OptiEnz Sensors LLC, a startup company that spun out of research from Colorado State University with the assistance of CSU Ventures, has named Steve Witt as CEO.
OptiEnz Sensors, a client company of Rocky Mountain Innosphere in Fort Collins, develops biosensors for continuous monitoring of organic chemicals in food and beverage processing, industrial fermentations, and water supplies. OptiEnz already has a prototype for continuous monitoring that is being tested in a variety of settings, and with a new CEO, the company is immediately focusing on customer trials.
“Steve brings an ideal blend of technical and business expertise, along with experience in large and small companies. With Steve on board, we can really accelerate our progress toward commercialization,” said Ken Reardon, Colorado State professor of chemical and biological engineering who is also CTO and co-founder of OptiEnz Sensors. “Steve joins the company with extensive leadership experience and vast knowledge of the test and measurement industry.”
Witt has worked in several entrepreneurial roles including Vice President of Business Development for Constant Wave, an early stage company in Colorado Springs. Some of Witt’s other positions have included President of Compressor Controls Corp., a global business which delivers solutions for turbo-machinery control applications in the oil and gas industry, and Vice President and General Manager for Agilent Technologies in Colorado Springs, developing and delivering telecommunication test equipment.
Applications in a wide range of industries
OptiEnz’s prototype for continuous monitoring is in customer trials in two primary markets: industrial control processes and environmental water monitoring.
The company’s devices allow users to continuously measure the concentration of organic chemicals in water, and the technology can be used in a wide range of applications such as monitoring for pollutants in a river, detecting contaminants in ground water, optimizing the production of pharmaceuticals, or tracking the level of sugar during fermentation processes.
OptiEnz biosensors are placed directly in the stream or reaction vessel, so there is no need for someone to painstakingly remove samples, send them to a laboratory and wait hours or days for results. This allows their customers to get the information they need rapidly so they can optimize their process and quickly take corrective actions.
“OptiEnz is a great company and I’m excited to lead us toward commercialization,” said Witt. “CSU Ventures has been very supportive of the company. They’ve enabled us to put two patents in place and we have six more pending. Being a client company of the Innosphere has also set up a great ecosystem for us. There’s a lot of entrepreneurial energy that comes with being surrounded by other high-caliber startups. Working with the SAGE advisors and getting help from the Innosphere’s access to capital have been especially important for us.”
About CSU Ventures
CSU Ventures brings innovations and technologies discovered at Colorado State University into the marketplace for the benefit of society. With specialized expertise in patenting, licensing and entrepreneurship, CSU Ventures serves as a resource not only to faculty and researchers, but also to industry, entrepreneurs and investors seeking to engage with the University. CSU Ventures is a nonprofit corporation and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Colorado State Research Foundation that connects business and industry with CSU’s researchers; protects and licenses marketable University intellectual property; and fosters new business formation to enhance regional economic vitality. For more information, go to www.csuventures.org
About Rocky Mountain Innosphere
Rocky Mountain Innosphere is a 501c3 nonprofit technology incubator formed to accelerate the success of high-impact scientific and technology startup companies and promote the development of a regional entrepreneurial ecosystem in Northern Colorado. Currently, Innosphere provides 34 entrepreneurial startup companies with resources such as assistance with raising capital, access and connections with academic and government institutions, a network of advisors and mentors, discounted professional service providers, and educational and networking opportunities for realizing business success. For information, go to www.rmi2.org.