Seldon Technologies Lays Off All Windsor Employees
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Bebederos Ecologicos CEO Alessandro Covarrubias speak after the announcement of a new partnership between Seldon Technologies of Windsor, Vt., and the Mexico-based corporation in July 2015. On Sept. 28, 2015, Seldon Technologies employees were told they no longer had jobs and that the company in Windsor would be closing.
Water purification device maker Seldon Technologies unexpectedly shut down operations Monday, laying off all 32 workers at its Windsor facility, according to former employees.
The news came after the staff was called to a 10 a.m. meeting with Shannon Myers Ambrozy, a representative from the board of directors, who told employees that the company was unable to secure funding to continue operating.
Ambrozy did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
Several employees interviews who asked not to be names said there would be no severance payments.
Seldon, founded in 2002 based on an idea from a former graduate student in physics at Dartmouth College, manufactured water filtration products that use a nanotechnology process to remove contaminants such as bacteria and viruses. The company’s technology was seen to have applications in developing countries where polluted water supplies are a major health problem.
Windsor Town Manager Tom Marsh said he had been informed about Seldon’s closing and was aware the company had faced “financing, cash flow issues.”
He said the company “had a noble cause in bringing clear water to places that need it. ... I imagine one way or another the technology will get used.”
Seldon was acquired in 2013 by South Africa-based Econet Wireless, a telecommunications company that has ambitions to expand into the water purification market.
Earlier this summer Seldon was awarded a $20-million, five-year contract by a Mexican company to supply water purification devices for schools in Mexico. At the time, Seldon officials said it was the largest commercial contract the company had ever received and would lead to adding 20 jobs at its Windsor facility. The partnership, which was announced at the Windsor plant in June at an event attended by U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., called for Seldon to provide up to 500,000 of its purification devices, which would then be installed at school water fountains by Mexico-based Bebederos Enterprises. The status of that contract was not clear on Monday.
Until this summer’s Mexico contract, the start-up company was largely funded through research grants and by developing systems for the military and NASA.
Seldon has also been a participant in the federal government’s EB-5 visa program that grants permanent residency to investors whose investments lead to enterprises that create at least 10 jobs. In 2013, Brent Raymond, then director of the Vermont Regional Center which administers the EB-5 program in the state, told the Burlington Free Press that Seldon was approved for $20 million in EB-5 financing for research, development and expansion.
But Raymond said the company “had some changes” and was looking at scaling back from its goal to raise $20 million.
Marsh, the Windsor town manager, said Seldon “has been pretty well tied into the EB-5 program.”
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