It’s not unusual for entrepreneurs to attend educational and networking events to help promote their startup, but most of them won’t get to attend a global event with representatives from more than 140 countries in the Netherlands.

That was the unique experience that Andrew Schevets, Founder and Lead Engineer, of Amorphic Tech Ltd. had earlier this month when he attended the Global Entrepreneurial Summit in The Hague. Schevets was invited to attend the two-day conference by the U.S. Department of State, which also sponsored his trip. Amorphic Tech is an engineering and prototyping company specializing in water systems and fluid dynamics.

Andrew Schevets of Amorphic Tech Ltd.

The conference

According to the GES conference web site, “1,200 handpicked entrepreneurs will engage with 300+ investors representing 100s of billions of dollars, as well as top policymakers, corporate partners and thought leaders to accelerate solutions.” Focus sectors included agriculture/food, connectivity, energy, health, and water, the last of which is Amorphic Tech’s focal point.

“It was an extremely well done, organized event, with all ages and demographics represented,” said Schevets. “Within moments of arriving I met someone from Texas who is innovating with inland brackish water purification. On a late night, I spoke with the CEO of a company implementing sustainable solar-powered potable water systems in Haiti, where energy consumption is a key issue. I met folks from Chile and India who are dealing with water for agricultural systems and supporting challenged communities. There was rapid-fire networking going on, and all to make strides towards admirable goals.”

Through reviewing both humanitarian crises and global business cases, the need for Schevets’ technology is evident. “While the world is in serious need of potable water, there are freshwater systems all over the world wasting usable energy. We want to make recovering this waste so affordable that not a single stroke is lost.” As water purification has high energy demands, reducing energy consumption is a critical concern for companies, municipalities, and countries.

While at the conference, he attended water sector events including a report on the global water crisis. He also spoke with representatives from DOW Chemical, Heineken, Shell, and Coca-Cola on the issue of water sustainability.

“The entire experience was extremely inspiring,” Schevets said. “It was great to meet my peers and see what water systems they are developing in a range of areas including agriculture, healthcare, and developing countries.”

Getting There

Earlier in his career, Schevets developed expertise in rotating machinery and large-scale water plants through working at a global pump and valve manufacturer. Later, after founding Amorphic Tech, he developed and patented a device which can reduce the energy consumption of water purification systems by 20% or more. According to Schevets, this machine can have serious implications. “We estimate that in just three water sectors in the US alone, we are throwing away $157 million per year in wasted energy costs. We can put that back in the pockets of the process owners.”

Working towards this goal, some local partnerships have helped his business blossom. Dr. Arup Sengupta, a professor at Lehigh University and mentor to Schevets, played a key role in meaningful collaborations and connecting him to the U.S. Department of Interior. Through attending events and giving presentations, Schevets had associated with a national laboratory which earned him the invitation through the Department of State.

Tom Martorelli of Amorphic Tech Ltd. takes measurements.

Growing the company at Bridgeworks

Amorphic Tech operates out of the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center in Allentown where it is a client in the business incubation program. It became a pre-incubation client in February 2015, and in March 2017 officially became an incubation client. Since then it has grown from a 540 sq. ft. space to over 2,740 sq. ft. of space as it acquires more and larger equipment to meet the growing needs of its clients. Its in-house tools range from CAD software suites to heavy duty manufacturing equipment including several CNC mills, CNC lathes, 3D printer, and welding equipment. “We love making things and can readily produce a wide range of industrial equipment,” Schevets states.

He currently leads a team of four which requires him to be hands-on daily due to its small size.  They are currently working on their largest project yet, designing and building a test system for a client, which moves 3,000 gallons of water per minute. Dr. Mike German, an expert in water chemistry and Lehigh graduate under Dr. Arup Sengupta’s guidance, has been pivotal in helping the company reach its goals. “Dr. German has been amazing. His global expertise in water treatment systems and desire to make a difference has been an invaluable resource for us. The numerous hours he has spent in consultation and grant writing has produced a very measurable impact for us.”

What’s next

Now that Schevets has been home for a few weeks, it’s time to begin following up with the business owners and investors that he met at the conference.

“Emails are already coming in from people I met,” he said. The timing of the conference was tricky as it coincided with tight deadlines on some very big builds, which have been the focus of his time since returning home.

Moving forward Schevets is also considering grant applications for programs like developing a handheld personal water desalination device for under $20 per unit. Other grants of interest included the U.S. Air Force’s open SBIR and the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation Desalination and Water Purification Research program.

While the experience of international networking at GES was priceless for him, Schevets is also interested in making more connections regionally with individuals and businesses looking to invest, partner, or pilot his technology. “The economic landscape of the Lehigh Valley has been a healthy and helpful atmosphere to grow a business. We look forward to leveraging our roots to move our technology into the global marketplace.”