Lateral Capital Management, LLC

Acme Anti-Bacterial Spray

Acme Anti-Bacterial Spray (AAB) was the consumer products licensee for a water ionization technology developed a commercial cleaning company. A rechargeable electric spray pump with a built in ionizer “splits” water so that for 30-45 seconds, free oxygen from the water “oxidizes” bacteria on contact. This is a very standard anti-bacterial approach; proven safe, and highly effective. Acme wanted to build this into a product for consumers; aimed at sanitizing surfaces like countertops. Their plan was to sell it to a big CPG company which would market it as an environmentally superior alternative to products like Formula 409. We did not invest.

  • Assessment:The company CEO would not accept our advice on what it takes to succeed in the cleaning products industry; advice based on our 20 years of P&G experience. This included the need to focus on a “hero” soil and to add a surfactant to address greasy soils. Simply put, if it doesn’t clean, it doesn’t sell; no matter how attractive the product is from an environmental standpoint. People want a product to address every soil, every time.
  • Outcome:The company closed operations after perhaps $10MM in investment from a significant number of Angel investors.
  • Learning: This product concept could be compelling and find a market. But when CEOs resist our advice on subjects where we have true expertise, we are right to walk away.