The Early Days of JonDeTech
JonDeTech AB, henceforth JDT1, was created as a result of an important compromise between SenseAir and the scientists Lindeberg and Prof. Hjort. If the technology would turn out to be useful for gas sensors, SenseAir would have the right to use it. In a way, the intention of SenseAir was to keep, in case of success, the right of commercially exploiting the gas sensor technology developed by JDT1.
The small company received financial support from SenseAir (about 100,000 Euro) and initial advice from the holding company of UU (UUAB Holding), which often supports innovation projects and start ups where UU researchers are involved. Initially, only two people were employed by JDT1: Mikael Lindeberg himself, as leading researcher, and a production engineer. The project team also included Mr. Martin and Dr. Henry Rodjegard from SenseAir. Dr. Rodjegard was hired at SenseAir in 2006 as researcher with the specific task of following the research projects that SenseAir was involved in.
UUAB did not invest any equity in the company, so the main investors were SenseAir (which owned about 70 % of the shares) and three researchers from UU, owning 30 % of the capital (Mikael Lindeberg 15 %, Prof. Hjort 10 % and a Ph.D. from the Department of Engineering Sciences with 5 %). Later on, SenseAir transferred its shares in JonDeTech directly to its own shareholders. In fact, in 2008, SenseAir had more than 100 shareholders. As a result, equity representing 70 % of JDT1’s capital was divided between a very large number of actors. The JDT1 board consisted of five persons, two from SenseAir and three researchers from UU. In 2009, Prof. Klas Hjort was appointed as chairman of the board.
Since the beginning, the company was also located within the Uppsala Innovation Center (UIC). The main purpose of this incubator—partly owned by UU—was to support the development of new business ventures. JDT1 was involved in one of the UIC programs named Business Lab, which provided knowledge about business development and financing to the company’s management.
I n the last period of the incubator program, a business coach was assigned to JDT1. In 2008, Mr. Bengt Akerstrom took this position.
His main task was to advise the company’s management concerning the development of the company. The first activity was setting up the company’s business plan and finding potential customers for testing the products. Moreover, JDT1 tried to also look for potential industrial partners. However, the connections that JDT1 had started with some companies located in Stockholm were not developed because the company started to make a small and pilot production of their own sensors. JDT1 seemed to have all the components and knowledge necessary for starting such production autonomously. In terms of technical resources, in 2008, JDT1 could rely only on the University facilities such as laboratories and small machines in order to start an initial production of sensors in a small scale. The sensor was, for the first time, mounted on a flexible PCB carrier and a complete IR measurement system was presented at the Sensor + Test exhibition in Nuremberg, Germany.
However, although JDT1 could produce good quality sensors by means of the University equipment, there was an urgent need to establish a production facility capable of reaching large volumes. In November 2008, the company was awarded funds from VINNOVA for 30,000 Euro, a far cry from what would be necessary to create such a facility.