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Serial Entrepreneur: HP Michelet (Part 1)

Posted on Thursday, Feb 8th 2007

Next in our serial entrepreneur series is a fascinating interview with Norwegian entrepreneur, HP Michelet, who is Executive Chairman of Energy Recovery Inc, known more commonly as ERI. As you would expect, HP is a serial entrepreneur, involved with 8 different businesses from software to cleantech to – hold your breath – a cod farm, however in this interview we focus on his efforts and experiences with ERI. This interview provides insight into the process of starting a company from the viewpoint of a venture capitalist, who later on became hands-on under situational demands. In part 1 HP provides an overview of ERI.

SM: HP, I want to start with asking you about ERI in your own words. ERI is one of your eight different ventures, right? HP: Yeah … whether it’s eight I don’t know, but I will tell you about ERI. ERI is the world’s leading manufacturer of energy recovery devices. Our core innovation is a ceramic pressure exchanger called the PX. We can go into more detail about what specifically it is. But, the company as such, we have close to 50 employees all around the world and we will be close to 60 by the end of this year.

As to the numbers we are a privately held company, but, we should see revenues to the tune of at least 40 million dollars this year. So we are de facto doubling the revenues from 2006 to 2007 and going forward we have a pretty clear visibility of looking at 100 million dollars in about two years time.

SM: Great! And where are your customers? HP: We sell our product directly to our customers all around the world and we have just opened an office in Shanghai. We have a big set up in Madrid, Spain. We also have an office in Oman.

SM: What is the energy recovery Business HP? HP: The energy recovery business today is we are into the desalination industry, meaning converting seawater to fresh water. This is historically a very energy intensive process. And what our device does is it recuperates up to 98% of the energy of the brine or the rejected high pressure stream and circles this energy back into the loop. But the practical consequence of this is that we de facto reduce the energy consumption of converting seawater to fresh water by two thirds. Amazing economics: today, it costs $6-8 to desalinize one gallon of sea water and turn it into drinkable water; with this technology, one is able to do this for 80c.

[Part 11]
[Part 10]
[Part 9]
[Part 8]
[Part 7]
[Part 6]
[Part 5]
[Part 4]
[Part 3]
[Part 2]
[Part 1]

This segment is part 1 in the series : Serial Entrepreneur: HP Michelet
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Nice article. Please run more such.
Looking forward to read about HP’s the software and cod farm ventures as well.

Vasudev Ram

Vasudev Ram Friday, February 9, 2007 at 12:55 PM PT

[…] [Part 1] […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Serial Entrepreneur: HP Michelet (Part 2) Saturday, February 10, 2007 at 7:57 AM PT

[…] [Part 2] [Part 1] […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Serial Entrepreneur: HP Michelet (Part 3) Monday, February 12, 2007 at 6:14 AM PT

[…] [Part 4] [Part 3] [Part 2] [Part 1] […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Serial Entrepreneur: HP Michelet (Part 5) Friday, February 16, 2007 at 8:49 AM PT

[…] [Part 10] [Part 9] [Part 8] [Part 7] [Part 6] [Part 5] [Part 4] [Part 3] [Part 2] [Part 1] […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » Serial Entreprenuer: HP Michelet (Part 11) Thursday, February 22, 2007 at 8:32 AM PT

[…] can read the Executive Chairman, HP Michelet’s interview here, and judge for yourself: [Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] [Part 6] [Part 7] [Part 8] [Part 9] [Part 10] [Part […]

Sramana Mitra on Strategy » Blog Archive » GE’s Big Bet: Water Desalination Friday, February 23, 2007 at 8:50 AM PT

[…] scale to support its drinkable water needs. [See one of my favorite young companies in this field, Energy Recovery, that works closely with […]

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[…] HP Michelet, Chairman of Water Desalination Company, ERI […]

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[…] did an earlier story on ERI, a water desalination company, which took 21 years to build, and the company made numerous mistakes, almost went out of business […]

Lessons for CleanTech Entrepreneurs: Raychem CEO Paul Cook (Part 1) - Sramana Mitra on Strategy Friday, August 10, 2007 at 7:46 AM PT

[…] in the current issue. The Sea Water Reverse Osmosis technique that it discusses has been discussed here and on Forbes (Read Hydro-Alchemy) by me before in the context of Energy Recovery, Inc. which is […]

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[…] An interview with the Chairman HP Michelet conducted last year on is a great one. (highly recommend reading the entire […]

understanding the psychology of behavior » Blog Archive » ERII… looks really good Monday, July 7, 2008 at 6:04 AM PT

[…] ERII has had quite a roller-coaster ride so far. The company would not have survived traditional VC funding models and has come so far only thanks to private investors, who put an estimated $24 million in the 15-year project. You can read about their exciting journey to success in my earlier interview with their executive chairman, HP Michelet. […]

Energy Recovery Shakes Up Dead IPO Market - Sramana Mitra on Strategy Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at 11:43 AM PT

[…] the stock, and would heartily encourage you to use this as a buying opportunity. The company has a very strong product, leadership and market potential. As I discuss in a Vision India 2020 post, desalination technology is an energy-efficient way to […]

Buying Opportunity With ERI - Sramana Mitra on Strategy Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 8:59 AM PT