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Fifth Israeli company lands in St. Louis; announces pilot project with Ameren

Atomation CEO and co-founder Guy Weitzman speaks a press conference on Friday morning.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
Atomation CEO and co-founder Guy Weitzman speaks a press conference on Friday morning.

Atomation is a startup based in Tel Aviv, Israel, but the company will soon have an office in St. Louis.

The two-year-old tech startup has developed an IoT (internet of things) platform that connects physical objects to the internet. CEO and co-founder Guy Weitzman said the company is already working with four customers in the St. Louis region, including Ameren.

"The ecosystem and the people are so eager to adopt innovation here,” Weitzman said. “That made the decision.”

The startup has 18 employees in Tel Aviv, and Weitzman said they’ve already hired a general manager for the St. Louis office.

Atomation is the fifth Israeli company to put its U.S. headquarters in St. Louis since the non-profit BioSTL launched an initiative to attract foreign startups in 2014. GlobalSTL has since expanded its efforts into Ireland, as well.

"With Atomation, the fifth cutting-edge company recruited from Israel to St. Louis, we think GlobalSTL has demonstrated that this new approach to economic growth, capitalizing on the region's corporate strengths, holds untold potential,” said BioSTL president and CEO Donn Rubin.

GlobalSTL held a news conference announcing Atomation’s move Friday morning, which will included Ameren CEO Warner Baxter, Weitzman and Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

"We're about developing and implementing innovative technologies," Baxter said. "And in this case, we're going going to be developing and implementing innovative technologies to do something that's so important -- that's to deliver safe, reliable and affordable energy to all of our customers."

Atomation is working with Ameren on a special pilot project to put sensors on utility poles. The goal is to predict which poles need to be replaced.

“You know how important and how much money you could save if you predict a pole that is about to fall,” Weitzman said.

They’re also working with DynaQuip Controls, a valve manufacturing company based in St. Clair.

President and CEO Rodney Bryan Jr. said Atomation is helping them incorporate sensors into their WaterCop system, which detects plumbing leaks and shuts off water valves. He said homeowners will now be able to keep track of the system from their mobile devices.

“We needed to take WaterCop to the next level, so we’re developing and working with them to use Internet of Things sensors,” Bryan said.

DynaQuip Controls is a third generation family-owned business. Bryan said he couldn’t have predicted they’d be working with an Israeli startup to create the next generation of their product.

“We were thinking California, maybe even Washington Avenue groups, but with this introduction, it ended up being a very good fit,” he said.

Weitzman said St. Louis is an especially good market as Atomation looks to scale. He said they’re targeting companies focused on agriculture, utilities, logistics, supply chain and medical devices, all of which are present in the St. Louis region.

St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum contributed information to this story.

Follow Maria on Twitter: @radioaltman

Copyright 2021 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Altman came to St. Louis Public Radio from Dallas where she hosted All Things Considered and reported north Texas news at KERA. Altman also spent several years in Illinois: first in Chicago where she interned at WBEZ; then as the Morning Edition host at WSIU in Carbondale; and finally in Springfield, where she earned her graduate degree and covered the legislature for Illinois Public Radio.
Maria Altman
Maria is a reporter at St. Louis Public Radio, specializing in business and economic issues. Previously, she was a newscaster during All Things Considered and has been with the station since 2004. Maria's stories have been featured nationally on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition, as well as on Marketplace.