VCs Back Water Tester Firm

Sensicore gets $12 million to launch networked silicon-based water testing devices.


 

August 29, 2005

Venture capitalists committed $12 million in another round of financing for Sensicore, a startup that promises to make testing the water supply as simple as checking email. Innovations in water testing and purification have come from startups rather than utilities (see Water Startups Sink or Swim). Water monitoring has become a particularly interesting place to innovate as experts express concern over potential terrorist attacks on the water system.

Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Sensicore uses disposable, silicon based chips to run a panel of water tests.  It plans to launch two products designed to test water for the presence of various chemicals as well as acidity and mineral deposits. The company plans to sell a handheld monitor called WaterPOINT it hopes will replace the old method of sending a water sample to the lab to be tested by a technician.  It will also sell a product called WaterNow, which links its silicon sensors to the Internet via cellular phone networks. The company then collects the data, processes it, and delivers it to a municipality or big business in a variety of colorful graphs and charts. It makes taking a snapshot of water quality across a large area as easy as opening another window on a computer desktop.

Sensicore CEO Malcolm Kahn said he hoped to sell into any industry using water. He said the startup’s products had gotten interest from a large automaker that wanted to monitor water in its cooling towers and treatment plants. The startup’s venture capitalists all piled in for another round. Ardesta, Firelake Capital Management, NGEN Partners, Technology Partners, and Topspin Partners all reinvested in the startup.

“My guys looked at this thing and said, 'We’d like more,' so that’s what we did,” Mr. Kahn said. “Several of them took more than their pro rata share.” Sensicore has raised $27.5 million in three rounds since its founding in 2000. It employs 39.

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http://www.redherring.com/PrintArticle.aspx?a=13376&sector=Industries 9/9/2005

 

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