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HQ: Ann Arbor, MI

Founded: 2000


Management: CEO Malcolm Kahn has held senior positions at several companies, including Membrex, a membrane technology company, and Kratos, an analytical instruments company. He also worked at Millipore Corp., a biotech tools company, and spent nine years at Pfizer. Vice President of Research and Development John Czaban has extensive experience in the development of sensor-based medical devices.

Investors: In August, the company completed a $12 million Series C round of financing from Ardesta, Firelake Capital, NGEN Partners, Technology Partners, and Topspin Partners.

Business Model: Sensicore has developed a “lab-on-a-chip” sensor that enables fast and inexpensive monitoring and profiling of water quality. The core technology was developed at the University of Michigan and is licensed to Sensicore for commercialization. The company’s first product, WaterPOINT, is a handheld water tester. It was launched earlier this year. According to the company, the device allows field personnel to obtain water test results in just minutes – four, to be exact – drastically shortening a process that usually takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, or longer if samples have to be brought back to a lab for analysis. The company also claims that the product, which tests for substances such as chlorine, calcium, ammonium, and carbon dioxide, is easy to use, requires no training, and delivers lab-quality results. Target markets include municipalities and industries.

Competitors: Aquapure, Hach Company

Dirt: Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink…But not if Sensicore can help it. Since water quality is a global issue and market opportunity, Sensicore’s potential for growth is big – and we suspect it has big ambitions. On the other hand, selling to municipalities, which is one of their initial markets, can put a small company at the mercy of fickle government budgets and slow spending cycles.

Sensicore falls into a category of eco-friendly companies – which have been getting a lot of attention from VCs. These so-called “green technology” startups focus on products and services that aim to improve the environment (such as alternative energy sources).

But Sensicore also has designs on markets beyond water quality. For instance, the chemical-sensing technologies at the core of its current product line may eventually be used to measure blood chemistry.


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Tagged: Computing

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