Cedar Park City Council approves incentives for VUV Analytics

Chemistry technology startup firm VUV Analytics will receive up to $404,166 in economic development incentives after Cedar Park City Council approved a resolution May 21.

CEO Clark Jernigan said the company was started in 2009 as a venture in Cedar Park. In January the company moved into a new office at 715 Discovery Boulevard and hired 15 employees, Clark said.

“We’re venture-funded and we have big plans," he said. "[We] are hiring people as fast as we can,” he said.

The economic development agreement would require the company to create 91 jobs by 2019 with an average annual salary of $64,387. Cedar Park Economic Development Specialist Larry Holt said the agreement also requires the firm to make at least $11 million worth of sales by 2020, generating a boost in sales tax revenue for the city.

The development incentives will come from the city’s Community Development Corporation, or 4B board, which draws funding from 25 percent of the city’s 2-cent sales tax. Members of the 4B board approved the proposed incentive May 12.

Clark said VUV Analytics is selling a new kind of chemical spectroscope. The new device is called the VGA-100 and is used with existing gas chromatography devices that already use gas to separate chemical compounds into distinct sequences for analysis. The $100,000 VGA-100 system then uses vacuum ultraviolet—or VUV—light to analyze the chemicals.

The device is hand-assembled and can replace laboratories’ existing mass spectrometers, he said. VUV has already sold devices to laboratories around the world, and the device is useful for chemists and other researchers in oil, food and environmental sciences, Clark said.

“It’s really an assembly of sub-assembly, so we don’t make anything here [in Cedar Park],” Clark said. “We hand-assemble it. …  It takes about a half to a full week to build one.”

The company’s operating plan calls for new spending of about $300,000 each month, mostly for salaries for researchers such as analytical chemists and software engineers, he said.

“From there it really depends on the sales growth,” Clark said. “The product is new and so it’s won some awards and it’s been bought by a couple of big companies. But we have not completely dialed in the sales model yet. That’s really [our] primary [goal] for the next year, is to figure out how fast we can ramp it up. … Scientists are a lot of what we’re hiring.”

City Council has incentivized other high-tech industries to relocate to Cedar Park, such as rocket propulsion startup Firefly Space Systems and lithium ion battery manufacturer Voltabox.


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