$450K/Month- Building a nanotechnology-based liquid repellent spray company – David Zamarin of DetraPel
INTERVIEW VIDEO (Length – 56:16)
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David Zamarin, the founder of DetraPel, shares the story of building a nanotechnology-based liquid repellent spray company as a young entrepreneur without having a formal education or experience in the chemical industry. Zamarin discusses the importance of thinking from first principles, learning from mentors, and building the right team to create businesses that solve significant problems.
David Zamarin, the founder of DetraPel, a nanotechnology-based liquid repellent spray company, shares his entrepreneurial journey in this video. He started the business at 15 years old after participating in a youth entrepreneurship program. Initially, he wanted to create a film for shoes, but mentors advised him to pivot to a shoe cleaning business. After running a successful shoe cleaning business for six months, he realized it wasn’t scalable and shifted his focus to nanotechnology-based repellent products, eventually founding DetraPel. Zamarin discusses the importance of problem-solving, learning from mentors, and building the right team. He emphasizes the difference between convenience businesses and those that provide solutions to significant problems. Zamarin also highlights the value of mentorship, starting small, and having the right attitude and dedication. He shares his motivation for making a grand impact and changing the world, particularly in the chemical industry. Zamarin encourages young people to start pursuing their goals and dreams early, taking advantage of their youth and the freedom it provides.
- 00:00:00 In this section, the interviewer introduces David Zamarin, the founder of DetraPel, a company that uses nanotechnology to create liquid repellent sprays. David shares that he started this business when he was just 15 years old and came up with the idea after participating in a youth entrepreneurship program. Initially, he wanted to create a film that could be peeled off shoes to keep them clean, but his mentors advised him to pivot the idea into a shoe cleaning business. He ran a successful shoe cleaning business for about six months before realizing that it wasn’t scalable. He then researched nanotechnology-based repellent products and developed the idea for DetraPel.
- 00:05:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the learning curve and the importance of starting a business with a problem to solve. They mention the misconception of needing to be an expert in a field before starting a business, and instead advocate for using a first principles thinking approach, similar to Elon Musk. The speaker shares their own experience of starting a nanotechnology business without any prior knowledge in chemistry. They talk about taking classes and shadowing a researcher to learn about nanotechnology and eventually developing their own prototype product. They also mention the challenges they faced in scaling and the breakthroughs they made when hiring the right people. The speaker highlights the expansion of their team, including a chemical engineer and a consultant who eventually became their CTO, and emphasizes that their business is more than just textiles. The speaker attributes their drive for education to their upbringing and the push from their immigrant parents. They also mention attending a competitive magnet school that helped shape their entrepreneurial journey.
- 00:10:00 In this section, the speaker discusses their journey in becoming an entrepreneur and their passion for business. They mention their involvement in extracurricular activities and their early experiences in making money through entrepreneurial endeavors. They also talk about their interest in education and the theme of taking classes throughout their life. They further discuss their research in nanotechnology, clarifying that it was personal research conducted outside of the school campus, with no conflict regarding intellectual property. They mention their concerns about IP rights and their decision not to physically work on campus to avoid any ownership issues. The speaker goes on to explain their product, which falls under the Dutch repel umbrella, and how it differs from other sprays available on platforms like Amazon. They highlight their focus on performance and sustainability, emphasizing their goal of being the industry leader in performance while also being environmentally friendly.
- 00:15:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the rise of PFAS chemicals, which have become a regulatory and litigation issue due to their carcinogenic and problematic nature. They mention a class action lawsuit against Dupont that resulted in a settlement of over five billion dollars, leading to more litigation in the industry. The speaker goes on to highlight their company’s commitment to being PFAS and fluorine-free, positioning themselves as the first and only ones to make this claim. However, they acknowledge that until regulatory tailwinds catch up with companies, there may not be much inclination for companies to prioritize greener alternatives, as they often come with higher costs and potentially poorer performance. The speaker also emphasizes their focus on performance as a premium product in the market. In terms of performance, they give an example of their coatings lasting a guaranteed minimum of seven days on paper products compared to the leading industry coating that lasts only 30 to 45 minutes. This exponential increase in performance results in a significant improvement in the resistance to oils and stains, ultimately enhancing the customer experience.
- 00:20:00 In this section, Davad Zamarin talks about how he initially focused on the industrial market but had to start a consumer business to sustain the company. He shares that their goal has always been to penetrate the industry and make deals. They started with both e-commerce and retail, but over time, their focus shifted more towards e-commerce. As for manufacturing, Davad mentions that they have evolved from filling bottles by hand in a small basement to now being the world’s largest manufacturer of pressurized containers. They have invested in becoming vertically integrated, handling everything from R&D to distribution internally. They have automated their processes and are planning to move to a larger facility in the future. Davad believes that this approach of consolidation and vertical integration is crucial for sustainable growth.
- 00:25:00 In this section, Davad Zamarin discusses the difference between being a business owner and an entrepreneur. He emphasizes that entrepreneurs solve real problems with global scalability, while business owners primarily focus on selling products or services. While there is nothing wrong with running a business, in order to become a household name or a billion-dollar company, one must solve significant problems that require technical expertise. Zamarin also mentions that technical knowledge is not a prerequisite for being an entrepreneur, but rather the ability to find and align with the right team to scale the business. Ultimately, being an entrepreneur means being a problem solver and working on solving problems that hinder growth.
- 00:30:00 In this section, the speaker emphasizes the difference between selling a convenience and providing a solution to a problem. They explain that simply selling a product does not necessarily solve an issue that individuals may be facing, whereas a solution is something that brings about a significant change in how something functions or behaves. They use the example of coatings for paper and textiles, highlighting that without the appropriate chemical resistance, these materials would not perform as intended. The speaker emphasizes the importance of being able to solve problems in order to use certain goods effectively, distinguishing this position from being a convenient mechanism for customers’ desires. They note that while there is nothing wrong with convenient businesses, those seeking to go further and create large companies need to focus on providing solutions that set them apart. The speaker acknowledges that not everyone has the same aspirations, and there is value in lifestyle businesses that provide consistent cash flow. They then discuss their role as an entrepreneur, which involves creating shareholder value, bringing the product to market, developing the business, and growing the right team. They highlight the challenges of being hands-on and strategic while also being involved in technical aspects of the company. Despite these challenges, they acknowledge that it is part of a founder’s job to put out fires and be involved in various aspects of the business.
- 00:35:00 In this section, the speaker talks about the importance of mentorship in business and personal growth. He believes that having mentors for specific areas of life is crucial and that finding the right people to help along the way is key. He also mentions that there are resources available, such as books and online platforms, that can be helpful in learning new things. The speaker emphasizes the need to build relationships and network with others to find mentors, and he mentions that he personally doesn’t believe in paid mentorship, as true mentors are those who choose to mentor out of genuine interest or belief in the mentee. Overall, he highlights the value of mentorship in guiding individuals on their journey to success.
- 00:40:00 In this section, the speaker emphasizes the importance of starting small and finding mentors who can provide value. They recommend reaching out to mentors digitally and offering assistance to build relationships. The speaker shares their experience with Mark Cuban and Shark Tank, mentioning that a mistake led to them not closing a deal but still benefiting from the publicity. They also discuss their team, which is currently about 17 members and looking to expand to 20 by the end of the year. When hiring, the speaker prioritizes finding the right fit and quickly letting go of those who don’t meet expectations.
