensure I make the best decisions for my team at Acuva from day to day.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Manoj Singh: Many UV-LED system design companies are emerging all over the world. Acuva’s intellectual property sets us apart, and our systems are recognized for their performance. We hold ourselves against the highest industry standards and carefully consider product features from the design stage through to manufacturing. We are innovators and constantly add to our patented technologies. Maintaining close relationships with our partners and providing the best UV-LED disinfection systems to our customers are the key pillars of our success.
Your final thoughts?
Manoj Singh: Acuva Technologies has come a long way since 2014. I am proud of how far we have come and excited about what’s next. From providing safe drinking water to new innovations that reduce risk in these unprecedented times, our team lives our mission to make a positive social impact. We are privileged to be in an industry that is thriving despite the challenges that many are facing during the pandemic.