Hillel's Tech Corner: Juganu brings light to end of tunnel
By HILLEL FULD
One of the fascinating aspects of this global pandemic, if I had to find a silver lining, is how everyone is putting their minds together to beat the virus. Companies with totally unrelated technologies are now re-purposing their products to cope with COVID-19. That is the case with a company called Juganu.
Juganu is an Israeli start-up that transforms public spaces into safe environments through innovative light technology, and enables “healthier, safer brighter lives.”
I find this company so fascinating because of a recent product launch that utilizes their technology to disinfect areas and prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria. The company recently made headlines after announcing an $18-million series C round of financing, bringing the total amount that the company has raised to $53m.
Comcast Ventures led the recent investment with participation from existing investors Viola Growth and Amdocs. Juganu was founded in 2011 and is now partnering with companies including COLighting, Qualcomm and NCR Corporation to deploy J.Protect, its new product, in the US.
J.Protect comes at a time when the world is simultaneously trying to figure out how to safely reopen indoor spaces while preparing to battle another looming wave of the virus as we head into the colder months. The system can be installed in a variety of public places, including hospitals and health facilities, retail stores, banks, restaurants, airports, gyms, schools and office spaces; essentially, any business with an indoor space.
Businesses need to stay open in order to survive and J.Protect can help all kinds of businesses do so.
J.Protect is the first circadian indoor lighting system that inactivates SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. It uses a combination of high-quality surface light mixed with ultraviolet A for continuous disinfection, as well as ultraviolet C light to accelerate inactivation of pathogens. The LED technology mimics natural light, but blends a light wavelength strong enough to kill viruses and germs.
Juganu was founded by CEO Eran Ben-Shmuel and CTO Alexander Bilchinsky, serial entrepreneurs with more than 100 registered patents in physics and technology. The company now has 100 employees across its offices in Israel, the US, Mexico and Brazil.
Juganu is already seeing global demand for its lighting products across the US, Europe, Asia and Latin America. The J.Protect technology has been clinically validated through a study conducted by Dr. Gal Tanamy at the Bar-Ilan University Faculty of Medicine, and Juganu has successfully completed a pilot in Israel’s Rabin Medical Center, with another about to begin in Europe. J.Protect is EPA-registered in 48 US states.
J.Protect is the only solution on the market today that disinfects differently depending on whether people are present in a room or not. In Allegro mode, J.Protect uses the safest frequency of UV-A to disinfect continuously throughout the day, when people are present. And the system not only disinfects, it provides natural and healthy light that mimics the sun and is good for the human body.
ONCE A ROOM is empty, the lighting system can be switched to Presto mode. This mode uses UV-C light, which is more potent as a disinfectant, to fully sanitize a room in less than an hour.
While there are companies that have developed hand-held or robotic dissemination methods for ultraviolet lighting, Juganu is the only company that mixes the protective frequencies of light in an overhead lighting system that can continuously disinfect a room safely while people are present. If you think about it, the best solution for disinfection is a lighting system because it’s a system that is already in place in most rooms.
“Smart lighting will be one of the biggest areas of opportunity for physical spaces. We are evolving from lights simply illuminating spaces to disinfecting and securing them, as well as promoting well-being by recreating natural light shifts based on sunrise and sunset,” Ben-Shmuel said in a statement.
This is safe, state-of-the-art technology that’s effective, inexpensive and fast-working. The company’s customers believe it is the most cost-effective product because of its longevity, ease of installation, and because there’s no need for manual labor once the product is implemented. Plus, J.Protect can be installed without additional rewiring or structural changes and is operated via a mobile app, making it incredibly easy and convenient to adopt.
Viruses and pathogens are and always will be present in some capacity. J.Protect is poised to become the standard for regular safety and maintenance in the COVID-19 era and beyond.
The World Health Organization reports that as of October 2, 2020, 42 COVID-19 candidate vaccines were in the clinical evaluation, of which 10 were in Phase III trials. There are another 151 candidate vaccines in preclinical evaluation. Juganu is taking a entirely different strategy from anything I have seen with its use of lighting technology to disinfect rooms and “deactivate COVID.”
“Juganu’s revolutionary technology comes at a critical time, with scientists recently confirming that SARS-CoV-2 can survive up to 28 days on surfaces,” added Ayal Shiran, general partner at Viola Growth. “We at Viola Growth believe J.Protect represents a step forward in UV light technology and will be a game-changer in safely reclaiming our shared spaces and ensuring business continuity.”
Over the past several years, Juganu has created cutting-edge innovations serving horticulture and farming, retail and commerce, and city and infrastructure. Now the company has applied its proprietary technology to protecting and disinfecting spaces, something that’s never been more critical.
“While we wish the circumstances were different, our team is honored to have the opportunity to provide healthy light and safety to people affected by the pandemic. This is an inflection point in our history, as COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it. We all want to return to some semblance of normalcy, and we believe something as natural as lighting can help us get there,” said Ben-Shmuel.
The company is advancing quickly and while COVID continues to run wild and immobilize so many around the world, Juganu might actually provide the light at the end of the tunnel, quite literally.