Updated: May 3, 2021
How can you raise money to speed the growth of your business? What is the process of receiving the Green Seal for a planet-friendly product after developing a line of unique, effective products?
Clean Go Green Go creates completely non-toxic, bio-renewable, 100% biodegradable, and pet/child-friendly products. From all-purpose spray to super-concentrate, Clean Go Green Go has it all. With these high-quality products, you'll get an effective clean while using green cleaning products.
In today’s episode of the Harvest Growth Podcast, we interview Anthony Sarvucci — the creative, innovative mind behind CleanGo GreenGo. If you’re an inventor, entrepreneur, or product marketer, you’re going to want to listen to the excellent advice and insight given by Anthony Sarvucci.
In today’s episode of the Harvest Growth Podcast, we’ll cover:
The benefits of going public to raise more funds for marketing, certifications
Exclusive information on Reverse Takeover (RTO)
The process CleanGo GreenGo went through to get the Green Seal
How Anthony Sarvucci developed a formula for a green cleaner that cleans effectively while remaining natural
And so much more!
Jon LaClare: Even the most innovative products need funding to get off the ground. In this interview, I speak with Anthony Sarvucci, the founder of CleanGo GreenGo, about a unique way that they've raised money in order to really help their business grow. You're going to like this interview.
Welcome back to the Harvest Growth podcast. I'm really excited today to be speaking with one of our clients and good friends, Anthony Sarvucci, who is the founder of CleanGo GreenGo, which as he'll get into more of a detailed description, it's a phenomenal green cleaning products, which is a play on words typically where green products generally don't clean.
This one is amazing and actually works as well or better than any other harsh chemical cleaners that I've come across over the years, but it's still green. It's clean for the environment. It's safe. It's easy to use. It's a friendly product as well as very functional. I'm excited to have you on the show today, Anthony. Thanks for joining us.
Anthony Sarvucci: Hi, Jon. Nice to be here.
Jon: Let's jump in and first talk about the product, and then we'll get back a little bit to your specific background, how you came up with the idea, et cetera. I'd love for you to explain what is CleanGo GreenGo? In your words, how do you describe it as you're doing retail pitches and things like that?
Anthony: CleanGo GreenGo, it's a completely new style of cleaning product. For many years back in the '80s, we had oxygenation, which you're very well aware of, and everybody used that product for many, many years. What we've done is we've taken it to the next level. What we've done is we've taken a scientific approach, and we're utilizing emulsification, we're utilizing science, and we're utilizing a lot of different products in our formulation that have never actually been tried before in a cleaning product that had worked very, very well for us.
As you'd mentioned at the beginning, our products are as effective as a toxic and caustic cleaner without the side effects of any product. In our product line-up, our product lineup is completely green and clean, and we don't have any harmful side effects that our competitors do, our toxic competitors.
Jon: I know the answer, at least what I think is the answer to this question, but I'd love you to share with the audience. How did you come up with this before the big multinational conglomerates that have millions of dollars at their disposal for R&D? How are you able to develop this product so much more quickly and in such a better fashion than the competitors?
Anthony: I think that's a great question, and I'm going to be completely honest with you. It was almost by mistake. The whole idea of CleanGo GreenGo was brought to me in 2010. What it was is I was introduced to a gentleman who had invented a supposed green cleaner. We basically formulated a company around this green cleaning product that this guy had invented. Come to find out about a year later that the formulation he invented, number one, he didn't invent, number two was far from green. It basically negated all of our claims and we were stuck at that point.
I'm going to be honest, I don't have a scientific background and I definitely don't have a background in formulations. We really had to go back to the drawing board at that point and really try to learn this whole composition thing. In the interest of time, the best way I can describe it is we actually started utilizing some products that none of the major competitors are using. When I was asked, why aren't the majors using this? They said, "Well, if it's not broke, why fix it. People continue to buy these products, why are we going to fix it?
