Impact Goal Rush
Impact Goal Rush

Episode 11 · 1 year ago

Dan Watson - How you can catch the right fish


Dan Watson is the CEO and cofounder of SafetyNet Technologies, an award wining tech company making fishing more sustainable.

Key highlights:

  • Out of sight is out of mind.
  • Importance of using the Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for entrepreneurs.
  • Why entrepreneurs are attracted to SDGs.
  • Awareness around - SDG14 - Life below water
  • How they are taking the guess work out of fishing with precision fishing.
  • Importance of improving your luck coefficient and having co-founders
  • Advice on becoming a better entrepreneur that has nothing to do with your business, but everything to do with how you show up.

Connect with Dan Watson:

SafetyNet Technologies 


Welcome back to another episode of the Impact Goal Rush podcasts, the podcast for impact entrepreneurs. This is the podcast that aims to amplify the voices of impact entrepreneurs addressing the United Nations Global Goals, Aka the sustainable development goals. Listen in to fellow entrepreneurs in their journey in this new goal rush of making a bigger impact. Get inspired to learn how, true entrepreneurship, you can grow your impact to make the world a better place, leave a legacy and live a more meaningful life. I'm your host, wound time. In this episode I've got Dan Watson of safety net technologies, and he's a James dyson award winner won the high profile design engineering competitions. You might have heard of the term precisition agriculture, but what he's working on is what he calls precision fishing, and he's going to be talking about how he has gone about improving his luck coefficient and the importance of having co founders. On top of that, he's going to be sharing his number and advice on being a better entrepreneur. And it's got nothing to do with your business but everything to do with how... show up. So listen in to this episode before I jump into today's episode. So if you haven't listened to the previous episode, we've had Kiran Goss of goal tiny dotcom. It's such a fascinating episode and he talks about the number one mistake that most impact entrepreneurs make when starting out. Is a super fun episode where he talks about the tiny house movement. So if you've not listened to that, that is episode number ten. Go check it out. Welcome to the show. Then, why should more entrepreneurs be inpact driven in align themselves with the sustainable development goals? So I great question and thanks for having me ring the I think the impact girls are really interesting and the the development goals in particular, because these are identifying where there are massive problems in the world and normally when there's a problem there's an opportunity, and if it's a global problem, that means as a massive opportunity which, if you're a business person looking for something to solve, then should really get you fired up and interested, because the scalability of this thing and like the number of potential customers you have across all different levels of interesting areas like government or industry...

...or even the sort of the population of the world should be really inspiring in terms of trying to solve it, because if you get it right, then the opportunity for your market and your business is absolutely vast and you're helping the planet, you're helping future society to live better, and one of the things that you do is that you you actually solving a particular set of problems that are that not many people are aware of, but also, I think they'll puchase absolutely massive. So could you tell us a bit more about safety net technologies? What do you do and wish you know development goals are you addressing? Absolutely so. Yeah, you're right, so that there's a phrase about out of sight is out of mind, and the ocean, which is where we tend to work with our technology, is very much out of signed site for a lot of people and therefore isn't always at the top of the priority list. And so we've heard about things like the the green deal or the green revolution, build back better, and I'm in it always tends to be quite green focused and there's this big element of blue, which is the largest part of our planet, which tends to be skipped. And so the stegies...

...that we're working on a sort of their numbers two, eight, hundred and twelve and fourteen. Fourteen is our primary focus, that's preserving life underwater and and using it responsibly, and the way that we do that is that we help the commercial fishing sector to fish more sustainably, because at the moment the way the fishing is done can be really unselective and unsustainable because you can catch the wrong types of fish, which means you can affect by a diversity which has a big knock on effect for the ocean environment. And we help fishing crews now are catch more selectively and therefore it minimizes the impact that they have on the ocean space. And I know you've got an amazing piece of technology and I've known you for some time and will sort of a bas in the see Cole working speed for a while and you know like you have something that is super, super fascinating. Could you share how it works and you know, how did you actually got started? And I think people who are wondering you know what is safety net technologies? Yeah, thanks. So, so we build a device called Pisces and this is a piece of technology that emits light in different wavelengths, so sort of colors, different frequencies, sort of...

