You are currently viewing 061 Alternative Heating

061 Alternative Heating


Growing up in Idaho with two business owning parents, Gordon Olson learned the value of hard work early on. He’s always been fixated on technology and how people interact with it. And his problem solving nature led him to found Tory industries. Tory offers tankless water heaters through a subscription based model. Their unique service aims to reimagine what as utility through high efficiency technology, and a focus on the circular economy. Gordon is passionate about the water heater industry as it relates to construction, plumbing, and energy production. He’s also mindful of the environment and how technology can enable us to live lives of abundance.


Katherine Ann Byam  0:03  

  Gordon, welcome to where it is.

Gordon Olson  1:23  

I appreciate you having me here. Catherine.

Katherine Ann Byam  1:25  

It’s wonderful to have you. And what sparked your interest in water heating?

Gordon Olson  1:31  

You know, I’ve lived in multiple apartments and lived with, you know, roommates, so forth. And it’s always you always run out of hot water eventually, you know, and so, it really got to me, you know, I’m a tinkerer. I like to think about things and problem solve. And so became a, well, why isn’t why doesn’t everywhere have a tankless water heater? Like, it’d be so great. So we never had to run out of hot water. And, you know, it found out that well, tankless water heaters have a high use of power. And so, you know, that’s really where I got my first steps into it. And from there, it really just kind of grew into being a passion for the industry, you know, seeing what other problems are in the industry? And how can I solve those as well? And so I’ve been on this journey for just about five years now, you know, and on having this passion for the industry and following it really closely seeing what’s going on.

Katherine Ann Byam  2:39  

So how did you solve the problem of the amount of energy it uses? Tell me Tell me more.

Gordon Olson  2:46  

Yeah, so we decided to use induction heating vs convection heating, like most of them. And if you use just induction heating regularly, and you’re heating a pipe up, it doesn’t really actually work, because you know, conservation of energy and the laws of thermodynamics and so forth, that you don’t get all that energy into your water, like convection wood. And so we knew we had to maximise surface area to be able to take advantage of that. And so the search really began for finding a material that was porous, that we could maximize surface area that we could also heat using induction heating. And so we came across that which is a specialised manufacturer, porous carbon foam that you can heat inductively and actually has better thermal characteristics than aluminium. And so we’re maximising that surface area 100x. But we’re able to heat it with very little power using the induction heating. And that’s where we get our high energy efficiencies.

Katherine Ann Byam  4:00  

Wow, that is a big problem solving thing that you’ve just done is really impressive. And tell me how your parents influence the intrapreneur in you.

Gordon Olson  4:10  

You know, a lot of it was, I guess they’re, you know, own and small businesses, it’s a lot of day to day different problem solving. You know, a lot of things come up and, you know, managing, managing the budget and so forth. You don’t have a lot of time, sometimes you don’t have a lot to work with. And so it’s What can I use this little amount of money with to maximise for the ultimate best scenario. And, you know, watching it really, really built that out and made me appreciate it what a small business owners go through. And, you know, being able to, to create something and put it out there for people and have I have an overall benefit for people who really, really inspired me, I should say,

Katherine Ann Byam  5:06  

Yeah, that’s great. And tell me a little bit about why you wanted to get into sort of the Sustainable Development Goals, like what sparked that interest.

Gordon Olson  5:19  

You know, a lot of it is, so I guess the, let’s say 2020, and everything going on with 2020, it’s, you could actually see a lot more of the environmental impacts of things. So I’m, I’m in Montana, and, you know, the weather’s changing, and a lot more fires and so forth. And it really became a we don’t need, we can’t just build this unit and follow traditional routes, it became a we need to actually build sustainability into our company, so we can have this impact. And, you know, there’s a big cultural shift with it as well. And I’m, I’ve, I’ve been big, I guess, in my whole life with, hey, you know, let’s, let’s keep sustainable and so forth. You know, but it’s all in how we do it, and how we do it the right way. And are we actually being sustainable? Or are we just saying that we are, so that’s where it really began, hey, we need to actually be sustainable not walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Katherine Ann Byam  6:35  

This is what I love about sort of subsidy, so green startups today, they start with the blank sheet, right, they start with, let’s design this thing into the first product that we bring on to market, which I think is it’s so it’s so inspiring, it’s, it’s the right way to do it. You know, it’s just the best format that we can have to kind of solve some of these problems. I want to ask a little bit about your challenges so far in getting started. So I think I can imagine that the challenges could have come from first the technology itself, then the backing, and then the launching etc. So tell me a little bit about the journey.

Gordon Olson  7:17  

Yeah, so you know, it’s, we’re actually, in this process of raising capital right now, which is a whole, you know, big thing in itself. And, you know, you’re right, a bit of a lot of it was in the beginning, let’s, we had to find the right technology. And so one of the best things that we decided to do was not just recreate the will, but let’s find out what is already out there that we can take advantage of. And so that’s what we actually did. And so we have patents that were actually licensed and have exclusive licensing. for that. One of them is from a national laboratory. And, you know, so that, that really helped and helped speed up the process of our development.

