Georgia Tech incubation services boosts start up firm Soneter


Tina Guldberg

Director, Strategic Partnerships


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Summary Sentence:

Former Georgia Tech Research Engineer Jeff Duggar explains the benefits of the university's incubation services at a recent Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute Brown Bag Seminar.

Full Summary:

Former Georgia Tech Research Engineer Jeff Duggar explains the benefits of the university's incubation services at a recent Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute Brown Bag Seminar.

At the Oct. 7 Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute Brown Bag Seminar, Soneter Chief Technology Officer Jeff Duggar told Georgia Tech students and faculty that growing a start-up business isn’t a one-person job. “You need outside help; we can’t do it alone with just two people,” he explained. “[The Advanced Technology Development Center] brought in consumers and commercial/industrial customers. That led to a huge number of contracts that we didn’t think of.”

Soneter has developed a product and service that extends the smart grid technology to water and gas meters. The firm initially targeted multi-family residential customers, but has since expanded to commercial/industrial and public sector groups through the help of ATDC.

Compared to current water and gas monitoring technologies, the unique aspects of Soneter’s technology are that it is lower cost and non-invasive – i.e., doesn’t require cutting pipes. The company uses ultrasonics to monitor low-flow pipes using off-the-shelf, low-cost software. “The software costs approximately $750 compared to the thousands of dollars you will spend on meters,” Duggar explained. “And we’re adding wireless communications to provide information to the end user whether that is the property manager, resident, or facilities manager. That is all tied back into the Web.”

Soneter’s product-enabled service does more than simply capture the data, however. It also reports analytics such as how much time the resident spends in the shower or how much water is used in the manufacturing process. In addition to flow-specific analytics, Soneter also offers back-end billing software.

In terms of manufacturing the product, again ATDC has proven to be of great assistance. “Currently we are producing these through contract manufacturing,” said Duggar. “ATDC put us in contact with those manufacturers, and have developed a lot of interest with other industrial partners who have an interest in the technology.”

Duggar also clarified the difference between Georgia Tech’s VentureLab and ATDC incubation services. “VentureLab is focused on faculty and students,” Duggar explained. “ATDC is focused more on entrepreneurs with established start-up businesses looking to expand. VentureLab helps someone become a company but they move to ATDC once they are a company.”

The biggest challenge Soneter has faced in developing its business, Duggar said, “is bridging that gap between prototype to production-level product.”

Duggar’s presentation was part of the GTMI Brown Bag Seminar Series, which takes place each Monday between noon and 1 p.m. in the Manufacturing Research Building, Room 114. Students and faculty are invited and are welcome to bring their lunch to the meeting. If you have questions or you want to be added to the reminder list for these events, please contact Tina Guldberg at

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Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute (GTMI)

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Brown Bag Seminar, Jeff Duggar, manufacturing, soneter
  • Created By: Tracy Heath
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Nov 11, 2013 - 11:55am
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:15pm