...different flashing rates, different brightnesses, and this is based on the fact that different fish species and other animals that live in the ocean space will respond to light in very different ways. So some might be attracted towards it, some might be scared away or repelled and others can just see different types of light that other ones can't. So when you're talking about fishing nets or catching fish in general, we have a large element of what we do is around how fish behavior happens, right. So so what are the fish going to do if you show them the stimulus like light? So by putting Pisces into the nets in the right places, we can almost create like emergency escape signs for the species that we don't want to be there, while still catching the species that we do want that, let's say the fishermen have license or quoted to catch. So it's completely legal and its in line of scientific practices. So we can help those other fish escape so they're not caught by mistake during that fishing process and we can keep feeding a large percentage of the world population that relies on fish. The story behind it is that it came from a scientific paper that was written by a guy up in Scotland who had a tank full of fish and one day had a flashlight with him and started shining this flashlight... the fish and so that some fish would swim away from it and others were completely not bothered and others would swim towards it. So he wrote this up in a paper in the the S and put it in a library. How they having published it? And then, forty years later, I came along to do a research project at my university as an undergraduate and, having looked through a bunch of different ways that fish could be affected to make them want to do anything, really saw this light paper and thought it look really interesting and how could we use this to solve what was emerging as a problem at the time, which was around half fish were being caught non selectively and unsustainably? I think a lot of people who are listening could have some ideal or some sort of inklinged it. There they're sitting on something that is huge, potentire and you you've took this idea in. And when from? I guess, sort of me so paper into prototype, into funding it, into sort of getting all sorts of grunts and reading a lot of awards for for this piece of technology. So could you share your journey and you know what's...

...what's been, I guess, some of the highlights and instead of stumbling blocks that you had to come across. So, just as a quick break, if you're listening to this and you're enjoying this episode, please make sure you subscribe to this podcast, whether it's Epi podcast or spotify or whatever that you're using, so that you get new episodes every week. So I also like to quickly mention the sponsor of this podcast. Well, there isn't one there. This podcast is actually produced by podcast publishing, which is my business. At podcast publishing we help impact entrepreneurs set up and launch your podcast. For you, who's listening here, I would like to thank you because we have committed to for every episode that you're listening to, we have been giving away education to churing with hearing in payment, and so thank you very much for listening to this episode and helping us create a bigger impact. And so now back to the conversation. So it started really small. It really started this...

...master's project and I had one year to go and identify problem in this case fishing, and then look for a solution that in the first year I could start to make a prototype and see how close I could get outlining a solution. And so that was loads of research. That was spending time on fishing vessels, it was talking to scientists understanding what was out there in the fishing world that really was the problem and what was the cause of it. And so for me as a mechanical engineering student, the big outcome was like, okay, I got to build some models that showed kind of what I wanted to do and show a body of research that supported this as an approach to solving something. So I finish that and went off to carry on my education at a different course, and then during that time I won the James Dyson a would in two thousand and twelve. So this is taken a while, by the way. This is taken about ten years so far of my life. It's been quite a commitment. But the James Dycen, or what it did was it really just like massively blew up the whole thing. Right. So these guys had amazing media connections. It got into the Guardian in The New York Times, a lot of other media outlets, and I would say that is like definitely one of the biggest things that I would suggest that anyone trying to solve a problem like this is just tell everyone you can what you're...

...trying to do, basically, like through podcasts like this one, which will go out to people who who are more aligned with what you're looking for, to people who would never even thought that this is a problem that needs solving, but actually probably have a part to play in it that they didn't realize that they could help with. So this whole thing about raising your luck coefficient, right. So if you have an idea and you keep it to yourself, then you know about it and that's great, and you can work a hundred percent your entire life and only get so far. But if you raise your luck cofish and by telling loads of people about it, then the chance that someone hears about it who can actually open this big door for you that you've been struggling with in whatever area, whether it's money or access to vessels or access to knowledge or people, is massively raised, and so it hugely raises the chance that you might be successful with this. So each step along the way with this project, what I've tried to do is raise that luck coefficient, like as many people who are able to help as possible knowing about it. You know, one of the things that you are actively solving is addressing fishing and making it more sustainable. Like what is the big impact that...'re you're trying to have on this world? So, yeah, our goal is really more encapsulated now by a term called precision fishing, which is a bit like position agriculture, but in fishing. And it's not something that's really happened so far and and it was coined really well by one of our customers the other day when they said you're trying to take the guesswork out of fishing, which is true, like a lot of the time things go into the water, like nets and stuff, and they pull stuff out and they don't necessarily know what's going to come out and that makes it really hard to manage the the ecosystem in the ocean. And so we're trying to remove that doubt so that we have an ocean that can thrive together with humanity but continue to add food security to people's lives. Love that precision fishing neighborhood of that cool. Obviously it's been a long journey for you. Like what would you say have been one of the biggest challenges for you in how did you overcome it? So I think a big problem has been lack of awareness around the ocean space in general. I mentioned this before, but essentially it is out of people, many people's minds, what happens in the ocean. Actually it's very...

