Marcus Gaughan’s story is one of recognizing tremendous opportunities.
Born and raised in Guelph, Marcus moved to Kitchener-Waterloo to study Material Nanoscience and Business at the University of Waterloo and Marketing at Conestoga College. After selling tech supplies in the manufacturing sphere for a couple years, Marcus launched CapacityM—a tech company that matches manufacturers with excess capacity equipment.
“We’re a resource for excess manufacturing,” Marcus explains. “If you need to build something—if you’re a product builder, a manufacturer who has too much work or machines down—you come to us and we find you the machinery that you need that is sitting idle at another manufacturing plant. Then, you can get your stuff built through their equipment.”
However, this year presented Marcus and CapacityM with some unexpected challenges.
“We spent last year working with the Founder Institute, WEtech Alliance, Conestoga College and Innovation Factory programs,” Marcus reports. “We were building out our network of manufacturers. We’d spent a whole year working on these expansive pilot projects. Then the pandemic hit. It basically wiped out all of our revenue.”
Not one to tolerate stalled momentum, Marcus and his team quickly adapted to the new business ecosystem.
“We pivoted into personal protective equipment (PPE),” Marcus states. “And that’s been pretty rough. There are a lot of huge deals we worked on, but didn’t get much sales with. There’s a lot of distrust in that sphere. But now, we’re working with different companies in health and safety. We’re bringing in different health and safety compliance products. It’s a market that’s been exploding post-COVID, and it’s only growing going forward.”
“It’s really easy to find people who like your idea, but won’t give you any money for it.”
Thus far, with patents submitted and presales coming in, CapacityM’s new direction has been a promising one.
“We’re assembling manufacturers,” Marcus explains. “We’re looking at doing some work with insurance companies, city authorities and other large suppliers.”
And all this is evidence of the continued persistence that Marcus encourages other young entrepreneurs to embody.
“It’s really easy to find people who like your idea, but won’t give you any money for it,” Marcus admits. “The lesson that’s taught me is to take the opportunity in front of you. There are a lot of times when you’re lost in a sea of what ifs. There can be 100, 500 or 1000 people that you’ve talked to over the course of a year, two years or three years. And every single one might sound like a sale, until you ask them for a dollar. Then they disappear off the face of the earth. That’s kind of how you learn. It makes you realistic about how you build a business. It helps you recognize the real opportunities when they’re in front of you.”
And all that preparation and rejection, Marcus explains, prepares you for your most important success: your first real transaction.
“That first break, that icebreaker that you hit, that becomes the most important thing,” Marcus states. “Over the last six months, when we first pivoted into PPE, it was challenging. All these big deals with no commitments. You chase your tail and chase your tail and chase your tail. But, eventually something comes through.”
Marcus also stresses the importance of reacting to changes in the market.
“When we saw that no one was trading manufacturing goods after the pandemic hit, we shifted over into PPE,” Marcus explains. “Now, we’re working with the City of Hamilton and the City of Windsor. We’re in new marketplaces where we’re trying to sell new products. We’re supporting other businesses by drop-shipping their products. Just take the opportunity that’s in front of you.”
“Capacity M is such a wonderful example of the value that comes from strategically opening our doors to tech companies that may not be from our region, but can look at our region as a new home base.” said Director of Venture Services for WEtech Alliance, Adam Castle. “In the case of Capacity M, we have the worlds most dense cluster of MTDM and Advanced manufacturers right here in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent, and we immediately saw the potential of delivering Capacity M’s solution to one of our biggest sectors.
Castle added that as a graduate of the ScaleUP program, Capacity M has proven to not only be adaptable and agile, but a true benefit to our region. “Marcus continues to build his business while putting the needs of the customer first. With them at the living center of his operations, it provides a constant flow of information that makes every decision or pivot a smart one.”
Michael Seguin was born with a pen in his hands and too many words floating around his skull. Since then, he’s worked tirelessly to get them out. Unfortunately, more keep taking their place. After university, he began dabbling in marketing and journalism. At the age of 26, he became the first in-house writer at Windsor Life Magazine, an esteemed local publication. As the newest member of the WEtech Alliance team, Michael is dedicated to lending a voice to the tech sector around Windsor and Chatham-Kent