Why are we going to try to disrupt the apple cart, for lack of a better term." What we did is we used to utilize some of the greenest and cleanest ingredients on the planet today, mix them in several different fashions till we got to the formulation we use today. Our formulation is very unique in the fact that as I said, we developed it, and not just that, in 2020, we received, what was it? A provisional patent, and now we have a patent-pending status on our product, which is very unusual for a formulation.
Jon: No, very true. It reminds me a little bit of the story of OxiClean, which a lot of our audience knows some of the story behind it, but it was also found by accident. The similar chemistry was used to cleanup beer vats in the Coors Brewery Distillery or whatever it's called up here in Golden, Colorado. They learned by happenstance that it also happens to be a great laundry cleaner. It was found by accident. They found that it worked and went off to the races.
I think it's so often that there's a lot of other products like that that can be used for secondary purposes or that are found in your case by accident but part of the story is that, part of the story is finding it, part of the story is knowing what to do with it. Being the marketer or developer to realize, "Okay, I've got something here, now let me take it to the next level, that's where your true entrepreneurialism I think comes out. Let's talk about that part of the process? Once you've found it, you realize that it works, it works really well. How'd you get it from there to now commercializing it, bringing it to market?
Anthony: I'm not going to lie to you. We've had a lot of hurdles along the way. Actually, once we found out we didn't have a product and we had to create one, that actually put us on hold for some time, until we were actually able to come up with the product we use today. What happened from that point was we ran 20,000 bottles and we decided to run these bottles in HDPE plastic. We figured if we were going to stick with the green claims, we might as well use green plastics.
As everybody knows, these single use plastics are becoming a nuisance in landfills. Anyways, we wanted to do our part. We created an HDPE translucent green bottle, which a lot of bottle manufacturer said couldn't be done, but we did it. At the end of the day, we found why they said it couldn't be done. It was actually a really bad idea.
We had 20,000 bottles that we launched all across the US that landed on the shelves of retail stores, and every time we deliver one of these products, they were leaking. We figured maybe there was a nail on the pallet, or maybe it got bumped, or we didn't know what the problem was, but it was really ironic that every delivery was having the same problem. I come to find out that the Frankenstein of plastic that we put together was a disaster. It was leaking and it was cracking, so it was yet another hurdle to slow us down.
We had to revisit the whole bottle situation as well. We got stuck first with the formulation, then secondly, with the bottle and it took some time to get us back on track, but we're here now. We've got a great bottle and we've got great sprayers, we've got a great product inside the bottle. It's been a little bit of a process, but like I said, we're here now.
Jon: As you grow, you build a team of experts behind you, but in the early days, you're not a bottle engineer, as you said, you're not a chemical engineer. How do you solve these problems, because a lot of inventors that are listening, they have ideas, but they're also not engineers? They don't know how to develop it, bring it out to fruition. How did you go about doing that?
Anthony: I think the most important thing that we did is we realized where our shortcomings are. Our shortcomings were obviously from the technical side. What we did is we were able to bring some people on board that brought the expertise that we were deficient in and that was both on the formulation side as well as the bottling, labeling, and the day-to-day manufacturing of the product in its entirety from bottling, shipping. What we've done is we've been very fortunate in the fact that we've come across some great people.
We've got great people on our IT side. We've got great people on our marketing side. Our team, we've got an engineer that sits on our team. We've actually got a scientist, a doctor that sits on our board of directors, and we've got two other doctors that sit on our board of advisors. What we're able to do is we're able to bounce ideas and formulations and new products off of these people that are experts in their field as I don't claim to be a scientist, because I'm not. We're really thankful to have these people on our team because it makes a world of difference.
Especially from a marketing standpoint, such as your company, with Harvest Growth, obviously you guys have a reach that we don't have. Aligning ourselves with people and companies like yourself, I think make a world of difference to get our product out there to the households that we would like to find ourselves in.
Jon: It reminds me of a question I got, I filled it yesterday from another client of ours I was talking to, and I get this question all the time. Why don't we launch products ourselves? As a company, Harvest Growth, why don't we develop our own to bring it to market because we've done so many, we've done over 500 product launches over the years, and we love that aspect of it.
