VENTURES: Ozone Put To Better Use
Recent Western Cape Business News
ARCAQUA, the South African developer of the NOZ ozone-based sanitising system, is taking its first steps in taking on the global market, thanks partly to first-round funding from venture capital firm Invenfin.
Invenfin is a seed and early stage venture capital investment company and is part of Stellenbosch-based Remgro.
“The use of ozone to clean fresh produce is nothing new globally, but those systems have always been large, expensive installations – which is why NOZ is such an exciting innovation,” says Stuart Gast, executive director at Invenfin. “The tremendous shift towards fresh, organic and unprocessed foods demands that more care is taken in preparation and storage. NOZ is an effective, low-cost and chemical-free solution for all food preparation areas.”
The patented NOZ system comprises a control unit - a sealed, in-line chamber in which the ozone is generated by means of a corona discharge - and a nozzle through which the ozone is mixed with water to produce a fine spray for application to the produce. Ozone is a molecule that rapidly destroys pollutants by attacking and oxidising the micro-organism’s cell wall and then reverting to oxygen. This sanitisation technology has been proven to kill 99.9% of all known bacteria, which besides reducing the risk of food poisoning, has the added commercial benefit of significantly extending the shelf life of fresh food – up to doubling it in certain instances, says ArcAqua MD, Crispin Russell.
“These results have sparked local and international interest from restauranteurs, industrial cleaning companies and hotel chains who have recognised the economic benefits, and that it is a green, chemical-free alternative to traditional sanitising solutions.
“We recently appointed Hychem as our South African distributor. Hychem is well recognised in the hospitality industry as one of the leading suppliers of chemicals, environmental solutions, accessories and associated services in the market. Since the launch of our product became known, the international response has been good with a number of foreign companies expressing interest in our technology.”
While the food and hospitality industries are ArcAqua’s initial targets, the NOZ system can easily be adapted for application in a wide variety of industries from the medical and laboratory fields to public facilities such as factories, gyms, bathrooms and even in the home.
Gast says NOZ sparked immediate interest for Invenfin as it is a simple but innovative, environmentally friendly solution with global potential.
“When looking at potential investments, we are drawn to products or solutions that are at the intersection of global issues, and NOZ clearly meets the macro trends of healthier eating and being environmentally-friendly head-on,” he says. “The nature and experience of our partners in ArcAqua added to our interest as they understand their business and market very well.”
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