We had the opportunity to interview R-Zero– a new biosafety company who manufactures the Arc – an accessible hospital-grade surface and air disinfection system that uses UV-C to kill harmful pathogens, including those that cause the coronavirus.

R-Zero is a disruptor in the infection prevention industry. The company has developed the first hospital-grade germicidal UV system financially and operationally accessible to the mass market, with a hardware-as-a-service model that allows businesses to lease the device at an affordable price.

In addition to offering the highest level of disinfection efficacy, R-Zero’s UV technology also replaces the need for costly and harmful chemicals that have traditionally been used to disinfect surfaces in schools, hospitals, businesses, and many other public spaces. Arc is simply the first product of many. Long-term, R-Zero is developing a holistic biosafety platform of IoT connected devices – designed to reduce transmission of all pathogens.

UV-C technology won the Nobel Prize in 1903 for inhibiting bacterial growth. It wasn’t until 2010 when the Affordable Care Act placed new restrictions on hospital readmissions that it was used and successfully reduced 93% of hospital acquired infections, completely changing the trajectory of hospital disinfection protocol. R-Zero’s is the fastest product on the market which utilizes Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) a key competitive advantage.

COVID-19 exposed how vulnerable we are to infectious diseases. But the challenge is bigger than Coronavirus — a new normal and emerging biosafety category itself is one that R-Zero is poised to lead through.

Which makes them a perfect fit for the BioHive.

Just shy of it’s 1st birthday (yes, you read that right!) R-Zero has chosen Salt Lake City for its new headquarters, bringing over 30 new quality jobs in healthcare innovation. And while their address is just slightly out of boundary for the City, it’s more about the far-reaching impact of Mayor Mendenhall’s vision of Salt Lake City as the anchor for overall statewide growth.

The BioHive came out of Salt Lake City Mayor Mendenhall’s focus on Health Care Innovation and wanting to see biotech and digital health come together and anchor Salt Lake City’s major economic development plans to not only recover from Covid-19 but grow well beyond into the future. Together with BioUtah and business leaders we’re working to tell the story of how Utah’s is moving ahead and attracting great companies like R-Zero.

R-Zero’s Chief Marketing Officer Lisa Tecklenburg said,

“I wanted to find a job in Salt Lake. I had two key criteria when I was looking – 1) To do something that will fundamentally change healthcare and 2) to save lives.  While networking I discovered the BioHive and it made me really excited about the future of what Utah was bringing to the healthcare market and just how much it has improved, even within the last 3 years. R-Zero moving here made me even more excited about the potential for Utah to keep growing. It is so incredibly important to our country and to the health and well-being of everyone.”

Q&A with R-Zero

CMO Lisa Tecklenburg and Alyssa Harker, Head of PR and Communications covered the decision to move to Utah, opportunity zones, social impact investing and the effects of CARES Act funding.

Why did you choose Utah as your headquarters?

To solve some of the world’s most challenging problems, you need the best people. And those people aren’t always in the same place – so our team is truly global. However we’re excited about the energy in Utah, and Salt Lake City specifically. Utah is a fantastic place for resources. It has an incredible talent pool, coupled with the characteristics of a growing market – we feel R-Zero can support accelerating that growth and the local economy.  

Tell us about your decision to use an Opportunity Zone and the move to use a social impact investor.

R-Zero secured $15MM Series A Funding from DBL Parnters (DBL), a leading impact investor who looks to finance companies who are not only positioned in high growth industries, but can drive social and environmental good. For the team at R-Zero, working with investors who share our values is important. We fundamentally believe that being good stewards, citizens, and leaders within the communities we serve, and society as a whole – is a requisite to building the company and culture we aspire.

DBL encourages their portfolio companies to, when feasible, open offices and facilities in low-to-moderate income areas – bringing local jobs and business to the community, and in turn supporting the local economy. When looking for the home of R-Zero’s first HQ, our team gave this great consideration and location-wise, our new address at 345 W. Bearcat Drive, Salt Lake City (at the intersection of I-15 and I-80) was a great fit.

–> Side note from SLC Econ Dev team: Learn more about utilizing Salt Lake City’s opportunity zones – more space for life science innovators and accelerators.

Your Arc product is CARES Act, ESSER I and II eligible. Tell us more about that and who your customer base is.

As schools across the country work to ensure the safe return of students and teachers to the classroom, enhanced disinfection that is not only effective, but efficient, is critical. We’re proud to share our education partners are not only seeing 0% COVID transmission after implementing Arc, but an invaluable increase in community confidence. Parents feel confident sending their kids back to school, and teachers know every measure to ensure their safety has been taken. “Disinfection equipment” is an eligible expense under all three rounds of education stimulus funding. Arc fits squarely into that category, meaning schools can purchase our UV-C system with stimulus dollars – which is a huge step for districts. We’re honored to be supporting hundreds of school campuses across the country create truly safer learning environments for students and teachers to come back to.

Collectively, R-Zero is making the best infection prevention tools and technologies accessible to all organizations. Today, in addition to hundreds of schools, Arc is actively enabling safety and restoring trust across millions of square feet of office space, professional sports teams facilities and arenas (including the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLS), dozens of county justice and corrections departments, senior care facilities, veterinary hospitals, human healthcare facilities, neighborhood and Michelin star restaurants, hotels, fitness studios and so much more.

Thanks for the interview, R-Zero, and welcome to the Biohive!

R-Zero is making safe and sustainable disinfection solutions accessible to all. Post pandemic our public is looking for a higher standard of cleaning and safety and R-Zero brings smarter solutions to make that happen. You can learn more about the company by visiting www.rzero.com.