My answer comes back to, well, it's the same reason, Anthony, we work with you, right? You're a product developer and you own that space, you're an expert at that, that's not what we do. We focus on one thing which is marketing and launching products, bringing them to market, and so we've figured out how to do that really well. Everything else becomes a distraction. You have to realize what you're good at, but also what you have passion for too as a company.
You can't do everything yourself, whether it's working with a marketing agency or whether it's finding members of your board of directors to help solve problems in the development, it's just realizing your own may be limitations on expertise, abilities, passion, or time really, any of those, and being able to round out your team eventually. In the early days, you got to start small and you grow your team as the business grows, of course, but being able to work with experts beyond your field too.
It's interesting to me too that you are at the stage now, you're growing as a company and now you're launching or you're going public. I'd love you to talk about that because we get that question a lot. It's a great way of raising capital. A lot of smaller companies don't feel that they have that window open to them, and they only see the NASDAQ listings or the big Wall Street listings that show up as these massive companies, it's not just for them. Can you talk a little bit about the process of going public, how it's helped you, and how you started that process?
Anthony: Sure. Our idea was to try to do as much as we could on our own from a financial standpoint, which I'm sure you've worked with a lot of people like myself, and realistically, the money goes very, very quickly, especially if you want to incorporate a decent size marketing budget, which is imperative. Without a marketing budget, nobody will ever hear of new products. What happens is you run out of money very, very quickly. We had the idea all along, but our idea was to do a public listing. That's actually my background.
My background is finance and more so than building cleaning products, but in the last 10 years, obviously, that's changed. What we did is we decided to start working with some investment bankers and people in the industry to list our company. Just recently, last year, we signed a deal with a company called SoftLab9. SoftLab9 was a publicly traded company. They've got three listings, they have a listing in Canada as a primary listing, a secondary listing in the US, and a third listing in Frankfurt, Germany.
What our idea was to do a reverse takeover with these guys. Our company is a surviving entity of the two companies, and we're just in the final stages now of our listing. That company right now trades under the symbol, SOFT, S-O-F-T. When we come back to trade here, we're thinking probably by the first week of May, we will be trading under a new symbol, under CleanGo Innovations. The company will be called, CleanGo Innovations. Where it really helped us is we were able to raise money for our marketing efforts, which has made a world of difference.
It's also helped us in the fact that we were able to research and develop a lot of other new products. That's the whole reason we decided to go public is definitely from two standpoints, one would be from the financing standpoint, the second would be from the marketing. As being a public company, we become a lot more visible to investors, to people who would reach a market. I think all in all, it was a good move for us, and time will tell. We're really hoping for a positive outcome with the public side of things.
Jon: For those that are listening that may not be experienced with this type of path to going public, can you describe it a little bit further? You talked about it's an existing entity that you're essentially joining and reversing that process, help them understand what that means?
Anthony: When you want to go public, we have a couple of different options. One option is becoming into a self-listing. Basically, what you do is depending on where you're listing and what exchange you're listing on, they're going to have a set of requirements. Most importantly, you're going to obviously have to have your business plan in order and audited financials. From that point, you need to usually have an investor base. They can be anywhere from 50 investors to 150 to 300 investors, depending on what exchange you're looking to list on.
What you do is you do a primary listing with the exchange you decide to list on, and then you go through all of the listing criteria, and you answer a lot of questions. Now, this can be a very long-drawn-out process and can cost a lot of money. What a lot of people will do is they'll look at the ladder. The ladder is the RTO.
The RTO is a reverse takeover where you have a company that's already public. Maybe they went public with a different idea that maybe worked out or didn't work out, but at this point, they have what's referred to as a public vehicle. Then, what you do is you strike a deal with that company to be the qualifying transaction for that entity, and they do a reverse takeover on you. Sometimes their management will survive, sometimes your management will survive, or sometimes a combination of the two managements will survive.
