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Founded in the university town of Jena in 2001, Asphericon produces aspherical lenses and other optical equipment. It now supplies more than 250 companies around the world that use its products to produce medical devices and other precision instruments. Founder Sven Kiontke, 34, created the company based on research he had conducted at Jena's Friedrich Schiller University. Two years after starting the firm, he was able to raise about €1.5 million (now equivalent to $2.23 million) in funds to expand facilities. Asphericon, which now employs about 30 people, has since achieved consistent sales growth and takes in revenues of about €2 million per year.