• Ecotech Marine and AI merge?

    The news that AI and Ecotech Marine merged on a development level spread quickly today. An email arrived at 10:15 a.m. and social media shared it swiftly into the reefing community.

    The official announcement:

    EcoTech Marine and C2 Development (makers of the AquaIllumination product line)

    EcoTech Marine and AquaIllumination have merged to better meet the needs of consumers while maintaining a separate brand presence in the market. Both companies will continue to manufacture distinct product lines.

    "This merger gives both the EcoTech and AI brands the ability to thrive while filling specific market niches within the aquarium industry. The joint company will better meet the needs of each brandís respective customers"
    - Tim Marks, President of EcoTech Marine.

    "This merger will allow AI greater capacity to develop and grow while staying true to our legacy of industry defining products."
    - Chris Clough, President of C2 Development

    "Our combined engineering and software development teams will enable both brands to develop better products and platforms. Ultimately, hobbyists will be the ones that benefit most from this merger."
    - Justin Lawyer, Director of R&D at EcoTech

    Merger FAQ

    Will the either brand be absorbed?
    No, both brands will remain independent. This exciting merger is designed to capitalize on the operational and infrastructure advantages that result from the merger of two US based manufacturers. Product lines and branding will remain separate and occur at the separate Iowa and Pennsylvania facilities.

    Will retailer and distribution channels stay the same?
    Yes, there will be no changes to the distribution channels. AI products will remain distributed by AI and EcoTech products will be distributed by EcoTech.

    Will there be any changes to EcoTech or AI sales policies?
    No. There will be no changes to EcoTech or AI sales policies.

    Who do I contact for customer support?
    EcoTech and AI customer support channels will remain exactly as they are currently. There will be no change to the support numbers, emails, or location. Warranty support, warranty conditions and product support will remain unchanged.

    Will EcoTech products be sold under the AI brand or vice versa?
    No, the brands, products and distribution will remain independent.
    After reading the above, I reached out to Ecotech to get a little more information because it just didn't seem to mean anything to me if both parties continue to do business as before. Then what's the point of the merger?

    By combining the two separate Research & Development departments, costs can be lowered and create a better competitive edge against the Chinese copies that have been flooding the market in recent years.

    Ecotech Marine and Aqua Illumination manufacture their printed circuit board assemblies in house, meaning they are "Made in America" - a selling point to many U.S. consumers. The parts that are used to build these boards have been purchased by each company, but with this merger they will purchase the same parts in bigger quantities and get those costs down due to more competitive pricing. Essentially, Ecotech and AI will be buying twice as many LEDs per year. There will be some savings in shipping, but the quantity is what makes the difference and benefits these two businesses and diminishes costs over time.

    With a close personal relationship for more than six years, it makes sense that these two leaders would join forces and find better solutions in today's economy. For now, nothing else will be disclosed other than the press release.

    Will AI Director and EcoSmart Live connect at some point? Will the Ecotech Battery Backup supply emergency power to an AI Hydra fixture? Will MAP pricing come down to hold off the Chinese cloned lights? We'll have to wait and see.
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. twomonsters's Avatar
      twomonsters -
      To me the big fish always eats the small one. I personally think it makes no sense to keep going the way they were before, then why merge? Eventually I believe Ecotech will take over AI, they both put out excellent products.

      As time goes on IMO you will see all accessories become interchangeable between the two lines.
    1. OneReef's Avatar
      OneReef -
      I wish they would stay separate. Competition creates innovation. Like Samsung vs Apple