In our particular case, we took over about 90% of the board, only one of their members ended up coming over during the transaction. The whole procedure on a RTO can take as little as 30 days, it can take as much as six months. We actually halted trading in November, and as I said, we look to come back to trade somewhere around the first week of May of 2021.
Jon: It's obviously a bit more of a process than raising money from friends and family, but there's reasons for it. What are the benefits of doing this type of round of going public versus trying to raise money from finding people on your own?
Anthony: This is the problem when you go public, just because you're public doesn't guarantee success in raising money. That's the thing that people don't always understand. You have to get yourself out there, you have to present your company, you have to talk with investment bankers, you got to talk with brokerages and you've got to be basically selling your idea and your product every day to these investors because if you don't have a following, you may at the end of the day become a publicly-traded company.
If nobody's trading your stock, you're not going to raise any money. What we do is we've got a whole team behind us from a marketing standpoint on the public side, and what we do is we call every day. We call investors, we call investment bankers, brokerage firms, everybody that we can imagine and we try to educate them about our company, and tell them what we're doing, and tell them basically the trajectory that we're looking to develop by going public.
Right now, we're looking at other like-minded acquisitions, different retail models that maybe-- what's the word? I'm starting to have loss of words here, but looking for basically synergies, I guess is the best word to use, companies that are synergistic to what we're doing. Obviously, retail is very important, financing obviously very important, and anything we can incorporate that will help the company move forward.
Jon: There's a couple of ways to grow a business as well, you can do it organically. A lot of our clients over the years have done that, and you can still grow fast without bringing in outside funding, but what the funding does is accelerates everything. It turns fast growth into hyper-growth. As you mentioned, R&D is one area you could be spent to improve what you're offering.
Also, marketing dollars that can be spent to really accelerate the growth of your company, increasing the value, getting it out to more people, getting the word out, there's a lot of benefits. Are there other reasons that you've chosen to go down because it's a lot of work? As you're saying, it's not easy to raise this money, even if you're going public, or really that maybe makes it more difficult. Are there other reasons that you're bringing funding to help your business?
Anthony: Absolutely. What happened is, as you can appreciate back in beginning of 2020, when the COVID pandemic first became visible to everybody, we had a cleaning product that worked incredibly well. We knew because of the testing we've done that it was able to kill viruses and bacteria on a hard surface. The problem is what you know and what you can say are two different things. What you require is you require through the USCPA, you require testing, you require certifications, and the same thing in Canada. Health Canada also requires the same testing and certifications.
The problem is every time we do one of these certifications, it's very expensive. You have to have a whole technical team submitting the information and just the whole application process, everything from A to Z is very, very difficult and most importantly, very expensive. Since the beginning of 2020, we've received a lot of certifications.
In Canada, we have our DIN certification, which is our drug identification number, which allows us to make antibacterial claims. We also received an NPN number, which is a natural products number. We received a Cruelty-Free, Leaping Bunny certification, which certifies we don't do any testing on animals. Most recently, we've received our Green Seal. Green Seal certifies us as a green product.
As I mentioned, every one of these certifications takes time and most importantly, money. That was definitely one of the benefits for us going public was to be able to access those funds to get these certifications because they really lend a lot of credibility to our product and what our product is capable of.
Jon: You and I have been talking for months, maybe a year about these antibacterial benefits that we can talk about, but before you get certifications, you can't say any of that to the public, you can't market it out there, so that's why it's important to really grow that. It's for consumers to know there are certain fields about the benefits of the product like antibacterial claims, you have to have certifications before you can say much. That's very valid and valuable.
Anthony: It's very frustrating when you see your competitors being able to sit and make these statements, but then you realize they're a multi-national with millions and millions of dollars to be able to do the testing and get the certification. I'm not saying we're at the point of our multinational competitors, but we're trying our best and we definitely hold a lot of similar certifications.
Jon: Yes. I think it just adds to the foundation of your business, where you've got a great product and now you've got a great package, that's not leaking, all these improvements along the way, the certifications. It just completes that story where there's so much more to tell people, so much more for them to understand about your product that it helps it to grow. The bigger the foundation, the faster you can grow in many ways.