- 00:45:00 In this section, the speaker emphasizes the importance of having the right attitude and dedication to the job, as well as the need to continuously progress and meet goals in order to move the company forward. They mention that their small team operates at a fast pace and cannot afford to fall behind, which is why they have no problem letting go of someone who is not the right fit. Despite working long hours, the speaker states that they love what they do and view it as a way to be ahead in their field. They also mention that money is not the main driving factor, but rather the desire to make a difference and be the best version of themselves. Money is seen as a result of their hard work and determination.
- 00:50:00 In this section, the speaker discusses their motivation and drive for making a grand impact and changing the world. They express their passion for making a change for their family, future generations, and individuals with similar stories of coming from nothing. The speaker also mentions their desire for freedom and the ability to make an impact in their own way, whenever and wherever they want. They emphasize the importance of never giving up and recommend the book “Never Finish” by David Goggins. They express excitement about the potential of artificial intelligence but also highlight their own work in the chemical industry, which has the potential to redefine the industry and eliminate carcinogenic chemistries. As for a productivity tip, the speaker suggests using a calendar, task list, and priority list to stay organized and ensure everything is written down. Finally, the best business advice they would give is that it’s never too early or too late to start, but starting sooner is always better.
- 00:55:00 In this section, David Zamarin talks about the advantages of starting early in pursuing one’s goals and dreams. He emphasizes that starting at a young age allows individuals to have fewer responsibilities and expenses, which enables them to push themselves and learn from failures without significant consequences. David also stresses the importance of viewing failures as learning opportunities. Overall, he encourages young people to take advantage of their youth and use it as a time to work hard and lay the foundation for future success.
People & Resources Mentioned in the Episode
- Artificial Intelligence
Book: Never Finished: Unshackle Your Mind and Win the War Within by David Goggins
What You’ll Learn
Interview with David Zamarin of DetraPel
|[00:00:08] Introduction to Trep Talks and guest David Zamarin|
|[00:01:01] Sushant Misra’s appreciation and introduction of David Zamarin|
|[00:01:09] David Zamarin’s entrepreneurial journey and the inception of DetraPel|
|[00:03:24] Initial success and challenges of the shoe cleaning business|
|[00:04:32] Transitioning to nanotechnology and the birth of the film idea|
|[00:05:31] Starting a business based on first principles thinking|
|[00:06:11] Development process and overcoming R&D challenges|
|[00:08:00] Expanding the team and breakthroughs in nanotechnology|
|[00:09:00] Balancing education and entrepreneurship|
|[00:10:00] Intellectual property and the uniqueness of the product|
|[00:11:36] Introduction and personal research outside of campus|
|[00:12:00] No conflict from the beginning|
|[00:12:11] Concerns about IP and incubator/accelerator programs|
|[00:12:36] Publicly available information and learning about technology|
|[00:13:00] Personal experience with using sprays on leather shoes|
|[00:13:24] Differentiating DetraPel from other sprays on the market|
|[00:14:00] DetraPel’s focus on performance and sustainability|
|[00:15:00] Addressing concerns about PFAS chemicals|
|[00:16:00] DetraPel as the premium product in the market|
|[00:17:00] DetraPel’s performance compared to competitors|
|[00:25:19] Expanding on the Difference between Business Owners and Entrepreneurs|
|[00:27:46] Facilitating Entrepreneurship|
|[00:33:24] David Zamarin’s Role as an Entrepreneur|
|[00:35:09] Learning and Growing as a Business Owner|
|[00:37:34] Importance of Mentorship in Entrepreneurship|
|[00:25:42] The Fundamental Difference: Solving Real Problems|
|[00:27:23] The Loneliness and Potential Impact of Entrepreneurship|
|[00:32:31] Lifestyle Businesses versus Entrepreneurship|
|[00:33:01] David Zamarin’s Primary Goals as an Entrepreneur|
|[00:35:56] Learning from Mentors and Other Resources|
|[00:38:09] Mentoring Philosophy: Not Doing Paid Mentoring|
|[00:38:29] Difference Between Mentor, Advisor, and Coach|
|[00:39:00] Building Relationships: Networking and Mentorship|
|[00:39:48] Starting Small and Finding Realistic Mentors|
|[00:40:34] Bringing Value to Mentors|
|[00:41:27] Shark Tank Experience and Mark Cuban’s Influence|
|[00:42:33] Acceptance on Shark Tank and Pitching Experience|
|[00:43:25] Deal with Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner|
|[00:44:18] Team Size and Hiring Philosophy|
|[00:45:59] Work Hours and Driven Mindset|
|[00:48:00] Motivation: Being the Best Version and Making an Impact|
|[00:51:00] Conclusion: Freedom and Making a Difference|
|[00:51:41] Book Recommendation for Entrepreneurs|
|[00:51:55] Excitement for Innovative Product/Idea in Business Landscape|
|[00:52:12] David Goggins’ “Never Finish” Mindset|
|[00:52:31] Impact of DetraPel’s Chemical Coatings|
|[00:53:22] Productivity Tip: Intimate Relationship with Calendar and Task List|
|[00:54:00] The Importance of Starting Early as an Entrepreneur|
|[00:54:27] Learning from Failure and Viewing it as a Lesson|
|[00:55:00] Final Business Advice: Starting Sooner is Better|
In this segment, the guest will answer a few questions quickly in one or two sentences.
David Zamarin of DetraPel
- Book recommendation that you would make to entrepreneurs or business professionals (Response: Never Finished: Unshackle Your Mind and Win the War Within by David Goggins)
- An innovative product or idea in the current e-commerce retail or tech landscape that you feel excited about (Response: Artificial Intelligence, DetraPel)
- A business or productivity tool that you would recommend (Response: Calendar with Task list)
- Another startup or business that you think is currently doing great things: (Response🙂
- A peer entrepreneur or businessperson whom you look up to or someone who inspires you (Response:)
- Best business advice you ever received (Response: Starting Sooner is Better)
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Hey, there’re entrepreneurs. My name is Sushant and welcome to Trep Talks. This is the show where I interview successful e-commerce entrepreneurs, business executives, and thought leaders, and ask them questions about their business story, and also dive deep into some of the strategies and tactics that they have used to start to grow their businesses.
And today I’m really excited to welcome David Zamarin to the show. David is the founder of DetraPel. Uses innovative nanotechnology to create liquid repellent sprays that create completely harmless, invisible barriers that protect your items. Um, usually fabric and leather belongings from damage caused by water, other liquids, and even food.
And today I’m going to ask David a few questions about his entrepreneurial journey and some of the strategies tech that he has used to start business. So David, really, really appreciate your time today, and thank you again for joining at. [00:01:00]
David Zamarin of DetraPel: Yeah. Thank you for having me.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So very interesting business and you know, you, you were just chatting and you said that you started this business when you were just 15.
I’m really, really curious and seems like it’s a, it’s a pretty, um, successful business. I mean, from, based on what I’ve read, uh, can you share a little bit about, you know, Even at that age, like what are you the sole founder? How did you get the idea and I mean, how did you get into this specific business?
David Zamarin of DetraPel: Yeah, I, I am a solo founder. Um, the idea came about as a, well, so the, it’s a funny story. So I’ve always been an entrepreneurial kid. Um, always was very entrepreneurial minded. And when I was younger, um, specifically in high school, I got involved with a youth entrepreneurship program, uh, that was held outside of my school.
And the, the program pretty much [00:02:00] taught young high schoolers or young people in general, um, that starting a business or or being an entrepreneur is all about doing problems. And so my problem, of course, is a 14 year old getting into this pro, into this program. Was, I hated getting my shoes attorney. Um, and so specifically my Jordans, because they were very expensive.
