Photonic Innovations chief executive Dr Ojas Mahapatra says
his company's technology has the potential to deliver
increased accuracy in toxic gas detection. Photo supplied.
A start-up company, which aims to commercialise novel gas
detection technology, has secured funding thanks to a new
partnership between Dunedin's Upstart business incubator and
Christchurch-based seed fund investor powerHouse Ventures Ltd.
Although Photonic Innovations chief executive Dr Ojas
Mahapatra could not reveal the exact sum, the partnership
allowed for three or more local technology-based businesses
each year to receive six-figure sums in early stage
The company hoped to commercialise technology that was
developed by Prof Andrew Wilson's research group at the Jack
Dodd Centre for Quantum Technology and department of physics
at the University of Otago.
The technology could deliver increased accuracy and
confidence in toxic gas detection at a reduced ''whole life''
cost, Dr Mahapatra said.
The funding would ensure the recruitment of technical
specialists and other staff for the company, he said.
PowerHouse managing partner Stephen Hampson was confident his
company's investment in the business would pay dividends, not
only for investors but also the South Island's high-tech
Detection of hazardous gases in an industrial environment was
a legal requirement to safeguard employees.
Gas detection systems were used commonly in various
industries such as oil and gas, mining petrochemicals, steel
plants, utilities and wineries and the gas detection market
was estimated to be worth $3.3 billion by 2018.
''We see that the technology has great promise in playing an
important role in keeping people safe in these industries.
''Photonics is a local company at the forefront of innovation
in the gas detection industry and we are proud to help them
develop by providing capital that complements Upstart's
incubation capabilities,'' Dr Hampson said.
Upstart chief executive Steve Silvey said Photonic
Innovations was a great example of local research that needed
the boost of seed stage funding to develop a saleable
It was encouraging that the funding would ''translate
swiftly'' into jobs in the region.