From the complexities of the human genome to the wild outdoors, Utah’s entrepreneurs have turned technology and talents into useful products. Their interests are diverse. Numerous innovations in computer software and hardware reflect the entrepreneurs’ technical savvy, but outside the office, applications also beckon. There’s high profit potential for those who can improve the process for extracting oil from wells or help students learn with their technology. All in all, you’ll see Utah’s entrepreneurs are a creative bunch in this year’s list of the state’s High Tech 20.
Identigene Paternity Test
Sorenson Companies spreads a wide net, from medical devices to real estate to IT. Among those companies is Identigene, which offers DNA testing. Identigene’s latest product takes what was formerly a complicated process and makes it as easy as walking into the corner drug store. The Identigene DNA Paternity Test Collection Kit is sold over the counter at Rite Aid drug stores in 49 states; New York is the exception. The kit contains consent forms for the testing and swabs to collect the DNA sample from inside the mouth. The swabs containing the DNA are sent to Identigene for testing, and the results are available within three to five business days. It seems to be catching on quick; more than 50,000 retail kits have sold nationally.
In a world of YouTube and FaceBook, it’s not surprising that college-bound teenagers don’t want to be judged solely on admission scores like their parents were. Zinch has taken college admissions to a place where tech-savvy teens all around the world feel comfortable: the Web. On the receiving end of the custom applications are more than 4,000 institutions that include such heavyweights as Boston University, MIT and Stanford. Zinch, which started in 2007, already boasts the profiles of more than 300,000 high school students, with numbers growing every year.
Founded in 2007 by BYU students who were buoyed by their success in 10 business plan competitions across the United States, Klymit takes technology into the great outdoors by using noble gases, such as argon, to control the temperature of outerwear. The gas, which is non-toxic, is contained in a lipstick-size cartridge, released by turning a dial and pumped through the outerwear using valves. The valves carry the gas to sealed compartments in the jacket to offer “warmth on demand.” The technology is five times warmer than insulation provided by fabric. Klymit is now developing its technology for use in products such as gloves, pants, jackets and ski boots.
Fast, vast and secure. That’s the vision behind the ioDrive, which offers server storage with capabilities that make techies drool: 80GB, algorithms to protect against data loss and a product life of more than 250,000 hours. Founded in 2006, the technology was designed specifically for I/O applications and uses only one-one thousandths of the power of traditional devices. Its core architecture is the proprietary ioMemory, an advanced NAND clustering technology that’s incorporated in the ioDrive. Fusion-io secured $19 million in Series A financing, led by NEA, in March. The ioDrive was released in April.
An uninterruptible power supply can mean life or death in an emergency situation. For some organizations, such as a hospital or a military unit deployed in the field, every moment could bring such an emergency. That’s where the Lindon-based Power Innovations comes in. Its PowerHawk vehicle, used by emergency responders such as police and fire, is guided by satellite GPS and can provide power or lighting at the scene. The company also is working with the city of Pleasant Grove on a long-term project to create “an energy independent community that will have long-term sustainability,” says CEO and resident Robert Mount.
Would you drink water that had been used to pump gas from a deep well? Bob Waits, executive VP of Business and Government Affairs for 212 Resources, does that on a regular basis to prove that his company’s process for recycling the water removes all the harmful content. Using an evaporative process, 212 recovers the water – four to six barrels of H2O is used to pump one barrel of oil – so that it can be used again. With $250 million from GE Capital, 212 offers customers usage of the equipment upfront. “They pay as we perform,” Waits says. “It’s pretty powerful.”
Protecting intellectual property is a high priority for many companies these days. Paraben can monitor computers and handheld devices such as PDAs and track, for example, an individual file and determine which employee opened it and how long it was open. The company began working in the handheld digital device forensics field in 2002, “and we created the first tools to do the process quickly and easily,” says CEO Amber Schroader. The company provides products that can retrieve a deleted text or email messages, or even a deleted photograph from a phone. Schroader says about 60 percent of the company’s clients are from government or law enforcement sectors, with corporate clients comprising the remainder.
If you want to draw customers to your Website, you first need a way for them to know your company exists. Traditional advertising works well in many markets, but how can you reach the businesswoman in Timbuktu who is searching the Internet for the widgets that you make? OrangeSoda offers search engine optimization so your business will be on the first page of results for widget searches. The company, which focuses on small- and medium-sized organizations, also provides an in-depth report that tracks visitors to your site and in June, it became a reseller of Google’s AdWords advertising program to help clients find new customers.
Looking to take social networking to the next level, Spectrum DNA has created “Enginets,” or “engines of engagement” that provide content for the Web or wireless devices. With customizing its Enginets to each client, SpectrumDNA offers unique content that can be licensed or purchased outright. Among the specialized services are the Addictionary, which provides industry-specific jargon or language that’s specific to a particular demographic segment (for example: Zenvy - the jealously caused by people who are more “Zen” than you.) The Addictionary has gained national exposure through segments on Comedy Central.