I come from a low income background. Um, so I didn’t have money to, to, you know, just constantly buy a new pair of shoes. And so I ended up, uh, coming up with this idea of a film that could be peeled off whenever it got dirty. Um, but I didn’t know anything about chemistry at the time. So my additional, like mentors that I had through the program, Recommended to me that I pivot the idea and started shoe cleaning business for local university sports teams.
I’m sorry. Actually before that, they, they recommended that I searched cleaning shoes, uh, as the business idea. And at first I was like, ah, I don’t wanna clean shoes. That’s pretty disgusting. Um, but I quickly swallowed the pride [00:03:00] and realized that there was something in that business model specifically as it related to local university sports teams.
So I ran my first real business, as I call it. When I was a 14 year old freshman in high school, um, specifically cleaning shoes for local university sports teams in the Philadelphia region, which is where I’m from. And so I ran that for about six months. Uh, that business actually ended up doing pretty well.
Um, it was making like 25 k a month at the end of it. Uh, in, in revenue and it was all profit. Cause I was the only person in the business and it was just cleaning shoes. It was just service-based, you know, hourly wage essentially, uh, was my only cost. And of course I didn’t have a wage. So, um, uh, it was a pretty interesting business model.
Um, but it wasn’t really scalable. And one of the services that we were offering, our conditioning service was a competitor product to what Detri Repel does today. Uh, except that product required a full body suit and a respirator mask to apply it, and it also ruined the color and feel of [00:04:00] fabrics. It would dry, white and hard.
And so, uh, I ended up getting, um, couple, or actually I ended up ordering a couple samples. I never arrived and it was super expensive. It was like 1600 bucks for a little court. Um, and six months into that first business, I got an opportunity to sell it. And so when I exited it out of the company, um, that summer, transitioning into my sophomore year of high school, I started researching, uh, different type of nanotechnology based, uh, repellent products as my film idea.
And so I looked at my competitors and I said, you know, a naive 14 year old at the time, so I was just asking silly questions and saying, well, if these guys could do it, Um, you know, why can’t we do it in a non-toxic way? Or why can’t there be a, a safe version of this type of product? Um, and so that’s when I learned about nano nanotechnology, polymer chemistry and, and so on and so forth.
And that’s the, the way I initially got the idea. There’s um, a couple of steps [00:05:00] that I, uh, kind of fast forwarded there, but there, there’s definitely, um, a learning curve that’s part of that.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So you started with a problem, which I guess is probably. Probably the best way to, to start a business to say, and I think, you know, um, A lot of the people kind of get into this, uh, this thought process that you must already be an expert into in something, uh, in order to start a business or something.
And what you did is kind of, you know, what is, you know what, Elon must cause kind of a first, first principles thinking, right? You start with a problem and then you try to figure out what is the best way to solve it. So you’re not, you’re not coming with any preconceptions. You’re thinking from like a plain slate.
And I think that’s probably the best way to do it. So, so, so when you came about this idea of nanotechnology, can you share a little bit more on what happened next? Like of course you had to come up with a product. Um, [00:06:00] did you work with some lab to, to, to come up with the product, uh, do some testing? Like how did you come up with like your prototype, uh, product
David Zamarin of DetraPel: to Yeah, so.
So I didn’t, I didn’t use any outside labs in the beginning. Uh, eventually we did, and then that didn’t end up working and eventually we, we made some breakthroughs when we hired, uh, the right people. Um, but before we get to hiring, I started not knowing anything about chemistry. So I was, I was a high school student, um, running, you know, the business or starting the business with an idea.
With a problem and a potential solution, not knowing how to actually make that solution comes to, to fruition. And so the process at the time really was I ended up having classes in chemistry, uh, as a high school student. And then I was also, like I said, a part-time undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania during my evening.
So I would take classes, um, as a, [00:07:00] pretty much as a, you know, regular student. But I was in high school at UPenn. And over the course of three years that I was at Penn, um, during my high school years, I took cla It took a variety of classes, but I also shadowed a researcher and her and, and her work, um, who was happened to be one of the leading researchers at the time in nanotechnology and their brand new nanotechnology center that was built like the year prior.
And so, I ended up just learning about like photo catalytic, um, Titania. That was like the, the first thing I started learning or when I was Googling, honestly, it was just all googling YouTube for a long time and it was just like, okay, well what is nanotechnology? Okay, well, what is the lotus leaf effect?
How does the Lotus Leaf effect happen? What’s the composition of a lotus leaf? So on and so forth. And just asking a million questions, um, to deduce. Some sort of basic principles. And so once we got those basic principles, I was able to come up with certain things on my own. Um, and then we got some M V P products, um, which [00:08:00] ultimately did not work when trying to scale.
And so we had a, a, a bunch of r and d challenges for nearly four years afterward. Uh, and, and, and until we were finally at a point, we, we were selling and we were profitable at that point. And so, um, What we really started to do was we started looking at expanding the team. We, our first hire, uh, related to research was a chemical engineer.
And, um, then we had, at the time it was a consultant for us who now is our, our cto, essentially our chief Research and development officer. Um, It was brilliant and, and was able to really solidify not only the, the chemistries behind it, but a, a whole platform technology that we use today that helps us create many different chemistries because we don’t just do, uh, things for textiles.
Okay. We’re much bigger than that actually.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. So, so you said that you were in high school and you were taking university classes in the evening. Yeah. Yeah. How did that work? Well, like were you, are you kind of like, um, Or [00:09:00] something like, were you
David Zamarin of DetraPel: really good? Hardly, hardly. Um, no. I mean, education was always a big focus in my family, so it was business, but, uh, education was, uh, was like the primary focus of my upbringing.
Uh, my parents are both immigrants, constantly pushing me, uh, nonstop. Um, and so especially my, my mom and my mom’s side of the family pushing me in education. And, um, I was fortunate. So the reason I got into the youth entrepreneurship program, I was the youngest kid in the program. I was the only non-senior.
The reason I even chose to do a program like that was because when I, I, I went to a middle school, uh, in Philadelphia, that was, uh, one of the best schools in the country. And it also has a high school component to it. And so it’s called, it’s called Masterman, and it’s the seventh best school in the country.
It’s a public school, a magnet school. Uh, they have to test to get it, but it’s not private. And so I was fortunate. I got into the high school. I, I was there for the middle school and reapplied for the high school and got in. Um, and like I said, it’s very, very competitive. Um, everyone around me was a literal [00:10:00] genius.
And so when I looked at everyone else, I said, well, how am I gonna be different when I apply to colleges? And so, um, The first step for me at that time was I was looking to get involved in extracurricular activities, and I had a passion for business and entrepreneurship. I had other entrepreneurial, um, tendencies and businesses.
I put in quotes as a, as a middle schooler, uh, where I made some money here and there. Um, And so I was just flipping stuff, kinda like the Michael Rubin story, if anyone’s familiar with him. Um, I was just flipping stuff as a teenager and I was making some money and, and then eventually got really passionate about entrepreneurship and what it really means to be an entrepreneur.
Um, and so I think at some point there, you know, I, I was just, I was always very educationally inclined. Um, and so yeah, I was taking classes and um, that kind of stayed as a theme throughout my entire life so far. Awesome.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So this technology that you said, you know, you, you, you, you know, you at your university, [00:11:00] you kinda shadowed this professor, uh, at her nanotechnology lab and things like that.
