Serendipity Instrumental to Wyatt Success

May 9, 2011
May 9, 2011

Wyatt Technology Corporation
Santa Barbara, CA 93117


The success of Wyatt Technologies started with a misdirected phone call.

While cleaning up the pieces of a failed company, founder Dr. Phil Wyatt received a phone call from the Department of Defense. They thought they were calling the old company, also named “Wyatt,” letting him know he’d won a contract award to study water quality. From that award, granted by the Defense SmallBusiness Advanced Technology program (a precursor to the SBIR Program) was born a company that today is the world’s leading producer of laser-based instrumentation used to measure the masses, sizes, and colligative properties of large macromolecules such as proteins and polymers (plastics).

The company’s extensive instrument line provides unique and powerful tools for many different areas of analytical chemistry, including quality control, process control, molecular weight and size determinations, and a host of other applications, which are all possible with these multi-angle light scattering instruments.

 “Our instruments are used in over 50 countries, in the labs of eight Nobel laureates, and most of the great pharmaceutical companies in world have many uses for our instruments,” says Wyatt proudly. “The instrumentation is used in everything from finding new vaccines to identifying the source of Alzheimer’s disease.”

A physicist by training, Wyatt nonetheless understands the power of commercialization. “If there is a possibility of doing something that can result in creating a commercial product, that’s the way to go,” he advises. “R&D is wonderful and government programs are just great, but going to the commercial markets and finding what they needed and adjusting our instruments to those needs was essential to success.”

Named in each of the previous three years as “One of the best places to work in America” by The Scientist magazine, Wyatt Technologies provides good paying jobs and does its part to maintain the country’s manufacturing base. “We’ve been in business since 1982 and now have about 80 employees. We’re making things in America and selling them overseas. 40% of our sales now are international,” says Wyatt, adding, “We’re having a great time.”