American Biotech Labs
ASAP Skin & Body Care, one of the newest products from American Biotech Labs, uses the company’s patented SilverSol technology that kills bacteria by catalytic action rather than chemicals. It’s an alcohol-free gel that’s used to promote natural healing. All the products in the ASAP line use silver in low concentrations that have been clinically proven to be safe. While ASAP Skin & Body Care is a moisturizer, the company also makes a health supplement, two immune system supplements and a hospital-grade disinfectant. Accessories such as a nasal sprayer and eyedropper also are available.
The ubiquitous desktop computer has brought traditional email and the Web, says Sendside Networks CEO William Borghetti, but still “there is all this information out there that is coming by paper.” It’s a problem his company has addressed by creating a secure and interactive platform that, for example, allows users to exchange edited documents that show when the document was received and whether it’s the most current draft. The architecture also can send a multi-dimensional message with tabs, “almost like a mini-Website,” rather than the traditional attachment, Borghetti says. Currently, Sendside is focusing on clients in the financial sector because the industry requires secure communications that can be archived.
Asierus Office AnyWare
Setting up the IT portion of a business can be challenging for executives who would rather devote their time to other tasks. Asierus not only offers to take on the task, but manages it so the IT guy never needs to be tracked down. The seven components of the Office AnyWare product supply everything from basic hardware to around-the-clock support. If you’re out of the office but want to log in, the Access AnyWare allows you to log onto your desktop; the Secure AnyWare provides multi-layer security against such difficulties as unauthorized access and malware.
Vehicle accidents kill more than 5,000 teenager drivers each year. Two-thirds of those who die aren’t wearing seatbelts; inattentive driving is a frequent cause. Inthinc took the expertise it developed with its Independent Witness and waySmart products, which have been used to decrease accidents on NASCAR racetracks and with commercial drivers, and devoted itself to a product to help teens. The tiwi product tracks a teen’s speed, seatbelt usage and acceleration rates. “Those behaviors are sensed by the unit and you get an alert in the car,” says Todd Fullmer, president of inthinc motorsports division. The unit informs the driver, but also logs the data for parental access.
Trained dogs can sniff drugs, explosives, cancerous tumors and spoiled food. The NanoNose being developed by the North Logan-based QualSec “is like a canine but more consistent,” says Joel Hand, co-founder and CEO. The technological nose can also detect a variety of other items.
Using nanotechnology, the “nose” provides an instantaneous readout on site rather than the long wait and laboratory equipment required for gas chromatography. The publicly traded company, based in North Logan, has received inquiries from defense agencies and the food industry, and expects to have a production model within nine months, Hand says.
Computers are an integral part of the school classroom today. The benefits of technology, however, also come with its drawbacks: Rather than focusing on the lesson, kids could be surfing the Web, emailing friends or playing games. LanSchool’s award-winning programs help teachers keep kids on track by monitoring – and in some cases controlling – student computers. The latest product, LanSchool v7.1 has additional features, such as monitoring keystrokes, control of USB devices for each computer, and an icon that allows students to send a question to the teacher.
The rising cost of energy has businesses conserving out of ne-cessity as well as conscience. The Illumra self-powered wireless controls from Ad Hoc Electronics replace traditional light switches and therefore reduce copper wire and other hardware needed for installation. The Illumra switches and sensors communicate on a radio frequency with the building’s control system to regulate lighting and temperature. The controls also can be used for security systems, blinds or almost any device with an on/off switch. In place of a battery, Illumra has a solar cell and a built-in micro-generator that powers the transmitter.
Going shopping in the virtual world can sometimes be as time-consuming as pushing a cart up and down the aisles in the real world. To help a business’ customers find precisely the right product, Verango’s new Tagsoda organizes an e-commerce product directory, says CEO Joel Otterstrom. The merchant also benefits from a “pay-per-sale” rather than “pay-per-click” policy. Website publishers, on the other hand, can place tags that are specific to content. The company also provides information such as the most popular items for shoppers. Next up for Verango, Otterstrom says, “is to partner with more publishers and ad directors.”
Mountain West Energy
Oil shale and tar sands have recovered the spotlight in the energy area. Mountain West Energy’s in-situ vapor extraction technology, which has a patent pending, extracts oil from non-traditional sources. The technology is expected to double the recovery rate of oil from a well by vaporizing the oil then extracting it as a gas rather than a liquid. The technology has been shown to work in computer simulations at the University of Utah. Field testing started last spring, with actual production slated for later in the year.
Your smartphone is one step away from acting like a laptop with REDFLY, a terminal that allows you to read or send email, view Websites and view smartphone accessories on a large screen. While REDFLY does have a full keyboard, it doesn’t have an operating system, CPU or storage, so it provides protection against data loss. The terminal connects to the smartphone through a USB cable or Bluetooth. Although REDFLY weighs two pounds, it’s almost small enough to fit in a pants pocket: 1 x 6 x 9 inches, with an eight-inch screen. The battery lasts eight hours with normal usage.
“Everybody has been waiting for the proliferation of broadband access” to reach the far corners of the globe, says Jim Erickson, vice president of marketing for Agilix. So far, that hasn’t happened, even though people all over the world are eager for benefits such as on-line learning. So, Agilix has offered a solution: software that doesn’t require Internet access. “We’ve taken on-line learning off line,” Erickson says. The company’s GoCourse product is a self-contained learning system that allows an educational organization to distribute its content on a media stick. Students participate on site; one laptop can run the entire system.