Some of the, the items or some of the things that you learned, like, was there ever any, um, intellectual property, uh, related stuff where, you know, Uh, was it that, you know, what you’re learning at a university, you’re kind of commercializing it? Like was there any con conflict there ever? Or this was this, this was like a completely new research that was not done anywhere else before.
There was not any similar products in the market. Um, and this was like a completely new product.
David Zamarin of DetraPel: Yeah, so it was completely new. My research was my personal research outside of campus. Outside of the school. I just happened to, when I say I shadowed, I literally like would read all of her content. Um, okay. I would talk to her, read her content, understand what she was doing.
I wasn’t like a formal, um, teacher’s assistant or anything like that. I didn’t do anything like that. Um, so there was no conflict from the beginning because I [00:12:00] never did any actual physical research on campus. Um, I just took everything from, you know, what she was doing and just learned from that, what it meant to do research in this field.
That’s what I meant by that. Um, and so, yeah, I, I mean, for me, I think I. At the time I was definitely worried about ip, so I was constantly asking about IP laws and, and how certain programs work because I was in a lot of incubator or accelerator programs as as, um, the company was starting. And so I was very critical of what the IP rights would be.
Um, fortunately for me, there really wasn’t any current plus on top of that. Well, Penn does take IP ownership, so any, almost any school will take a hundred percent, 50% ownership of the IP and license it back out to you. Um, that was a no-go for me, so I never even bothered doing any actual physical work on campus using any of the equipment or anything like that.
All I did was find publicly available [00:13:00] information and, and learned like what photo catalytic technology was, um, and how that was beneficial in certain applications. And so that’s, that’s what I did.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So, uh, my, uh, I mean, my personal under understanding of these kind of products are, you know, I, I have leather shoes and of course in living in Canada, you know, there’s snow and, and salt and all, all these things.
So I. You know, I usually buy like some of these sprays and I, you know, I never bother to look into what, what the composition is and those kinda things. So I do have these sprays that I usually spray on my leather shoes to, you know, prevent, uh, snow, snow, getting into it, and, you know, salt affecting it and so forth.
How is, how is your product different than what some of these other sprays do that one can easily find on Amazon? Um, What is different about your product? Like why, why, why the customer? Why should a customer [00:14:00] purchase your product? So,
David Zamarin of DetraPel: Well, we knew, let me back up. There are two technically three distinct brands under the Detrol umbrella.
So there’s a consumer brand which exists because we were a Shark Tank company, uh, a few years ago. But the majority of what the business does is our industrial side where we make coatings. Uh, we’re a materials company that makes coatings for industry. That’s used during the manufacturing process, either of textiles or paper and food packaging, which is my largest, uh, industry.
Um, and then other things like conformal coatings we make as well, which are coatings for PCB boards or other electronics that are used in your laptops, your iPhone, stuff like that. Um, so we make a variety of different coatings and we always lead with performance. Our number one thing is everything that we make has to be the industry leader in performance.
We just so happened to be sustainable. Second. And so the precipice of the technology, when I, when I first came up with the idea for the business in 2013, um, we wanted to be [00:15:00] obviously very safe, non-toxic, so on and so forth. And at the time, no one was really talking about it, but PFAS chemicals, which are now very well known, um, we’re starting to become an issue in both regulatory landscapes and, um, Because of litigation.
So there was a class action lawsuit against DuPont, uh, that got settled in like 2016 for over 5 billion. And then that opened the floodgates for a ton of different litigation. Um, and, and that’s when it really came out that non-state cookware or Teflon and, and all these floral chemicals or pfas chemicals, uh, were carcinogenic and problematic.
And so what we ended up learning during that process was. We, we were PFAS free. We were flooring free, we’re the first ones and really the only ones that flat out said that. But no one really cared about that back then. And still, even to this day, until regulatory tailwinds catch up with companies, they’re not necessarily inclined.
And that’s primarily because the greener you [00:16:00] generally the worse performances. Or if you want the same performance, then it costs an arm and a leg. And so, um, You know, the, the, the challenge is with us, we always led with performance. We also happen to be, you know, as sustainable as it gets, as, as, as green as it can get.
And our challenge has always been that we’re the premium product in the market, but we’re not for every customer. So we will flat out sell people that if, you know, if what we are selling doesn’t fit, their model, doesn’t fit, budget, whatever. We’re not, if, if they’re looking for a cheaper alternative than what they have today, we’re not the company for you.
But if you want the best performing products, if you want the Ferrari in performance, if you want the best possible, um, you know, coatings and best possible resistance to oils or stains or whatever it is that you’re looking for. Moisture barrier. Oxygen barrier, you come to us. Okay.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: What is the, you know, so, so you have a consumer, uh, business and [00:17:00] industrial business.
Yeah. If you were to give like your. You know, if you’re, let’s say selling your product and you have to say, you know, give kinda, um, a case study, you know, you said your product’s kinda like the Ferrari, you know, what is it that if I’m using your product versus something else like, Is it like, you know, if I, once I put your product, it’s like it’s full, you know, uh, completely proof.
Like there’s, it doesn’t matter what, what kinda, uh, fluid gets on my, uh, fabric or shoes. It’s completely Is that versus like your competitor? Um, of course you said, you know, yours is more sustainable also, but you know, in terms of performance, what is, like, what is the difference we’re talking about in
David Zamarin of DetraPel: performance?
Yeah, so I’ll give you a real life example. Um, a tissue, regular tissue, like a tissue box, right? If you throw that underwater, it’ll disintegrate right away. Yeah. [00:18:00] So why is it that you’re food packaging, like from Chipotle Sweet Green, or any paper-based package that you get from takeout or whatever, Why is it that that doesn’t disintegrate?
And the answer is because it has some sort of either polyethylene, pe, plastic coating, or a film, or it has a wax based coating or something that has floral chemicals in it, uh, which obviously the floral chemicals are carcinogenic. The wax is not preferred in the industry, and PE is getting banned left and right too because it’s plastic.
So if you wanna move to something more sustainable, if you wanna move to paper the products and make paper, do things that it cannot do before, you need a coating. Um, When you think about a Chipotle label, for example, right, which is a floral chemical, it’s typically considered like the, you know, the best of the best in performance is typically what you get with floral chemicals, but they’re carcinogenic.
Um, And so if you look at a Chipotle bowl, that will last in the presence of oil and grease for about 30 to 45 minutes before it starts to disintegrate, which eventually will have your bowl fall apart. Um, [00:19:00] and also most importantly, it affects the customer experience for a number of reasons. One, because of the staining doesn’t look good, but functionally, the reason why companies don’t want staining in their packaging is because staining means that oils are getting through, which affects the organoleptic of the food.
Which means that it affects the taste and smell. So oils being seeped into paper literally means that your food is changing. Taste or smell. Mm-hmm. Um, and so the leading industry coating like an Chipotle bowl will last 30 to 45 minutes, maximum maybe 60 minutes at tops before it starts to sustain. Our coding lasts a guaranteed minimum seven days.
So you’re getting an exponential benefit in performance. It’s not just an incremental increase, it’s an exponential benefit in performance. Oh, and by the only reason why it we say seven days and not longer is because we have to time out the test. So we know we can go more than seven. Um, and so that’s the benefit of [00:20:00] performance that you get with us, and that’s just one example.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: So when you started out, so you had, you know, you had this prototype of an idea. Did you first start out with a, as a consumer product, And then get into the industry industrial. Um, and how did you get your first customers?
David Zamarin of DetraPel: Yeah, so industrial was definitely always my main focus, uh, from, from inception, but no one took a 15 year old, 16 year old kid, seriously.
