Anchored in Athens but with global reach and ambition, Raymetrics is a company founded by scientists and engineers that has developed a new and innovative remote sensing technique. Raymetrics works with Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology using light from a laser to remotely sense distant objects, and in particular aerosols.
“We designed instruments primarily for atmospheric research using LIDAR technology”, explains Nikos Kontos, CEO of the company, “but the technology has expanded to multiple uses, and is now used to monitor pollution, volcanic ash, to measuring fog visibility, humidity, or to detect wildfire smoke or gas in the atmosphere.”
Designing and producing both software and hardware, the company works with a broad range of prestigious institutions, such as the European Space Agency and the German Meteorological Office. “This technology is a great resource for airports, environmental agencies, academics and civil authorities,” Nikos says. “For example, we have built the biggest network of LIDARs with the Met Office in the UK. This can be used to monitor ash plumes in the event of an volcanic eruption in Iceland, or desert dust swept into Europe by the Ophelia hurricane, or the smoke clouds from forest fires in Portugal. The information we collect has an impact on aviation, healthcare and other public policy.”
In 2014, the company received an investment from Elikonos GP, a Greek private-equity firm backed by EIF. “The investment allowed us to triple our numbers. We invested heavily in R&D and product design.” Nikos says, also acknowledging the important role Elikonos played in helping with strategy and business development.
Maintaining close ties to the scientific community, the business is expanding the applications of LIDAR devices: “We are doing a lot of air pollution monitoring for various municipalities, and measuring dust emissions for the mining industry in places like Chile. We are also able to monitor the impact of aerosols in the context of climate change and we are now looking more closely at the oil and gas industries too,” Nikos explains.