Mike Skinner has had a hectic 12 months.
The Peterborough, Ontario entrepreneur lost a close Federal election in November 2019, representing the Conservative Party of Canada, left the Innovation Cluster as President & CEO and became the CEO of Rainmaker Worldwide in January 2020.
Previously, Skinner was the Chief Strategy Officer at Rainmaker from 2015 to 2017, and was instrumental in building Rainmaker’s international distribution channel. He rejoined Rainmaker to lead the company through its next phase of growth.
Rainmaker has two products:
1. Air-to-Water technology: Producing water out of air, a product that’s direly needed, especially around the equator.
2. Water-to-Water technology: Transforming contaminated water (saltwater, sewage, polluted) into safe, clean water.
“Where our technology works best, is where it’s needed the most.”Mike Skinner, CEO of Rainmaker
Skinner is a serial entrepreneur who has built and operated over 20 companies in a variety of sectors including green energy, entertainment and technology including Operitel Corporation, a learning software development company recognized as one of Canada’s fastest growing companies. In 2011, it was acquired by OpenText Corporation, Canada’s largest software company.
Since 2016, Skinner had been CEO of the Innovation Cluster in the Canadian region of Peterborough Kawartha, recognized as one of the best regions in the country for Innovative Water Technology Start-ups by Water Canada. Additionally, Skinner is the Advisory Board Chair of the Centre for Advancement of Water and Wastewater Technologies (CAWT), an internationally recognized water and wastewater research institution.
In July 2020, Rainmaker made a flurry of announcements regarding the growth and addition of advisory board members. They announced a strategic alliance with Prism Acqua Technologies, were acquired by Sphere to transform the company to a commercial ‘Water-As-A-Service’ supplier and added CNBC’s Market Analytst Steve Grasso to the Company’s Advisory Board.
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“It’s been a bit of a roller coaster,” Skinner said from his home office in Peterborough.
“The chairman of Rainmaker asked me if I could come back (to the company) as the CEO. So I officially came back in that capacity in the middle of January 2020, very much with the objective to uplist the company and to put it in a much stronger financial position to take it to the next level.”
That was the first piece of the project Skinner said, the second piece was to change Rainmaker’s business model. He led Rainmaker to move out of a product-based company model to a Water-As-A-Service company.
“With being a Water-As-A-Service company, the benefit is that on the stock market, it has a much higher multiplier because it’s treated like a utility. But the disadvantage is you require a lot of capital,” Skinner explained. “That’s one of the reasons why we’re going through the NASDAQ process, something I’ve been working on for five months now to get the company to the point where we can be acquired by Sphere 3D Corp (ANY), which is a NASDAQ traded company.”
How this process will work is Rainmaker will roll up into ANY (An Ontario-based company) and the management team of Rainmaker will take over the management of ANY. Skinner said the team is aiming to be reporting as NASDAQ company focusing on Water-As-A-Service by mid-October.
Note: Rainmaker shareholders will receive 1/3 of a share of Sphere 3D for each whole share of Rainmaker exchanged and one-third of a warrant or option for each whole warrant or option then held by such Rainmaker shareholder. Sphere 3D’s name will change to Rainmaker Worldwide Inc., and intends to trade under the symbol ‘RAIN’.
Rainmaker recently added CNBC’s On Air Market Analyst Steve Grasso to its Advisory Board on July 15 2020.
Grasso is also the Director of Institutional Sales at Stuart Frankel & Co. Inc.. His achievements in trade has made him a recognized and respected voice across financial markets.
“It is exciting to witness Rainmaker’s innovation gain momentum as they transition from R&D to commercialization,” Grasso said in a release. “Their upcoming NASDAQ listing presents major growth opportunities for both the Company and stakeholders. I am happy to join the Advisory Board to aid in Rainmaker’s global success as a Water-as-a-Service provider.”
This is all very exciting news for the Peterborough-based water technology company. Further establishing the region as a leader in cleantech and watertech innovation in Canada.
Growth in Peterborough
Skinner said the plan is to continue to add to their Finance, Manufacturing and Sales departments in Canada.
“Rainmaker is truly going to put Peterborough on the map,” Skinner explains with confidence.
“We’re basing our operations out of Peterborough. We have a great environment with the Water Quality Centre at Trent University and the Centre for Advancement of Water and Wastewater Technologies at Fleming College,” Skinner said. “It’s a space that’s growing; everybody needs water. This is a fast-moving marketplace now and we’re seeing huge impacts due to lack of water. I’ll be honest, we can really change people’s lives and on top of that it’s a very viable business. This is a green energy company, the core of our technology is based on wind and solar. A lot of our technology and patents are built around green energy, so from an environmental point of view, it also checks a lot of the boxes for me personally as we’re making sure this planet is better for our kids.”
Skinner said his personal goal is to continue to expand their Peterborough operations but didn’t disclose how many future jobs he projects they could create locally in the next few years.
“If I was going to set up shop anywhere, I would set up in this community. We are really well positioned here in Peterborough & the Kawarthas.”