So I had just consumer business to keep the lights on because I didn’t have investors at the time or anything like that, that helped me keep running the business. So I, I. I needed to, to sell. Mm-hmm. Um, so that’s why I started the consumer business. And then eventually because of Shark Tank, we kept the consumer business.
Um, but yeah, eventually we did get some of the first customers and, uh, it just took pounding the pavement, getting, you know, at all costs necessary our foot through the door and telling the customer, you know, whatever you need, we’ll, we’ll make it happen. And that meant making concessions on price. I made make, making, making concessions on other things.
You know, our [00:21:00] goal was first to just get into the industry. And that’s still our goal today. Like we’re just trying to get into the industry. Whatever industry that we tackle, our goal is to first get, um, you know, make the first deal for, for love and then make the second deal essentially for money. That’s how we see it.
So were you
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: an e-commerce first business or like, when, when, when you first started, like, were you putting your products in like, uh, retail stores? How were you? We
David Zamarin of DetraPel: did, we did do retail, um, in the very beginning and even recently. Uh, we still do retail, but not, not, it’s not a primary focus. Uh, but we always had e-commerce as part of the business.
Like I think I launched the website first, obviously, uh, with E-com. And then we went to retail and then we went, uh, simultaneously went to retail, and then we went to industrial later on. Okay.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, and how has your manufacturing evolved from the beginning? I’m assuming in the beginning it didn’t have to. Um, I mean, what was required to, [00:22:00] I mean, I, I, I’m assuming these are like, you know, pressurized containers.
David Zamarin of DetraPel: now they are okay. They weren’t before, but now they are. Can you share
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: a little bit about how, how you were creating this initially and then to me, it sounds like now you have a much bigger operation given that you’re in industrial space and things like that. I mean, can you share a little bit about your manufacturing processes and
David Zamarin of DetraPel: so forth?
Yeah, we are, we, we definitely have, um, evolved quite a bit. So I’m a big believer in, as you grow, becoming more vertically integrated, um, We liked it. So, detri Chappelle, today I’m sitting in our current facility, which is a 24,000 square foot facility, but we’re moving, uh, hopefully by the end of the year or within a year to a hundred thousand square foot facility, hopefully.
So that’s the plan. Um, But we are big believers in doing everything as po as much as possible in-house. So everything from our r and d manufacturing, sales, marketing, [00:23:00] distribution, everything’s done internally. We pretty much don’t outsource anything other than like the making of our packaging boxes that the product ships in.
And that’s only for consumers and industrial. We obviously don’t make the pack like the drums or the big totes, the vats that are used in the industry. Um, but we fill them obviously. So the, the point I’m trying to make is, The bigger we got and the more success we had, we reinvested everything in vertically, integrated as much as possible, and we will continue to do that.
Um, and we’re big believers in that business model. But when I started it was very different. I mean, I started filling bottles by hand in little two ounce bottles, um, with like a screw top. Um, and, and a pump spray in my base, in my mom’s basement, my parents’ basement. Um, And so that, that’s really what it took for the first few, few years.
Um, you know, it was just making them by hand. We didn’t have any equipment. Eventually we got semi-automatic equipment. Then after semi-automatic equipment, we moved to this package. So the third business model I [00:24:00] didn’t mention that we have, or third brand that we have. We have the industrial, we have the consumer, and then we have our contract manufacturing side of the business.
So we actually are the world’s largest factor of these pressurized containers. This is the world’s only first and only pressurized container. That can be air shipped. And the reason why is because we have a D O T exemption, because this does not use any harmful gases, no compressed gases other than air.
It’s just pure air. Mm-hmm. Um, and so we are the largest manufacturer of them and co-manufacturer of them in the world. Uh, we make this stuff here. We literally have two automated filling lines, fully automated, um, high speed lines that do it all by itself now, but that’s not how it started. We started by.
Having to move from the triggers, the two ounce trigger spray bottles to eventually these, uh, in lab units. And we were doing those by hand, semi automatically. Um, and then eventually, you know, as, again, as things grew, we just, we consolidated and vertically integrated and automated as much as possible. And I’m a firm believer that’s [00:25:00] how you, that’s how you.
Go from being an e-commerce, you know, business owner, um, and being a, a real entrepreneur. I think there’s a big difference between, uh, entrepreneurship and being a business owner. And I think the sooner that people understand the difference, the better that they become in their career. So, can
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: you, can you sh expand on that a little bit more?
How do you, what is what, what do you see as the difference between a business owner, an entrepreneur? Are you, it’s a difference. That you are, uh, focusing more on the structure and processes of the business as opposed to really just, you know, going out there and making sales?
David Zamarin of DetraPel: No, I, I think the fundamental core difference is, are you solving a real problem?
If you’re solving a real problem that has global scalability, you’re an entrepreneur. Um, Or at least you’re starting or want to be an entrepreneur. Uh, I think that the main difference afterward is you know how you can [00:26:00] execute and that’s the hardest part. Um, but, you know, starting an e-commerce business and buying and selling things on Amazon or doing a, a drop shipping business on Amazon or, or Shopify, don’t get me wrong, nothing wrong with it.
Plenty of people making tons of money, uh, more money than I’m making. Uh, but they’re business owners and, and those business models are fragile. Um, and they’ll never, you know, you don’t necessarily really amount to the Elon Musks of the world or the Jeff Bezos of the world if you’re not solving a problem.
If you’re just selling things, if you’re just buying and selling and, and you’re running a, a business like that, um, that’s great. And there’s nothing wrong with that by any means. But in order to be a household name like an apple, like a Nike, like a Tesla, whatever, Like an Amazon to be a billion dollar company or a hundred million dollar company.
The reality is, is you need to actually solve real problems. Problems that are [00:27:00] big, have big market application and usually require some sort of technical expertise. Um, and that’s very different than running just a, a drop shipping business or an econ business. So it just depends. Being an entrepreneur or or running a company versus a business is, is greatly different and depends on the purse, not for everyone, and it shouldn’t be for everyone.
It’s sometimes the lone loneliest job in the world. But at the end of the day, if you are thinking that you want to really solve a groundbreaking problem that has the potential to change the world, and you think you’re crazy enough to be the one that actually does that, then more than likely. You know, you, you are on the path of entrepreneurship as opposed to just a business owner
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: and what facilitates that?
Um, to me it seems like, you know, you said one thing is you need to have technical, uh, expertise or, you know, technical, uh, basis. [00:28:00] When you were going from like, um, you know, creating a few bottles to, you know, going, uh, having your own, um, manufacturing process and then the vertical integration and, you know, solving this problem.
Yeah. Is the, is the reason for your success or the reason that you’ve been able to grow is, is it because you had that vision of entrepreneurship in yourself or was it that. You were able to find and align with other people, you know, who had the kind of technical expertise, engineering expertise, and so forth that, that, that could take your vision and, and, and build up on top
David Zamarin of DetraPel: of that?
Yeah. You, you definitely do not need technical knowledge or expertise to, to, to do what I’m saying or to do what I’m doing or, or to be an entrepreneur. You need to find the right team. And in fact, as you grow and if you have shareholders, that’s what they look for. They look to, to make sure that you as a founder are capable of [00:29:00] scaling the team and hiring the right people to, to take you to the next level.
Um, that said, I think the, the challenge that we’re kind of describing is, again, you don’t need the technical expertise by any means. What you need to do is, Is to solve, is to be a problem solver. And the, and the problem that you’re working on, like for example, let’s say you have a drop shipping. I, I don’t know why I’m picking on drop shippers, but mm-hmm.
