Industry: Bioscience & Medical
Products: Disinfectant lighting
CEO Brian Stern and COO Webb Lawrence promote UV disinfection in order to combat harmful pathogens like bacteria, fungi, and even coronaviruses like the one causing COVID-19.
"Puro is a wellness lighting company, and we focus on germicidal UV disinfection -- UV standing for ultraviolet," says Lawrence. When run for 30 minutes, he notes, "[Our UV lights] will kill 99.9 percent of any bacteria or virus within the space."
Powered by Violet Defense technology, Puro's UV light fixtures can be installed into the ceilings of offices or operating rooms, and there are mobile units which can be wheeled from space to space in any variety of settings: hotel rooms, cruise ship cabins, nursing homes, and not-in-use subway cars. Prices for the products range from $3,699 to $20,999.
Stern cites independent testing on the company's lights by three different FDA- and EPA-certified facilities for that figure. And given that the lights are effective at killing the norovirus -- which, according to Stern, is classified by the EPA as one of "the most difficult to kill" of all pathogens -- he points out that coronaviruses, on the other hand, are "the easiest-to-kill pathogen type."
The units installed overhead are the most effective at the job of killing pathogens -- and can be run during off-hours on a set maintenance schedule. The mobile units might need to be repositioned between each run by cleaning crews, in order to further penetrate all the recesses in which pathogens lurk. And those lights may also be effective in disinfecting personal protective equipment (PPE), like masks and face shields, although Stern says they have not been specifically rated for that type of usage.
While UV light kills pathogens, concentrated bursts of it can also potentially cause skin cancer and eye damage in humans. Given that, Stern says, "Our lights have built-in safety mechanisms, so they will not even turn on if a room is occupied." During the products' startup phase, the products utilize "built-in occupancy detection," he adds.
Puro has the exclusive North American rights to distribute UV lighting made by the Florida-based company Violet Defense -- which counts the Orlando Magic pro basketball team as a user of its products. The company's devices employ xenon lamps, which Stern says produce broader spectrums of UV light when compared with mercury vapor or fluorescent lamps. He adds, "By producing a broader spectrum [of UV light,] we have a wider efficacy against different types of organisms, and we have very effective kills against them from long distances, as well."
As a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic, Lawrence and Stern say that in the past month, their company has done more business than it did in the preceding year.
"There's a vast need for products like this in the market," says Stern. "Due to that, our phone has been basically ringing over the hook for the past three weeks or so, and we're fielding as many calls as we can on a daily basis to try to help people with all the issues they're dealing with. So, it's a trying time for the U.S. -- and, really, the world. And we're doing our part to try to help and protect as many people as possible."
Challenges: Stern says, "Right now, producing enough product to be able to get into the market, because there's way more demand than we have capacity for."
Opportunities: "I think the biggest opportunity for the business is the growth that, I think, we're going to see post-pandemic, as things start to calm down," says Stern. "Obviously, disinfection practices and disinfection protocols are going to be front and center in everyone's mind."
He adds, "People are finding they need to ensure safe environments for their employees, no matter who they are and what vertical they're within. So, [for us, it's] continuing to build-out on new products that can be used in more categories, and realizing high adoption rates for our products in the categories that we've been focusing on."
Needs: Lawrence says, "At this point in time, we're focused on scaling the business -- both from a production standpoint, as well as a personnel standpoint."