Vumii partners with Cohen Group

Look to grow laser and LED nightvision globally
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

ATLANTA—Laser-based nightvision manufacturer Vumii announced this week a partnership with the Cohen Group, a global advisory and business development firm headed by former defense secretary William Cohen. As part of the agreement, Cohen will serve as chair of Vumii’s advisory board and son Kevin Cohen will serve as senior advisor to Vumii and lead joint business development activities.

Speaking from Arizona, where he hopes to sell his product as part of a border protection system, Vumii CEO Randall Foster said the major benefit of the partnership is that “it gives us that stamp of approval, a trust factor. It makes us look 50 years old, even though we’re only five years old ... They see a lot of opportunity for us, otherwise they wouldn’t invest their reputation and activities with us.”

Foster said the company is finding success with its laser-based nightvision, which can allow the reading of the name of a boat from a mile away in the middle of the night, largely in government and commercial applications: “Oil and gas, nuclear power, and those kinds of facilities are blossoming,” he said. “Airports, seaports, transportation.” While he noted that international borders are “big and long,” and a problem well suited to his solution, “we haven’t been deployed on a big-scale border yet.”

The company’s newest technology involves advanced LED illumination. According to Foster, the new Claritii product can project a focused LED beam up to 700 meters. “They’re active illumination,” he said, “much cheaper than the laser systems, with a very attractive performance to price ratio, and more suitable to commercial applications.”