(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is another is a series of articles providing updates on start-ups previously profiled on teknovation.biz.)
By Tom Ballard, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Initiatives, Pershing Yoakley & Associates, P.C.
We caught-up with Ray Slatton of SecureWaters, Inc., recently and learned of a number of developments at the company that we first profiled about 18 months ago in a teknovation.biz article.
“We have a lot of things in the works,” the company’s Chief Executive Officer said, the most notable being a new iteration of its AquaSentinel product.
When we first met Slatton, the Soddy Daisy-based businessman was negotiating a license with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for the AquaSentinel, a patented bio-sensor technology that can monitor and protect water utilities.
After securing the license in late 2010, Slatton and his team began developing a Generation 3 device, while also presenting the technology at various conferences and seeking outside investors. One of the Gen 3 devices is currently deployed for beta testing at an American Water Works facility in Virginia.
Like many start-ups, SecureWaters’ journey has not been linear.
In early 2013, the company moved manufacturing to Tullahoma, although Slatton continues to be based in Soddy Daisy.
“We did a pivot a few months ago,” Slatton told us at a recent event at Tech 20/20.
That change brought about a rebranding with a new webpage and tagline – “The Voice of WaterTM” – and a corresponding emphasis on the environmental rather than industrial market.
Securing outside investors has been a challenge, although the soft spoken Slatton believes it will be easier with the advent of the Generation 4 device.
He explained that the “heart of the AquaSentinel” is a device called a fluorometer. When SecureWaters signed the license with ORNL, the company was using a fluorometer that cost $21,000.
“The new design reduces the cost of the unit 80 percent compared to a year ago,” Slatton said. The savings come from a sole purpose fluorometer, designed specifically for the AquaSentinel, with a significantly lower manufacturing cost.