Ocean Innovators: Farzad Hashemi, Copsys Industries
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Innovacorp helps build ocean technology start-ups in Nova Scotia. We offer them access to venture capital, acceleration programs, non-dilutive funding, and incubation space at Start-Up Yard at COVE. These start-ups are helping transform our economy and protect our ocean. Get to know their amazing stories. Start with Copsys Industries and Farzad Hashemi.
Farzad Hashemi is an engineer by training but characterizes himself equally as an entrepreneur. The story of his company, Copsys Industries, is also one of engineering and entrepreneurship.
Farzad has owned a number of successful businesses throughout his career. He arrived in Canada with the intention of starting another. The idea for Farzad's next venture was found while buying a car in New Brunswick. The dealership representative offered a rust protection package that struck Farzad as less effective than the technology he had been working with for more than 25 years in Iran as a metallurgic engineer to the oil and gas sector, specializing in cathodic corrosion protection.
You could say that Copsys was started that day at the dealership. Following that experience, Farzad explored how the climate here creates corrosion and how it differs from the corrosion factors in Iran. In his research, he discovered a report from the Canadian Navy that focused on how costly and challenging corrosion prevention is as an issue for the Navy and the Crown.
That report helped Farzad decide to bring his idea for a new corrosion detection and management system into the marine industry. It became clear that the marine, oil and gas, and many other industries needed innovation in the corrosion protection space.
Farzad worked alone for almost three years in Moncton, New Brunswick, developing his technology. The technology was progressing, but he was getting frustrated. Things changed when a connection at the National Research Council mentioned that the best place to test and validate his technology was at Dalhousie University.
Fast forward two years of successful collaboration remotely with Dalhousie, and Farzad and Copsys made the move to Halifax. Proximity to researchers, the commercial port, Navy vessels, and the broader marine industry were the elements that convinced him that the right opportunity for his product to find its place in the market was in Halifax.
"I had been trying so hard to find a way into the market. It can feel almost impossible some days, and even harder for new immigrants. You have to prove that you have something to offer that can benefit the region. Once you do, I've discovered you'll have support right beside you every step of the way."
The company was selected to participate in several of Innovacorp's acceleration programs over two years, including the first cohort of Start-Up Yard at COVE and the Blue Green Innovation Challenge.
It took Farzad three and a half years to develop 20 per cent of the technology. The next 80 per cent has happened for him in just the last year, and in the midst of a pandemic. "It's completely because I knew I had supports that allowed me to focus on my work. The result has been a third patent, and a proven concept."
Great ideas come from all over. So do great companies and entrepreneurs. Farzad is passionate about what immigrants can bring to our region and wants to do everything he can to support the start-up culture in Nova Scotia.
"You need to be innovative and make sure you have something unique. And then you need business support to take you further than just the idea or the technology."
"The dream? My dream for the company? Well, developing the technology of course was a dream that has come true. Now it is to introduce this new technology to the whole world and to make Canada the leader in corrosion protection. To be able to introduce this breakthrough to the world as a Canadian would be incredible."
Learn more about Copsys Industries.
July 14, 2021, Halifax, Nova Scotia