Let’s say it’s a, it’s a drop shipper from Amazon and I ask you what is the problem that you’re solving? Mm-hmm. Someone’s gonna say, oh, well, you know, people can’t get this good from, from out of China or from the US at a reasonable price. And I’m getting that really unique Good. From China or wherever to, to the US to, to my customer.
That’s hardly a problem. That’s an inconvenience. That is not a problem. Hmm. But, you know, a problem really is something where you have something that is [00:30:00] preventing the growth of something else or preventing the ability to, to build upon something, um, and to, and to solve, like an actual issue that a person has that they can’t move forward past.
Or, or conveniently can’t move forward with, um, if they don’t have a solution. So simply because you’re selling something and, and people are buying it, that isn’t necessarily a solution. That’s just you’re a convenient mechanism for someone to get something that they want. A, a problem is something that, you know, gravely warrants or changes how something may look work.
Shape, feel, whatever. Um, and it changes how people behave. Mm-hmm. And so, like, you know, in, in my position, again with coatings for paper, let’s say for, for food packaging, you can’t physic. And even with textiles, you can’t physically use those types of packaging unless you have a coating. They literally [00:31:00] will not work like a tissue, it’ll fall apart.
Same with textiles, if they are not chemically resistant or resistant to certain things, They will change, they will. They will not perform. And so you need the ability to be able to solve those problems, to be able to use those goods. And that’s a very different position to be in than, Hey, I’m bringing a convenient way for someone to buy a product that is cool from China, for example.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with that there. Those are great business businesses to have, and they’re, and sometimes they’re cash cows. So I’m not, I’m not by any means, um, you know, making a stink on those businesses. I’m just saying there is a difference and it’s important for people to know that difference so that if an business owner is interested in going much further, having that a hundred, 300, 400, 500 million company or, or plus, [00:32:00] What’s gonna set them apart.
It’s not how many items I sell on Amazon, it’s being the Amazon or, or, or something of that nature. Right? So that’s the goal is you can, if that’s your interest, my point to you or to the listener is if your interest is you want to be the Elon Musks of the world and you want to get it by using drop shipping as your, as your medium, that’s great.
Earn some money and put that into something else. Put those into investments that will get you to that level if that’s what you’re interested in. Not everyone is. Yeah,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: yeah, yeah. A lot of people are kind of like, you know, they, they become business owners where they have a consistent cash, cash flow and they’re happy with that.
You know, they have a lifestyle. Yeah.
David Zamarin of DetraPel: And, and, and those are lifestyle businesses. You’re exactly right. Those are lifestyle businesses, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Those are great businesses to have. That’s just not the path that I personally am on, um, or want to be on. But not everyone should want to be like me.
So, and, and, and, and vice versa. Right. [00:33:00] Yeah, so.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: How do you see yourself, like what is your role in your company? To me, it seems like very much, you know, you’re focused on build, solving this problem through the product, but then of course the product has to be brought to market. I’m, I’m assuming you have a team that, you know, that’s, that does the sales and marketing and that helps with that kinda a thing.
How do you see yourself as an entrepreneur and what kinda things that you focus, focus on the most?
David Zamarin of DetraPel: Yeah, I mean my primary goals are, you know, bringing shareholder value, um, right, cuz we have, we have institutional investors and so my main job is to create shareholder value for everyone involved, uh, which includes myself and, and our employees.
Um, but how do you do that? That’s by building the right team, getting the product to market and, and developing the business, um, and developing new products. So, you know, a lot of my job is strategy and execution. On getting the product to market, doing business development and growing the right team to support [00:34:00] where we need support.
Um, so that’s really the main function of my day-to-day. Obviously, I, I’m a very hands-on and technical founder, so I’m very much hands-on, like I go on our machines and I, I’m the one that fixes them a lot of the times, uh, which we’re trying to hire someone for. But you know, like I’m the one that, and I didn’t know anything about pneumatics or electronics or.
PLCs or anything like that. I didn’t know anything about running automation, but I had to learn on the job, on the fly because I had no other choice. And so that’s the, um, I think that’s the, the main challenges with my job is, you know, you have to be everywhere and nowhere at once. You have to be the person who’s at the top and making big str strategic initiatives.
But at the same time, in my current position, Which is not where I hope to be in, in a, in just a few even weeks, um, is I have to be very hands-on on certain things that probably aren’t the best use of my time. But we don’t have a choice. And so that’s your job as a founder is to put [00:35:00] out fires, right?
You’re constantly trying to, to either build the team that can put out fires or put out the fires yourself until you can hire the team to do that for you. Yeah.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: And. You know, I’ve also read and heard that it’s, you know, a one $1 million business is very different from a $10 million business. A1 million dollar business is very different from a hundred million worth of a billion and so forth.
Yeah. As you’re growing, how are you, how are you, um, I mean, I’m assuming like you have business advisors or mentors or other people who, who can, you know, Who can guide you a, a little bit, I guess more on the business side of things. Yeah. How, how to go to the next level because I, I, I guess you can’t do that just by reading books, right?
Or, or I mean, no, it, it would have to be a very special, kinda a person who can really just grow on their own. How do you like learn and grow and, you know, business and, and also technical
David Zamarin of DetraPel: side? Yeah, it’s a great question. So, I mean, I [00:36:00] think, um, first and foremost, I’m a huge believer in mentorship. Huge. I’ve got probably four or five mentors that I talk to on a biweekly basis consistently.
And over the years those have changed. Like sometimes I’ve had more, I’ve had as many as like seven rotating every two weeks. Um, I’ve also had as little as like one, but I always have a, have a mentor and I, and I’m very particular on how I have mentorship because I, um, I have mentors for very specific things.
So I want a mentor who’s, Good for, um, like personal life stuff. I want a mentor who’s good that I can go to for business and specific parts of business. I want a mentor who can help me with like physical fitness or what, whatever, whatever I need. I categorize my needs and, and assign help both professionally and in this setting, uh, with your mentors all the time.
And so I think finding the right people to help you along [00:37:00] the way is, is key. But there are plenty of ways to learn along the way. I mean, there are so many resources out there. I mean, yes, I think mentorship is the best way. I think finding someone who’s done it and who can lend that to you is by far the best option.
Um, but that does not take away from the fact that you can definitely also, like I learned how to do nanotechnology or polymer chemistry on Google, so you know what I mean? Like you can learn a lot of stuff on your own, either through reading or watching, uh, YouTube or whatever it is. And that’s sometimes all it takes.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Um, how do you, I mean, how do you find the right mentor are, is it like the, the relationships that you have? I mean, um, I’m assuming like, you know, being on Shark Tank and you know, if, if somebody’s involved, I think that’s probably a good way, mentorship, but, but if you’re looking for a specific, a mentorship, are you going out and researching and finding who, who, who’s the expert and, you [00:38:00] know, building some sort of like a relationship with them or kind of a, you know, uh, consulting kind of a thing, like a paid, a paid relationship.
How do you find mentors?
David Zamarin of DetraPel: So, Yeah, I don’t do paid, um, because I believe that people who like, so I want people that. Don’t have the time to mentor me, but choose to do it because they want to get something out of it or wanna pave it to the next generation, or they believe in me and, and whatever. And usually those are not, like, those people don’t need your money.
So there’s nothing in the world that I could pay them that’s gonna make it much better, um, for them. So usually if you, if you’re getting paid as a mentor, there’s the difference between like an advisor and a mentor. And I think as a mentor, If you’re getting paid, um, you’re in it for the wrong reasons. If you’re a coach or you’re an advisor, there’s a big difference.
