American Venture Magazine, October 17, 2007.
University Spinout Aims to Lower Cost of Clean Water
Stonybrook Purification, a spinout of Stony Brook University, today announced the close of the first tranche of a $4.1 million Series A investment led by Battery Ventures. T2 Venture Capital (T2VC), the founding investor and early incubator of the company, also participated in this round, along with new investors Modern Water and TianDi Growth Capital.
Stonybrook Purification was co-founded by Ben Chu, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, and Ben Hsiao, Chairman of the Chemistry Department, at Stony Brook University. The company's patented technology is based on years of research by Professors Chu and Hsiao. The company will bring to market a novel concept for increasing the performance of high flux membranes for a variety of purification, filtration, and desalination applications. The technology has the potential to significantly increase the performance of and reduce the costs of processing water on a large scale.
The company also announced that water industry veteran Clint Kopp has joined as Chief Technology Officer. Kopp was previously VP R&D/Chief Technical Officer of Memtec, Ltd. Kopp helped guide Memtec's membrane technology development from inception to approximately $300 million in revenue and an acquisition by Siemens. "It's exciting to join a company at this stage, with so much opportunity in what is readily acknowledged as a multi-billion dollar worldwide market," said Kopp. "Because of Professor Chu and Professor Hsiao's scientific prowess, we are in an exceptional position to commercialize this technology. Today's financing will help us accelerate that path as we work to bring their discoveries to market."
T2VC's Managing Director Victor Hwang, also a company cofounder, is serving as interim CEO. T2VC is the venture affiliate of Larta Institute, a leading organization that commercializes technologies from government agencies and universities. Said Hwang, "It's satisfying to find such compelling technology and be in a position to secure investment and hire talent to build a company around it. We are lucky to attract someone of Clint Kopp's caliber, whose direct experience scaling membrane technology and whose in-depth knowledge of worldwide water markets is an ideal fit."
Professor Chu, said, "Although Professor Hsiao and I have been at the forefront of scientific research in this area for years, this is an incredible step for us. With 40% of the world lacking access to clean drinking water, we are very excited by the prospect of turning our breakthrough into a commercial product that can potentially improve the lives of millions of people."
"We have the opportunity to invest in a lot of companies in the advanced materials space and recognize the potential these advancements have to significantly impact many industries," said David Dreessen, Partner at Battery Ventures. "In the case of Stonybrook, we have a potential game changing technology intersecting with a great market opportunity."