And, you know, from there, it was, okay, now we have, we have the technology, we know what we can do, we have the, you know, secured the licences and so forth. And now we need to go out and raise capital and so forth. And so that’s kind of our stage that we’re at now is raising capital. And, you know, along this, I would say, challenges, a lot of challenges come with building a product. You know, some people expect, especially hardware, they’ll build it out. And they might build it to where some parts are 3d printed. Well, if you’re, you know, wanton like our product like ours, that we plan on mass producing, you can’t really 3d print parts, specialised parts, and so forth. And actually, you know, mass produce it. And so that has been a lot since the very beginning in the prototype stage, and all the way up into making sure that we’re designing for mass production, so we can have the best and greater impact.

Katherine Ann Byam  9:10  

So I have a question for you. And this is going to be a tough question. I didn’t give it to you before. So be prepared, you may need to take some time to think about it. I know that in order to get the financing and the backing, you need to have that patent protection, so that we need to look forward into the future of how this whole thing could be monetized and, and give a return to the shareholder and investor. But at the same time, when you come up with a solution, that’s something that can save the world as part of many solutions that can save the world. What would you say is your responsibility to sort of share some of that technology?

Gordon Olson  9:51  

You know, I would say so, for example, like for us, you know, our big thing is having the greater impact and we know that Just being being a startup, we can’t have as great of an impact. And so with our technology, the hot water heating industry is a massive industry from, you know, steam power to just your boilers and hospitals and schools and in manufacturing, like Pulp Paper plants, and so forth. So, you know, it’s, it’s a large industry, and we know, we can’t cover the whole thing. And so with that, you know, to be able to share that it is being able to actually sublicense some of the technology out, and, you know, to key partners and so forth. So that is able to actually expand, and that it’s not just, you know, closed in with it. So we can have that greater impact and actually, you know, I would say, benefiting, benefiting everyone.

Katherine Ann Byam  10:56  

Yeah, good response, I’ll leave it there. It’s always a debate that I have with people who have designed new solutions, because there’s a lot more pressure now to come up with things and scale them quickly. And it’s always interesting to see how people approach it as they navigate between two worlds. And that’s essentially where we went between an old system that works in a certain way, we want to move to a new system, we don’t know what the new system is yet. So it’s always an interesting conversation.

Gordon Olson  11:28  

Yeah, you know, I definitely, definitely agree with that. It’s the old way of things and transitioning, and how that will actually come out in the end, you know, it’s, it’s big.

Katherine Ann Byam  11:41  

Yeah. So we can shift now to cop 26? And what are your thoughts on how important cup 26 agreements are going to be, first of all? And what do you expect to see, especially the impact in the US?

Gordon Olson  11:57  

You know, so I like, for me individually, I, I like the these initiatives, and, you know, to try to have this greater impact. And, you know, to go back in my background a little bit, I’ve actually worked in the oil fields in out in North Dakota, and I was a roughneck for however long and so, you know, I’ve, I’ve experienced that life, and then around, I guess, you could say, that culture of people, as well as the culture of people that are, you know, more suited for sustainability and green energy.

And, you know, there’s, there’s a good things can start at the top, but at the end of the day, you know, we have to be able to bring technology to the masses, at an affordable price, to be able to, to re adopt new technologies. And, you know, so that’s, that’s what I like to see with all these initiatives and so forth is, you know, how, how much are they helping, you know, not just, I guess, top level, at the top level, and, you know, talking the talk, but let’s say, are we going to be able to walk the walk right, and bringing that down onto an individual level? And, you know, a lot of a lot of education goes into that as well. It’s not just to the masses, right? It’s not just a, I guess, plans and solutions aren’t always black and white.

 There’s many variables that go into things. And, you know, I like the the overall plan, I think it’ll, you know, have have a good impact. And, you know, the only thing that we can do is kind of try it. And let’s, let’s find out, let’s find out how good of an impact it has. And, you know, as, as we’re trying it, and moving through that, then, you know, if some things aren’t, aren’t working, you know, it’s kind of like, like running a startup, you got to be able to be, you know, limber enough to be able to switch your direction relatively fast, to pick a new solution to drive it that direction that will have the greater impact.

Katherine Ann Byam  14:23  

So Gordon, how can people support your mission?

Gordon Olson  14:27  

They can go to Tory That’s t o r II And follow us on social media. We’re on LinkedIn, as well as Twitter. And, you know, share with your friends and all as well, as you know, we’re always looking for collaborations for licence agreements and partnerships with companies as well as different individuals. So

Katherine Ann Byam  14:52  

and you’re looking in the US as well as outside of the US for collaborations or you just stay in us for now?

Gordon Olson  14:59  

Yeah, both Yeah. Okay, worldwide

Katherine Ann Byam  15:01  

Yeah. Perfect. Perfect. It’s been lovely to chat with you. Thank you so much for joining the show. Season Four of where radius launch was brought to you today by Katherine Ann Byam business resilience and strategy consulting services. Katherine provides business assessments and strategic support to help guide your business toward a NetZero future. Get in touch with Katherine Ann Byam on LinkedIn.