Or like you’re a formal board member or something like that. Completely different. But a ME mentor is very, very specific. Um, and so I think for me, [00:39:00] again, I can only speak for what I do, but what I’ve done is one, if I meet someone who I think is really cool or I can learn from, I will flat out ask. I will build a, I will build a relationship.
You don’t just, you know, you don’t just come up with a relationship. You have to build them. And coming from someone who had no relationships when I started mm-hmm. I built the network that I had to do, so I networked with anyone and everyone I could, I got from one person to another person. That person introduced me to someone else and so on and so forth.
And that’s just how you build relationships and you, and you take care of the people that are close to you and, and help you along the way. Then there, that’s one set of like principles that you can use to, to. Get mentors, um, who are high value mentors. The second one is find someone, like, think of someone that you want to get mentored by.
Someone realistic, like if you wanna get mentored by Mark Cuban, but you’ve never been outside of the city of Philadelphia, for example. You’re likely not gonna get to a Mark Cuban on your first try. That’s okay. Start [00:40:00] somewhere first. You don’t need a billionaire mentor to help you when you haven’t even hit a million yet, or a hundred thousand yet, or even 10,000.
So start, start small. There’s nothing wrong with evolving to new mentors as a as you need. So start with finding someone, whether you know them or not. Digitally and reaching out to them and, and just striking conversation, trying to build a relationship. And my number one and piece of advice is always the reason why I have so many mentors or why I have, uh, successful relationships with mentors is because I’m always, always trying to bring value to them.
I recognize that a person’s time is the most valuable asset that they have. So for me, also with someone who’s got, you know, precious time and, and, and values their time, my number one. Asked him towards as to like, what I can do for them is literally like, what can I do for you? What’s keeping you up at night?
And genuinely listen to the response. And if you even remotely have anything close to you think that could be [00:41:00] helpful, go and share that and, and, and research that and make the connections for them. And that’s how you pay people back for the help that they give to you. And that’s something that I think people take for granted.
Um, and in my situation, I think I, I’ve never taken that for granted and it’s, it’s paid dividends for me. Um, But again, I, I think I’m just speaking from my experience, what’s worked for me. Obviously some people might have different opinions. Okay. Can
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: you share a little bit about your Shark Tank experience and the, uh, do you, are you, are you still in relationship with, uh, uh, with the shark and do you still still have like some sort of a, do you talk to them and do they advise you on your business and so forth?
David Zamarin of DetraPel: Yeah, so. I got onto Shark Tank. It’s a very interesting story. It’s long. Um, I, part of this whole mentorship discussion that I just mentioned and why I threw up Mark Cuban is because when I was 16, I called, emailed Mark Cuban, uh, looking for some advice and, uh, [00:42:00] he responded. So yeah, in my response on his email, Yeah.
On email. Okay. Okay. That’s all it takes. That’s really all it takes. I’m, I, you know, I, I’m only speaking from experience. The stuff that I say is, is truly the stuff that I do. Um, and that’s why I’m using first person a lot because I, I can truly speak to what I’ve, what I’m suggesting. Um, I emailed Mark Cuban back in, I guess this is 2014, or yeah, it would be 2014.
Um, and he replied, And in my response to his reply, I also mentioned Shark Tank. And so he’s the one that introduced me to the casting producers. Those guys followed my story for about four years until I was finally ready to apply. Uh, and then finally, I, I, I, I did apply and there’s a whole story, cuz at first I was accepted.
Then they, there was a miscommunication, so they rejected me and then they told me a week later that, oh, they made a mistake and I was actually accepted. So there’s a whole story there. A long story short. I [00:43:00] was accepted onto the show. It was one of the, the best moments of my career at that time, and also one of the scariest moments of my career at the time.
Um, and I was a nervous mess, but I, uh, I ended up pitching and getting one of the quicker deals in history. It only took me a, like 30 something minutes, secure a deal when the average episode is actually filmed for over 90 minutes. Um, and so. Had a great experience, got offers from four outta the five sharks.
I took a, an offer or I took a deal with Mark Cuban and Lori Grier. Um, diligence starts after and so I ended up, um, having a. Interesting, you know, conversation with them and ultimately, you know, we couldn’t come to deal terms and so mutually kind of decided that it, it just wasn’t the best fit. And on, on their front, they didn’t, they saw some inconsistencies as well.
So, uh, we actually did not end up closing. Uh, and that ended up being a blessing in disguise cuz I got all the publicity that I wanted from the show. Um, with no [00:44:00] equity giving, giving up any equity. Um, now granted I probably would’ve preferred at the time to have that kind of, um, Investor and, and relationship, but it worked out just fine.
I’ve stayed in communication occasionally with them, um, but we’re not active in any relationship.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Okay. Can you share a little bit about your team, um, and how big is your team and what are the different areas that, uh, that you have your business?
David Zamarin of DetraPel: Yeah, so we’re about 17 right now, plus minus one or two.
We’re constantly letting people go or, or hiring, uh, if it’s the wrong fit, we, we, we like to let go pretty quick. Um, but uh, we’re looking to grow, looking to hopefully grow to 20 by the end of the year. Um, and what was the second question? Part of that question, sorry. Uh,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: well, let me ask you this. I mean, you said that, you know, you’re, you’re always, uh, looking for the right fit.
What is, what is, what do you look for, um, in, in a, in an employee when you’re [00:45:00] hiding?
David Zamarin of DetraPel: The main thing is, um, attitude to the job. Uh, we want someone who will get shit done. At any cost, essentially. Like we, we wanna make sure that we’re moving the company forward. There’s a lot that’s going on. We’re a very small team for the size of the operation that we run.
It’s pretty insane, um, to have this lean of a company. Hmm. And so because of that, we have to be firing on all cylinders all the time. And that’s the challenge is, you know, if someone doesn’t get that, we can’t afford to be behind the wheel. We have, we just have too much going on, too many customer relationships, too many things that are hinging on the success of the business to be relaxed about our progress.
And so if we’re not meeting our KPIs, if we’re not meeting our goals, I have no problem moving on. And, and, and we’ll help the individual who we have to let go, we’ll, we’ll help them until they find ’em the next job. If, if that’s what it takes. But if, if you’re not the right fit, you’re not the right fit.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: so you said [00:46:00] 17 people, right? One seven. Wow. So that’s, that’s, that’s real, that, that’s really lean for, you have three, kinda, three different areas of business that you manage. That’s
David Zamarin of DetraPel: that. Like I said, we’re, we’re very lean. We’re a little too lean to be honest.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Wow. Okay. So how many hours do you work?
How many hours do
David Zamarin of DetraPel: you work in? Uh, I don’t track ’em. Cause if I did, I’d probably, uh, shoot myself. Okay. No, I mean, I mean, I, I, uh, you know, I, I, it’s very easy to put in a hundred hour work weeks, so, On, on that note, by the way, I love what I do. So to me it’s not work. Um, I think, I think also early on I realized that if I could work double the amount of time that most people do, I’d be twice far ahead.
So, to me, and I, and I heard this from another amazing entrepreneur, um, when I was in, in college, he said, you know, if he would wake up and start working from 7:00 AM. All the way [00:47:00] till 7:00 PM and then take like a quick break. I mean, he could take quick breaks in between, but you know, have time for whatever else he needed and then work again, wake up earlier, whatever.