Anthony: Absolutely. The growing pains, that's what kills any of these startup companies, it really does because you zig when you should have zagged. Unfortunately, that's just the reality of life. I'm not going to say we haven't made mistakes, we have. We've made a lot of them, but the last couple of years has been a lot better than the prior years, that's for sure. We seem to have a handle on it, and we really hope that we'll have great success moving forward with our products.
Jon: I've talked to a lot of inventors over the years that run out of funds in the very early days, and it can stall out a really good idea. Sometimes I've shared these stories before, but it might be after the patent process. They might have spent $100,000 in the patent, then call us up like, "Hey, I want to market this great idea, I've got a patent but I don't have any money left for marketing."
Well, you got to either find the funds or conserve the funds, make good decisions in the beginning so you can spread that. $100,000 could have taken a long way to do a less expensive patent maybe, or whatever it might be but using those funds wisely. The more ability you have to share that story, the more funds you have available to share that story to build out the product, it just makes the process easier. It's never easy, but it gives you a lot more options that you can do in order to grow your business.
Anthony: It sure does. Money definitely makes things a lot easier, especially for entrepreneurs. Like I said, you get to that point where you finally get the patent, you think you're off to the races, you're sailing, but realistically, without that budget for marketing after that fact, you're stuck. Being stuck in the mud is the worst thing you can be in, in this business.
Jon: Very true.
Anthony: I've been there many times. Had we had the funds 10 years ago to get to where we were today, we probably would have been there seven, eight years ago at this point but [unintelligible 00:21:46] it took a long time. I'd say, we're a lot further ahead than we were a few years ago, but we really think we're off to the races now.
Jon: It's fun to see for sure. I want to ask you in a second, if there's any other questions that I didn't ask. In the meantime, I want to tell our audience to go to the website to check out Anthony's product line, cleangogreengo.com and you can also see the URL in our show notes for this podcast. He's been nice enough to offer a 20% discount for any of the Harvest Growth podcast listeners, if you just use promo code, harvest, H-A-R-V-E-S-T as in, the Harvest Growth Podcast, just go to cleangogreengo.com, you can enter that and enjoy that discount on any of their great products.
I will say, Anthony is a client, Anthony is a friend but I've done a lot of cleaning products over the years and love this space. I'm not just a marketer, but also a user. It's an amazing line of products that really works. I've heard that claim so many times that I've got a green cleaner, but you almost can't say the two together, when they're green, they just don't clean well typically but CleanGo GreenGo is different. It's a very unique formulation.
It really wowed me from the first time that I was introduced to it and tried it many months ago, until certainly becoming a heavy user now. I'm really grateful for our relationship that I've found the product and that we're able to work on such a great product with Anthony as well. Anthony, are there any other questions that I didn't answer you'd like to share with our audience?
Anthony: Jon, I think we nailed it all. I can't thank you enough for having me on today to talk about our products. CleanGo GreenGo is definitely a unique brand, as you'd mentioned. As far as a green cleaner, I don't think we've got any direct competitors on the green side, that's for sure. I believe we're a very effective product and we wanted everybody to give us a try and definitely, we appreciate the feedback that anybody can give us.
Again, we can't thank you enough for having us on today and we hope that people utilize that discount code, Harvest, on our cleangogreengo.com site and we look forward to working with you for a long time, Jon, to see what we can accomplish together. Like I said, we're very thankful for you having us on today.
Jon: Well, thank you, Anthony. As I said, it' really exciting to be at this foundation. I know it's been working well already, the business has been growing. It's been successful but you can just tell with the foundation you're setting now, it's going to skyrocket even to more growth than we've experienced already so it's really fun to be part of it.
I want to say again, for our listeners, go to cleangogreengo.com to learn more about the product, about what Anthony's put together here, even if just to check it out. Also, be sure to check out harvestgrowthpodcast.com to see other episodes we've recorded. If you liked this episode and want to learn more about how you can profitably grow your consumer product business, please subscribe to our show and leave us a review at iTunes or Google Play.
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