Field Viewers wants to break into three different markets
Field Viewers, a startup specializing in radiation sensors, wants to expand and break into three different markets with efficient design.
“So electronic circuits traditionally have been really bulky; in order to sense one pixel of a detector, a radiation circuit could be as big as my laptop here,” said Sachin S. Junnarkar, CEO of Field Viewers, at last Wednesday’s meeting in Madison of the entrepreneurial network 1 Million Cups. “But things have changed.”
His vision for the future of the Illinois-based company involves selling sensor components, which detect X-ray and gamma radiation in the invisible part of the electromagnetic spectrum, to companies in the medical imaging, industrial measurement, and baggage scanning industries.
“All these three industries have seen significant investment in making their system smarter in terms of the software, in terms of how they visualize the data, in terms of the user experience,” Junnarkar said. “Significant improvements have been made in this particular aspect, but the hardware has seen its own share of neglect.”
He says too little attention has been paid to what components go inside scanning machines, and that has led to the machines remaining “clunky.”
“I believe we can change that,” he said. “You’ve already seen some impetus from the giants out there who have done their share of miniaturizing these radiation detectors, but not good enough. That’s where Field Viewers comes in.”
While the company does not directly manufacture the sensors itself, Junnarkar has plans to start doing so once he secures more space. He is currently running the business out of his home, and has five active customers providing a recurring revenue stream for the company.
Junnarkar is seeking a space in Madison or nearby in Illinois in which to start his manufacturing, an important step for growing the company, he says. He needs only 1,000 square feet of industrial space, but says the search has been challenging so far.
“One of the reasons I keep coming back to Wisconsin, Madison area, is GE is right here,” he said. “I want to be in this area where I could, in a sense, latch onto these opportunities, if I can, directly.”
He says he does not want to compete with any of his customers, but rather, wants to “play a significant role in the food chain.”
The company recently received a Phase 1 SBIR grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, which will provide roughly $225,000 to develop “large-area detectors” for X-ray detection.
“That will keep us afloat for this year, and hopefully we will win the Phase 2 SBIR grant as well to take the product development to the next level,” Junnarkar said.
As well as moving into a larger space, Junnarkar has other goals for the company. He wants to create a software development/design team, reduce reliance on third-party manufacturers, and pursue further fund raising. He said he is seeking between $150,000 and $400,000 in investment to support future growth.
Junnarkar seems to have a clear view of that future, and sees any current competitors as “inferior.” He knows of only one or two competitors in the world who know how to design and manufacture the type of sensors Field Viewers uses, and says “they’re simply no good.”
“We have got the best, lowest-noise performance that is available in industry, and noise is the key,” he said. “Noise does kill your measurement in the case of radiation sensing.”
Power dissipation is another competitive advantage he touted.
“So, where folks dissipate five watts, we dissipate one fourth of that power,” he said. “So your devices could be really compact, really efficient or green in terms of their carbon footprint.”
--By Alex Moe