Published in Health Care

Tech startup brings disinfection technology to new markets

BY Sunday, January 13, 2019 01:12pm

GRAND HAVEN — After first launching a device to kill germs in health care settings, UV Partners Inc. has a new product to disinfect and charge cell phones while working or driving.

The company’s UV Angel Aura Clean & Charge embeds into a wireless charging base technology that senses germs and automatically disinfects a smartphone, which according to a 2012 University of Arizona study can carry far more bacteria than a toilet seat.

The Aura Clean & Charge will launch in the second quarter and expands the Grand Haven-based UV Partners’ disinfecting technology platform into a new product area. The technology uses sensors and low-dose ultraviolet light to detect and kill germs. The company intends to continue developing a series of products based on the platform.

“We have a number of products in the pipeline,” UV Partners CEO Tom Byrne said. “Our technology platform started in health care purposely. We wanted to work with those experts and make sure that we are doing what we say we do and that it’s effective. We want to continue then to bring that to other market spaces.”

UV Partners showed off the Aura Clean & Charge this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The company’s first device, UV Angel, came out in 2018 and targets the health care market, an area where hospital-acquired infections kill thousands of people annually. The device mounts on surfaces such as computer keyboards, touchscreens and medical equipment. The system’s sensors continuously monitor the surface and turns on the UV light when it detects bacteria.

The company now aims to branch into new markets that represent a “natural” step beyond health care.

“Our world is continuing first and foremost to expand our health care presence. We think that’s where the worst of bacteria lies and pathogens are, and we can have a major impact on saving those lives,” Byrne said. “We’re going to continue to focus our immediate use cases in that health care space, and then we will expand into food services and corporate environments that are probably the next new areas where we see the greatest need.”

Some of the new product development will occur with Grand Haven-based GHSP Inc., which also displayed new products at CES that use UV Partners’ technology.

Working through a strategic partnership formed in 2018 with UV Partners, GHSP displayed a cleaning and wireless charging device similar to Aura for use in vehicles, and a device to use in kitchens and appliances, such as the crisper drawer in a refrigerator, countertops or oven handles.

The strategic partnership with GHSP, a JSJ Corp.-owned company that made a $3 million equity investment in UV Partners last summer, “allowed us to have a really nice, seamless integration into a couple of spaces that they control,” Byrne said.

“It’s been a great partnership and allows us to innovate as a company as well,” he said. “Our partners bring those markets to us and we can adapt the technology to them where we see the use cases. Clearly, it’s been a great way to see a technology platform continue to evolve, and not just building devices but the utilization inside other segments.”

UV Partners initially will target the UV Angel Aura Clean & Charge for commercial markets and intends to develop and introduce a consumer version later in 2019.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Tom Byrne was the founder of UV Angel. The company was founded by Chairman Ted Cole. 

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