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Two U Startups Named Among “Best University Startups 2016”

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Two University of Minnesota startups received national recognition today for their potential to create jobs, advance technology and meet societal challenges in industry and the environment.

Innotronics and Minnepura, both launched by the U’s Venture Center, were named among the 35 “Best University Startups 2016” by the National Council of Entrepreneurial Tech Transfer (NCET2), an association of university startup officers. The startups were chosen from a group of 200 submitted companies launched by universities across the U.S.

Innotronics

Sensors can play an important role in guiding the work of heavy machinery used in a range of industries, such as construction, agriculture and manufacturing. Installing such sensors, however, is often an expensive and difficult process.

Innotronics LLC, based in Stillwater, Minn., develops sensors that do not need to physically connect to the moving parts inside industrial equipment, including hydraulic and pneumatic actuators, pumps and other moving parts. These new sensors, which can placed on the outside of a piece of equipment and take position measurements using magnetic fields, cost less than existing sensors and are easier to install.

The company’s sensors are designed for use in construction and agriculture vehicles, as well as in industrial handling systems.

Innotronics, led by CEO Michael Gust and Principal Engineer Ryan Madson, is based on scientific discoveries by Rajesh Rajamani, Ph.D., professor of mechanical engineering with the College of Science and Engineering, who is also chief scientific officer with the company.

Minnepura Technologies

Chemical pollution from industry activities and agricultural runoff contaminates lakes, streams and groundwater, posing a health risk for humans and animals alike.

While it’s possible to remove these chemicals from our water, the methods for doing so are often complex, costly and unsustainable.

Minnepura Technologies Inc., based in St. Paul, Minn., has commercialized a low-cost, bacteria-based biotechnology that naturally removes dangerous chemicals from waterways by breaking down contaminants into harmless, environmentally friendly byproducts. The company develops custom biotechnology solutions to suit specific industrial or municipal water purification needs.

Minnepura, led by President and CEO Paul Hansen, is based on scientific discoveries by two researchers with the College of Science and Engineering and BioTechnology Institute who are also technical advisers with the company: Alptekin Aksan, Ph.D., associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Larry Wackett, Ph.D., Distinguished McKnight University Professor of biochemistry, molecular biology and biophysics.

See the complete list of companies named among the Best University Startups 2016 or see the press release for more information.

Kevin Coss

Kevin Coss

Kevin is a writer and public relations associate with the Office of the Vice President for Research.

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