May 14. 2012 9:00AM - Last modified: May 14. 2012 5:30PM

Zero Trace

By Stephanie Beecher


Zero Trace

2501 W. Hampton Ave., Milwaukee

Innovation: Developed an ozone-emitting cleaning device, eliminating odors, bacteria, viruses and mold

Revenue: $1 million

Employees: 8

When a bad odor descends on a room, it can take months, even years to get rid of the smell. ZeroTrace LLC can change that.

The Milwaukee-based company sells a portable device that can eliminate smells and other contaminants like mold, bacteria and viruses in as little as 10 minutes.

The patent-pending machine uses active oxygen technology, which converts oxygen (O2) molecules in the air into ozone (O3). When the ozone is released the extra oxygen molecules latch onto odors in the air, essentially burning them away.

The device looks like something out of the movie Ghostbusters, an observation that can make the product difficult to explain to clients, says Tom Daugherty, the firm's president.

"It looks like we put a box in the room and wait for the magic to happen," said Daugherty. "Because it is a technology that people don't realize exists, there is a lot of teaching involved."

The company has used third-party researchers to verify the effectiveness of the device, including a study conducted by the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.

Outside of selling the device to schools, correctional facilities, hotels and other businesses, ZeroTrace is expanding its mold removal services, Daugherty said.

Since launching the business just over two years ago the company has earned just under $1 million in revenue.