Startup Customer Stories: FREDsense Bacteria Sensors Ensure Water Safety and Reclaim Contaminated Soil

Many factors can negatively impact water quality—aging infrastructures, drought, declining levels of groundwater, dangerous contaminants from agriculture, and manufacturing and mining runoff. Fortunately, FREDsense Technologies, a cleantech company, is here to make the world’s water safe again using its innovative sensor technology.

Founded in 2014 by six University of Calgary students, including David Lloyd and Emily Hicks, FREDsense (FRED stands for Field Ready Electrochemical Detector) uses electrochemistry and synthetic biology to detect dangerous levels of iron, arsenic, and manganese in water. The company deploys its specialized bacterial sensors for water utilities and drinking water supply companies, industrialized processes, and land remediation.

Read this case study to learn how FREDsense, working with SU, discovered the primary applications for its technology, identified the right buyers and market opportunity, and crafted the right value proposition. The technology now works as well as traditional technology in a lab, while also being faster and less expensive in the field, and it’s already in use for water projects in Arizona and California, and at mining reclamation sites in Quebec.


At Singularity University, we work with startups at the intersection of exponential technologies and global impact. We take a long-term approach to helping them build high-growth, sustainable businesses. SU Ventures provides exclusive bootcamps, sprints, and other programs that promote breakthroughs, accelerate milestones, and help entrepreneurs succeed.

Whether you’re starting an early-stage venture, scaling a startup, or innovating inside a large company with thoughts of a spinoff, see how we can help your idea take flight.

Learn more about the SU programs featured in the case study:

“Since we were establishing our business, we wanted to build a lean approach to be able to validate the markets. A lot of the support we got through the programming at SU really helped us understand how to do that, and supported our development as we made those difficult decisions about who are we going to be.”— David Lloyd, Founder and CEO, FREDsense