Jeanne M. Voigt Foundation &
Minnepura Technologies, SBC
Each year, billions of gallons of fresh water literally go down the drain due to high levels of Cyanuric Acid (CYA), which is a common chemical added to pool water to make chlorine effective. The issue is that as CYA builds up in the pool over time, the chlorine gradually loses its effectiveness, allowing potentially dangerous bacteria to grow. Today the only way to reduce CYA and keep the pool safe is to regularly replace the water.
Since 2011, start-up company Minnepura Technologies has been using technology discovered at the University of Minnesota to build a better solution. The company’s unique filter, which is comprised of natural enzymes and bacteria, can process and remove the CYA without requiring any water be changed.
In the fall of 2016, when the company was at risk of shutting down, Jeanne M. Voigt Foundation (JMVF) made a $60,000 PRI to Minnepura structured as an unsecured, low-interest loan to support the further development and commercialization of its CYA filter. JMVF’s primary purpose for the investment was to protect the environment and preserve natural resources.
Since then, Minnepura has made impressive progress. In partnership with a pool supply company, Minnepura has developed and tested four generations of prototypes for its filter. Based on its learning, the company also found another readily addressable market for its CYA technology, and it now has a multi-year contract in place with a major customer. Minnepura has also partnered with a large multinational chemical company to manufacture its first products and to further develop its core technology for use across many potential applications, including pool water supplies.
While additional obstacles certainly remain to be overcome, with the help of JMVF’s PRI, Minnepura finds itself on the path to achieving a systemic environmental impact and hopefully to providing a modest financial return on investment to JMVF. If and when its PRI is repaid, JMVF will be able to put its principal and gains to use again for another charitable project.