Civil war has broken out inside a Sunshine Coast start-up that claims to have developed world-first technology aimed at stopping water waste
Civil war has broken out inside a Sunshine Coast start-up that claims to have developed world-first technology aimed at stopping water waste

Water tech company in civil war

PLUGGING LEAKS

Civil war has broken out inside a Sunshine Coast start-up that claims to have developed world-first technology aimed at stopping water waste.

The brains behind an outfit called Leakster say their innovative sonar system can detect leaks in underground pipes, providing a critical tool for the likes of farmers and water utilities.

But one of the three directors, Brisbane-based mechanical engineer Bill Smith (illustrated), has just taken legal action seeking to wind-up the company, which is based at Dicky Beach.

We couldn't reach Smith for comment on Thursday but we did learn that he's retained Toowoomba-based law firm Clifford Gouldson Lawyers.

Their consultant on the case, Ken Philp, just happens to specialise in intellectual property disputes. He didn't return a call seeking comment.

Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

One of the other two founders, Sara Richardson, declined to discuss the matter when City Beat rang for a chat and we couldn't contact her fellow director, Carl Buckeridge.

The pair both previously worked at bean counters EY in Brisbane before starting the business in 2018.

Interestingly, Buckeridge, who has a background in programming and electrical engineering, describes himself on LinkedIn as a "problem solving story teller''.

Records show that private equity interests have tipped in a bit of seed capital to the business, including Artesian Clean Energy and Arc Accelerator.

It's understood the legal battle revolves around a patent-pending device called "the ALIVE sensor,'' which travels through piping.

Ken Philp
Ken Philp

The firm has been developing and trialling the technology, which has a range of about 1km and an accuracy of less than half a metre. Crucially, it can be deployed without having to shut off the water supply.

Once the hardware has detected a leak, it sends data back via the cloud to operators using algorithm-driven software developed by the company. Pretty nifty stuff!

No doubt there's a crying need for the troubleshooting capability. Studies suggest that by 2050 about a quarter of the world's population could be impacted by water shortages and related stress factors.

According to the International Water Association (yes, that's a thing), losses from bursts, leaks and theft account for between a quarter and half of the world's total supply.

STOCK SURGE

Tom Cregan is loving it.

The boss of Brisbane-based EML Payments has enjoyed a $17m jump in the value of his stock holding in the business this week.

Cregan, who is among the top five biggest shareholders in the digital banking group, is now controlling a portfolio of nearly 18.5 million shares worth $95m.

Tom Cregan
Tom Cregan

The share price continued to head north on Thursday, closing at a 12-month high of $5.14 thanks to the release of half-year results with an especially bullish outlook for the remainder of 2021.

EML, which also provides prepaid cards and digital gift cards in 28 countries, forecast a surge of as much as 66 per cent in pre-tax earnings to between $50m and $54m.

It tipped net profit to reach between $30m and $33.5m, up 25 to 40 per cent.

In the six months to December, the company's gross debit volume spiked 54 per cent to a record $10.2bn and revenue soared 61 per cent to $95.3m.

Originally published as Water tech company in civil war


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