Water purification system manufacturer closes on $1 million in venture financing
MADISON, WI, Jan. 13, 2011 -- AquaMost has secured a total of $1 million from investors, which will allow the company to hire three to five engineers and lab associates for commercial development of its water purification system...
• Financing will enable WARF licensee to hire engineers, produce units for commercial sale and continue research
MADISON, WI, Jan. 13, 2011 -- AquaMost, developer of an innovative water purification system with a wide range of applications, has secured a total of $1 million from investors including the Golden Angels Network of Milwaukee and Wisconsin Investment Partners of Madison.
Todd Asmuth, AquaMost president and CEO, said the successful round of fundraising will allow the company to hire three to five engineers and lab associates for commercial development of the system. The company has orders and a distribution plan in place and is working to turn its prototype devices into field-ready units.
Initial sales are expected within six months.
"Despite the challenging economic times, innovation is alive and well in Wisconsin and we are fortunate to have well-managed, Wisconsin-based venture capital sources willing to invest in job growth," said Asmuth, whose past business experience includes managing four different startups. "In the U.S. and abroad, fresh water supplies are increasingly compromised by a variety of environmental and industrial contaminants and our low-cost, proprietary technology provides an effective and scalable solution."
The AquaMost purification system combines a number of patented and patent-pending inventions originating from the labs of University of Wisconsin -- Madison scientists. The core technology is called photoelectrocatalytic oxidation (PECO), which uses ultraviolet light and a light-activated catalyst to eliminate a wide variety of chemical pollutants in water, including benzene, MTBE, pharmaceuticals, endocrine disruptors and pesticides, as well as harmful waterborne pathogens such as bacteria, fungi and viruses.
The technology was originally developed by UW researchers as a solution to problems in the aquaculture industry. As the research progressed, it became clear that the PECO technology had great potential for many uses, including hazardous waste cleanup and industrial remediation.
Terence Barry currently serves as the company's chief scientific officer, while UW research co-founders Marc Anderson, Dean Tompkins and Walt Zeltner serve on the company's scientific advisory board. The patents covering the core technology and other innovations are assigned to the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and licensed exclusively to AquaMost.
AquaMost's first strategic partner is a leading provider of custom environmental treatment systems that now provides remediation support for more than 300 of the nation's 136,000 verified leaking underground storage tanks. Extensive testing in the lab and field has proven the system's effectiveness at remediating viruses, bacteria and chemical pollutants in water; it also uses less energy than competing technologies.
"Our initial sales effort will focus on regional water service companies because our system can function as a stand-alone product or as a supplement to existing treatment systems,'' Asmuth said.
In addition to the $1 million in venture financing, AquaMost has submitted a proposal for a phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue advancing the findings of an initial project from 2008-2009. The company currently employs five and anticipates total employment of eight to 12 by the end of 2011. For more information, visit www.aquamostlabs.com.
Since its founding in 1925 to manage a UW -- Madison discovery that eventually eliminated the childhood disease rickets, WARF has been working with industry to transform university research into products that benefit society. As a private, nonprofit organization, WARF accomplishes its mission of supporting scientific research by patenting and licensing inventions arising from university discoveries. Since making its first grant of $1,200 in 1928, WARF has contributed more than $1 billion to UW -- Madison through annual "margin of excellence'' grants and other funding. For more information, visit www.warf.org.