Nano Magic specializes in nanotechnology-powered solutions with a focus on liquid industrial and consumer products to apply to surfaces such as glass, porcelain and ceramic.
A Jewish son and father, born and raised in Metro Detroit, have reinvigorated a once-struggling business.
Tom Berman and his father, Ron Berman, are breathing new life into Nano Magic, which specializes in nanotechnology-powered solutions with a focus on liquid industrial and consumer products to apply to surfaces such as glass, porcelain and ceramic.
Tom Berman, Nano Magic’s president and CEO, is an attorney by trade who also served a term as an Oakland County commissioner. Ron Berman helped start Rock Financial with business mogul Dan Gilbert in 1985 and has decades of business experience in Metro Detroit.
Nano Magic was originally two different companies that merged, one based in Cleveland, NanoFilm Ltd., and one based in Austin, Texas, Applied Nanotech Inc.
The merger occurred in 2014, and through 2018, they were never able to integrate well. On top of that, the business was on the brink of bankruptcy.
Ron Berman was on the board of directors of Applied Nanotech Inc. and survived the merger. He remained on the board but would just be on quarterly board calls. It wasn’t until the summer of 2018 that he heard about the challenges the company was experiencing, and he was surprised to hear it. At that time, he saw an opportunity to help turn around a once-strong company.
“My dad actually approached me,” Tom Berman said. “I had just left a company I helped build and grow, and it was fun to help parent their child, but it was time for me to start my own thing. I was working on a startup at the time, and my dad, knowing that, asked me if I would be interested in partnering with him in helping turn around this venture.”
The company was in rough shape and had significant debt, but seeing a diamond in the rough, they decided to take a stab at it.
“We put in some of our own personal money, we raised a few dollars from some family and friends and initial investors, and we negotiated an offering with the then-majority owner of the business to issue new stock and give us operational and financial control of the company,” Tom Berman said.
He said they’ve faced a lot of challenges but have clawed their way out of the grave. Nano Magic is now debt-free, according to Tom, helped by fundraising as well as the coronavirus pandemic leading more consumers to purchase cleaning and anti-fog products.
“We’ve made significant progress, we’ve continued to have a few fundraising rounds and we have a lot of support and great investors, the majority of them from the Detroit Metro area, many of them Jewish,” Tom said.
Moving to the Motor City
After taking control, the Bermans felt they needed to move the company to Detroit to take the company to the next level.
“Not just out of convenience, but we really believed in the talent pool, the resources the region provides in supply chain and other partnership opportunities,” Tom said.
Nano Magic in fall 2020 moved its operations from Ohio to Madison Heights, taking space in a 30,000-square-foot facility.
Tom said an important strategic initiative was to help support this region in the hiring process, and getting to do it in Metro Detroit, a place he was born and raised, means that much more.
Nano Magic is doing a lot on the social impact front, developing a “Buy an Ounce, Give an Ounce” philosophy, similar to TOMS Shoes.
“Everything we do here you can measure in ounces, and we’re supporting charities and other initiatives aligned with our mission and meaningful to our team. We’re going to be doing a lot on that front, and I think those things really set us apart from our competition.”
Nano Magic products, including eyeglass cleaner, defogging products and nano-coated products for glass and ceramics, can be found in Walgreens and Lowe’s stores across the country, along with NanoMagic.com, Amazon Marketplace, Walmart Marketplace, Lowes.com, Homedepot.com and more.
“Without disclosing confidential information, you will see us in more to come,” Tom said. “We’ve hired 40 people in the last few months. We’re growing, doing some pretty cool things and really developing the Nano Magic brand identity.”
Ron Berman, who lives in Florida but has traveled to Michigan every other week for the past eight months, serves as the senior vice president of sales and marketing along with being a board member. The elder Berman is not certain this venture could have turned around without his son at the helm.
“I told the board I’m not going to put any more money in this company, and I’m not going to get anyone else to put money into it unless two things happen: I get control of the company and I get somebody who can manage it,” Ron said. “And that’s when I realized what Tom had accomplished and that he had the full skillset necessary to be the quarterback for this venture, and so far it’s proving to be true.”
With expected millions of Americans using Nano Magic products this year and with distribution in 92 countries already, the Berman father-and-son duo have big goals.
“To build something locally, and I think I can go anywhere in the United States a few years from now and everyone will know who we are, to build not a national but international and global brand, that’s our goal,” Ron said. “To think this company out of Detroit all of a sudden can be a household name, it’s exciting, it’s motivating.”