University of Kentucky (UK) startup PowerTech Water (PTW) has come a long way since their founding in 2014 by Cameron Lippert and James Landon. PTW was built on the research of Dr. Landon and his research group at UK. The technology was based on modifying the properties of carbon materials so they could become high functioning electrodes, which led to the group developing ways to purify water by using these carbon-based electrodes in devices. They were able to perform water softening in a revolutionary way and eliminate the quick degradation of the electrodes making the technology commercially viable.

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PowerTech Water Leadership

2018 Annual Report

2018 OTC Annual Report (click to open in Issuu)

The 2018 Annual Report shows how the OTC has been "Fostering Growth in Innovation" over the past year.

We want to thank the University of Kentucky research community for proving us right: there is an amazing amount of innovation going on at UK! 

This year was a period of growth for our office and UK commercialization capabilities. It was our first full year with a Commercialization & Licensing team, rolling out new marketing materials, licensing strategies and technology partnership initiatives. This growth led to 29 licenses and options executed in FY18, a 123% increase from last year and the most ever in a year for the University.

Read it now on Issuu  

 

By The Numbers

101 inventions

disclosed in FY 2018

$2.35 million

in gross royalty income in FY 2018

23 patents

issued to UK in FY 2018

$5 million

in income distributed to inventors since 2010

126 licenses & options

active as of June 30, 2018

$14.62 million

income distributed to colleges & departments since 2010

Featured UK Starup

 POWERTECH WATER’S FUTURE IS BRIGHT WITH HIRE OF KEY ENTREPRENEUR

University of Kentucky (UK) startup PowerTech Water (PTW) has come a long way since their founding in 2014 by Cameron Lippert and James Landon. PTW was built on the research of Dr. Landon and his research group at UK. The technology was based on modifying the properties of carbon materials so they could become high functioning electrodes, which led to the group developing ways to purify water by using these carbon-based electrodes in devices. They were able to perform water softening in a revolutionary way and eliminate the quick degradation of the electrodes making the technology commercially viable.

“Every scientist dreams of seeing their work become something useful in the world. The opportunity to be a key player in bringing this science out of the lab and into the world was too exciting to not dive into,” said Dr. Lippert, co-founder and chief executive officer of PTW.

Over time, PTW has been working diligently to create a commercially viable product. Five years after the founding of the company, another key player has been added to the leadership team. Keith Jacobs has been named the president and chief operating officer.

Jacobs has extensive experience with startups and business. Twenty years ago, he founded a startup, Jacobs Automation, based on his advanced robotics technology called TRAK®. “I was fortunate enough to attract a great team of highly dedicated folks and together we built our dream into a reality,” said Jacobs. They received funding from the Bluegrass Angels (BGA), Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC), Commonwealth Seed Capital (CSC) and other investors. Because the company did so well, Jacobs was able to sell the company in 2014 to Rockwell Automation, where his robotics system has been fully integrated into Rockwell’s Allen-Bradley automation product.

Jacobs consulted with PTW for almost two years before becoming an official part of the team. While consulting, PTW was able to see the immense value and skills in startup operations and high-tech equipment manufacturing he could bring to the team. Lippert said, “Our interest in bringing Keith on board was for his ability to facilitate our transition into production and streamline our internal operations.” For Jacobs, his interest in PTW stemmed from the company having all the elements of a great startup: groundbreaking technology, a smart dedicated team, a great business model and solid investor backing.

Since Jacobs joined the team, he has established a robust process for their internal operations including backend operations such as human resources, accounting and bookkeeping details. He has also facilitated rapid growth in the company’s product development and production activities. With the involvement of Jacobs, PTW has launched its first-generation product into the market place and their sales pipeline is growing rapidly.

What does the future hold for PTW? “The future is bright as we build a technology based on the advancements made at UK. We see this technology advancing into multiple aspects of water treatments yielding numerous types of products,” said Lippert. “We have greater aspirations to see this technology platform advance beyond water treatment and want to see this core technology become part of the solution to energy storage (batteries and capacitors) and chemicals production. We believe this technology platform will play a critical role in providing solutions to the energy-water-food nexus challenge.”

The addition of Jacobs to the PTW team shows the importance of startups recognizing and understanding what skills they need to be successful and finding the right people with those skills to help the company be successful.