If he could work 16 hours a day, essentially was what he was saying, Hmm. He’d have twice the amount of work weeks then anyone else did by the end of the year. And that really stuck with me because I always was a workhorse, but I realized I also can’t sit, sit still. So it’s just my nature, my personality.
But I quickly realized that me, if I could work two, three times the amount, well technically I couldn’t work three times, but two times the amount of everyone else, or two and a half times the amount of everyone else, two and a quarter, I’d be that much further ahead of them by the end of the year. And so it’s very frequent to work.
70, 80, 9000 hour work weeks. So what,
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: what drives you? Is it, is it really, um, I mean to, to be able to be very, very motivated to, to get up [00:48:00] and to in all these, is it really the, your goal really? Money. Is it really about making a difference? Is it really fame, you know, as being like this, uh, you know, amazing entrepreneur who created this, uh, you know, great business and product.
What, what, what actually drives you to, to be able to put in all this work? Because it, I mean, it, there’s definitely cost to it, right? Like, you’re not able to, while you’re working, you’re not able to do, you know, maybe you’re not spending time with your family or you’re not.
David Zamarin of DetraPel: It’s all about sacrifice. Yeah, it’s all about sacrifice and prioritization.
Um, So first and foremost, I’ll say I think that for me, again, for me personally, I’m just a very driven and ambitious person, and I’m very headstrong in what I, what I want. Um, but I also just care, like to me, similar to anyone who, who knows David Goggins, I just dare to be excellent. I want to be the best version of me that I possibly can.
[00:49:00] And for me, I know where my skills lie and my skills lie and, and, and what I do. Sure. And so I’m constantly trying to be the best possible person or entrepreneur that I can be. I think money comes as a result. I think money’s important for, for everything, uh, in life. But I don’t necessarily say that money’s a driving factor.
Like it’s important. It’s very, it’s very important, um, because with money comes, influence comes. You know, ability to change the world. Unfortunately, that’s the world we live in. Whether or not people wanna admit it, money drives a lot of visions in the US especially. Um, and, and the, in the entire world.
It’s not just the US but I, I love the fact that like, I’m in control of my destiny and for the things that I want, the freedom that I want in life, I see a very clear road to get there. Um, and so I’m very just motivated to, to. Drive 120 miles an hour on that road to get to the destination where I’m going as quick as possible.
Um, I think money [00:50:00] is a result of all those things. It’s not the driving force or the driving factor. Um, at the end of the day, I really think what we’re doing is world changing, but more important than that, I think we can make the grant impact that we want to make if we get to that point, to that level.
So that’s, I think probably the, the main motivation. And again, I’m just a, I’m a very, I’m just built different, like I, to me, I’m built different, I care about this stuff way too much. I, I care about, um, my impact, my career and, and my ability to make a change for the world. Make a change for my family and for future generations, but also for people who have very similar stories.
I came from nothing. I had nothing. My parents were immigrants. They got divorced when I was two. I grew up in literal poverty, like I had nothing. And so I know what it co I know what it means to come from nothing, and I never wanna be in that position again. And I never wanna be in the position that my parents were in.
Well, I was [00:51:00] growing up where I, I had to see how they work to make ends meet. That’s just not what I want. And so for me, or, or what I want for my family, for my kids or whatever, And so I guess that’s kind of like the monetary side of things, but the, the fundamental actual, um, driving motivator is the freedom.
I want, the ability to do anything I want at any moment, whenever I want, however, or wherever I am. And so that’s, that’s what I care about. I want the ability to be able to make as much impact as possible and to motivate the next generation. And while doing all of that, have the freedom to do it however I want, whenever I want.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Definitely. That’s, that’s, uh, that’s definitely very true. Now we’re gonna move on our rapid segment. We’re running outta, um, icontinue talking to you, but, uh, one book recommendation for entrepreneurs. Um, and why,
David Zamarin of DetraPel: um, oh shoot. There are a couple, I would say, um, [00:52:00] what stage of an entrepreneur.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Anything that you, you, that you would recommend, I guess, Mo mostly for, you know, starting, you know, uh, anyone starting out
David Zamarin of DetraPel: I guess.
Okay, so I’m gonna give an untraditional answer if you’re dressing out. I would, I would listen to never Finish by David Goggins. And the reason why is because if you can employ that kind of mindset of the never give up, uh, mindset and your, and your highly motivated individual, you will find the solution.
You will find the answer to whatever you’re doing. Okay.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: An innovative product or idea in the current, uh, business landscape that you feel excited
David Zamarin of DetraPel: about? I’m gonna say my own. Um, I, I, you know, I think artificial intelligence and, and a few other things are, are really exciting. Um, but fundamentally I think the stuff that we’re building is, is just as exciting for me.
I think the stuff that I’m doing, uh, really has a potential to change the world because it helps potentially redefine. Chemical industry, [00:53:00] which is one of the largest industries in the world, and it touches everything that you can think of. Your shirt, your glasses, the desk you’re sitting at. All of that has a chemical coating, all of it.
And so knowing that our chemistries, a lot of the chemistries that are used are carcinogenic or whatever, and I have an impact. I have the ability to make an impact and get rid of that. That’s huge for me.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Awesome. A business or productivity tool or a productivity tip?
David Zamarin of DetraPel: Uh, productivity tip I’ll give is, um, I don’t do this anymore.
I did this in high school. Uh, now I use digital calendars and stuff, but get intimate with a calendar, with a task list, a priority list, and a calendar, and ensure. That you have it written down. And in high school I did it all the physical count calendar, where I would literally write like, I’m going to do X, Y, and Z for 30 minutes.
And I would, you know, give myself an additional ness of what I normally would have, um, on, on purpose so that I have that buffer time. [00:54:00] You know, lunch is written down when I’m having it. Um, you know, at one point I got really, really into that and I was even giving bathroom breaks in there. But the point, point being that you write everything that you have to do in a day down.
And you check it off the list one by one. Uh, as simple as it sounds, it’s, it’s su super impactful. And now I do that with a digital calendar. I prefer it to be in a physical calendar, but because I’m always on the, on the move, it’s tough to be with a physical calendar at times. So, or a physical task list.
Um, but that’s my, one of my biggest, uh, productivity tips. Okay.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Final question. Best business advice you ever received or you would give to other
David Zamarin of DetraPel: entrepreneurs? Um, there are few pieces. A few piece of advice or a few things I’ve heard that are phenomenal. Um, the, the, the first one I would say is it’s never too early or too late to start, uh, but starting the su this is the advice I would give is starting sooner is always better.[00:55:00]
Um, the soonest you can start even as a, as a kid. It’s the best time to start. Um, because especially at that, at when you’re younger, you have a lot less responsibility. Um, you don’t have a, you know, especially if you’re in high school or, or even earlier college, even in, in most cases, you don’t have a mortgage, you don’t have a car, you don’t have a lot of things that you have to pay for.
You don’t have family, you don’t have kids to take care of, you don’t have expenses. That’s the time to push and grind out as much as you can. And it’s only after then that you can, you know, bear the fruits of those laborers. But it’s much easier to do that and fail and learn at an early age than it is at a later stage.
And on that same token, I, I would say another piece of advice is, uh, you don’t fail, you learn. Definitely.
Sushant Misra of TrepTalks: Well, David, those were all the questions that I had. Uh, thank you so much for your time today. I know you’re very busy, so thank you so much for taking some time out for me and sharing your, your story.
Very unique story. I was a little bit surprised when I read about you, so. So [00:56:00] very, very inspiring and uh, thank you. Yeah, thank you so much. And I’m sure, uh,
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