STILLWATER — A sample mixer rotates slowly in a tiny laboratory at Stillwater’s XploSafe LLC, turning small vials filled with novel materials that are part of ongoing research and development. It’s the latest iteration of some amazing Oklahoma innovation.
Launched less than a decade ago as a concept to provide explosive detection technology for homeland security and military applications, the company markets 14 critical safety products worldwide.
Users include police departments, fire departments, first responders, bomb squads, pharmaceutical manufacturing personnel, industry safety personnel, chemical manufacturers, hospitals and the military.
Supported by multiple state and federal research grants and contracts, XploSafe recently expanded its research and development focus to include environmental monitoring and wastewater remediation.
Founded by an Oklahoma State University MBA student and two chemistry professors, XploSafe also is preparing to build a 6,000-square-foot facility to house its growing operation. The company operates out of a 1960s-era building in an industrial park on Stillwater’s northeast side.
“We bootstrapped our company from an ambitious student-faculty startup with two professors and me to a sustainable business now with 12 employees,” Shoaib Shaikh told me during a recent interview. “It’s been a very challenging and rewarding journey.”
Shaikh is XploSafe’s financial operations manager. He was a graduate student at OSU’s Spears School of Business when the company was founded in 2009.
XploSafe has its roots in the research of OSU chemistry professors and co-founders Allen Apblett, Ph.D., and Nick Materer, Ph.D., who developed compounds that reacted to the presence of certain substances that are used in explosives. Shaikh worked on the business plan while he was an OSU student, and the three co-founded XploSafe.