...under explored as an area. We know more about the surface of the moon than we do about our own planets. Ocean service seed bed and that's a big barrier. So things like investment funds, investors in general, they're not really looking at this area to invest in. It's very risky to most people because they don't know much about it. And so coming through this whole journey, having to win prizes and stuff to bootstrap the company to keep it going till the time when this education spread a little further, has meant that we have now been able to raise a seed round of investment. We're looking to raise more money at the moment and there are emerging investors now there are people who actually looking at this area to try and solve problems and they see that there's a return. But that wasn't always the case, and so actually trying to get people involved during this whole process has made a lot of work for a company that, if we've been working in another sector, might not have been so much to do. You've been through this process a number of times in terms of fundraising rate. So what's the one advice you'd give a budding entrepreneur who's going through this funding process in pitching and you know, what would... say to them? I think one of the biggest things is just don't do it alone. So I'm I think having co founders is such a brilliant thing because the ability to split out those responsibilities with people you trust also to pick each other up when it gets really hard, when you walk out of an investigating and they've just tort need to shreds, because it can be very easy for someone to give you a lot of criticism if that's within their job, and then you walk out of there and if there's no one around to help you get through that, it can be incredibly difficult. I think the other piece of advice when you're like raising money is going prepared, like we did our first round and knew a little bit of out of investing, but made some really stupid mistakes that could have been avoided with a bit of mentorship and a bit of reading. And so, yeah, a little bit of preparation will go a long way in those conversations with people. I loved it. I mean it really feels like entrepreneurship is all about like having a team in it's all but a team work activity. So then, any other advise you'd leave to our audience? Yeah, I usually. So usually have a list of like eleven things and the end of any presentation I gues. I'm not going to do them all now, but I think these are the things...

...that you pick up over your time doing this stuff. Right, there's a couple of big ones, like the one about raising your luck coefficient. Is like just tell people, because for some people opening particular doors is incredibly straightforward and for you it might seem impossible. And as part of that it's being honest in terms of like what you're doing. So being honest with people because if you really relate the actual challenges you're facing, that may seem completely insamountable to you, to someone else they can be like, I've done this fifty times, don't worry, we'll get you through this or whatever, but you have to tell them because if they don't know, then they're going to give you answers that don't match your actual need. So that's really difficult. But there are really, really big one is, if you're working in the impact space, you're already doing a bloody hard job. Like you, you're sacrificing potentially higher salary, Higher Inc or whatever to work in the space because you believe in something you're doing and your drive is a thing that keeps are going in the early days. So the really, really important piece of advices look after yourself, like if you can't work on this because you're too tired or because you feel unloved or because you just you just can't do it anymore, it's not going to go anywhere, because you're probably the person who's got the idea. You're running with, you're making this happen, you're the hustler right,...'re making this everything survived. And if you are looking after yourself and you don't have the energy to do that, the thing dies with you and that means it never get solved or it gets massively delayed. So look after this ALP and make sure you're able to do the thing that you want to do awesome. For people who want to reach out to you. What's the best way to get hold of you? You can get hold of me through twitter and there's lots of time. whatsince bym the NW one hundred and seven zero. You can email me directly, like email through the website. Like honestly happy to chat with anyone who's in impact lesson doing stuff are awesome. Thank you very much for your time and sharing your expertise. Thanks vern, that's been really fun. Thank you for listening to this episode of Impecto Rush Dead was then, Watson, we love to hear from you. What's been your biggest takeaway from this episode? So do drop us a comment on facebook, linkedin or instagram. I love to hear your feed, but we really appreciate it. And in the next episode I'll be speaking with Kathleen Hamilton, who is the hite of product Geniusu, where she'll be talking about the education...

...teche platform for inpact contreprenurs and, as an experience digital no meat, she shares her journey in helping entrepreneurs to be purposeful and how to embrace remote working, as well sharing her number one advice on starting out as an impact entrepreneur. It's something that is an obvious but where most people get stuck. So tuning in for next week's episode. This is in pect go rush. My name is winton. Thank you for listening.

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