Seyed Nourbakhsh lovingly holds his pool-cleaning device

Photo Courtesy Seyed Nourbakhsh

Ryerson grad wins US$500,000 for pool-cleaning device

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By Michelle Song

Seyed Nourbakhsh, a chemical engineering graduate from Ryerson University, won US$500,000  at business competition 43North, for his company, Formarum.

Nourbakhsh, CEO and founder of Formarum, will be able to use the cash prize from the 43North startup competition, to help launch his company’s self-powered automatic swimming pool system. The startup will also be get training and workspace in Buffalo for a year along with the prize money.

“It’s a great, great opportunity. 43North is basically a very economical way of raising that capital … and we get mentorship, we get incubation for a year. So there were a lot of advantages,” he said.

Formarum’s device automatically monitors and adjusts chlorine in pools, so users don’t have  to add chlorine separately. More than 90 per cent of people purchase chlorine and add it to their pools, Nourbakhsh stated.

“It’s saving time. It’s saving a lot of money. And it’s making swimming pools a lot more convenient,” he said.

Nourbakhsh  came up with the idea for the product during his co-op placement at a swimming pool equipment company in Burlington. Nourbakhsh saw an opportunity for improvement and developed the pool system. Formarum was established in 2013.

The business is now looking to utilize its winnings to gain a Health Canada registration and to begin production of the system by the end of next year. Long-term, the company is  looking to push its core technology, a small and efficient hydro turbine, into other markets.

“There is tremendous room for devices that are self-powered in the chemical processing industries and there is also room for green power generation,” said Nourbakhsh.

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