Every day, Global University Venturing rounds up the smaller investments from across the university innovation ecosystem in its deal net.
Q-Bot, a UK-based robotics company based on research at Imperial College London, today received £3m ($3.9m) in an oversubscribed funding round from investors including EMV Capital, Foundamental, Wealth Club and unnamed, existing investors. Q-Bot will use the capital to meet the needs of social landlords, increase its sales to homeowners and expand internationally. Q-Bot has developed a range of robotic and artificial intelligence technologies to survey, maintain and upgrade buildings, including a robot to apply underfloor insulation. The technology was co-developed by Prof Peter Childs and Mathew Holloway at Imperial College London with founder Tom Lipinski. Q-Bot previously obtained $607,000 in 2017 from ClearlySo, Minerva Investors Group, Curious Capital, London Business Angels and Chicago Booth Angels. In 2016, ClearlySo, Wroxall Investors Group of Business Angels and Curious White supplied $435,000 in equity funding, after EcoMachines Incubator had injected an undisclosed sum in 2014.
Yukin Therapeutics, a France-based immunotherapy developer co-founded by regional tech transfer office Satt Sud-Est, closed a €3.3m ($3.9m) funding round on Tuesday co-led by investment firms Advent France Biotechnology and Medicxi. Yukin is working on cancer treatments that focus on proteins known as kinase – the deregulation of these proteins is a key factor in the occurrence and aggressiveness of multiple cancers. The spinout licensed the technology in February this year, with the intellectual property belonging to Nice Sophia Antipolis University, Inserm, the French National Center for Scientific Research and Nice University Hospital, and building on inventions originating from regional cancer research hub Canceropôle Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. The funding will allow Yukin to accelerate pipeline development with a view of identifying a lead asset that could enter clinical trials by 2022.
Hello TeamSolar, a US-based augmented reality technology developer, has attracted an unspecified amount of funding from Google, the internet subsidiary of technology conglomerate Alphabet, VentureBeat reported yesterday. Google will own approximately 5% in the company, which has achieved a post-money valuation of $10m. Hello TeamSolar and Google will collaborate on the development of a platform for branded, customised augmented reality content broadcast on a large scale. The company was co-founded by Archie Prakash, a faculty member in University of Southern California’s Interactive Games and Media department, Linda Franke, a former lecturer at Berlin University of the Arts, and Nick Fortugno, co-founder of web-based game developer Playmatics.
Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund, a vehicle co-managed by Purdue University and Elevate Ventures, has invested $20,000 each in four Purdue-affiliated companies – cybersecurity technology developer Covert Defenses and BDYWR, which relies on the human body to conduct a signal to authenticate human-computer interaction devices, as well as farming robot developer Rogo Ag, which received $200,000 at the end of last month, and C2 Medical Robotics, which is working on low-cost, disposable robotic spinal surgical tools and devices. The funding formed part of Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund’s Black Award tier, which typically precedes the up-to $80,000 Gold Award available to spinouts once they have completed agreed milestones.
Simutence, a Germany-based spinout of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) that specialises in engineering and consultancy services and software for the virtual design of composites and hybrids, attracted an undisclosed amount of funding on Tuesday from KIT. Simutence’s backers already include the Helmholtz Society through its Impuls- und Vernetzungsfonds, though further details could not be ascertained. KIT has now directly invested in 10 of its spinouts.
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU)’s innovation and enterprise arm NTUitive, has invested an undisclosed sum into the team behind Epitoire, a spinout that will commercialise technology to manipulate the rate at which peptide ligases join proteins together. The process plays a crucial role in drug development, including in chemotherapy, and is a useful tool to label, image and track proteins in the body. Currently, protein molecules are stitched together chemically during drug development, which leaves by-products and can influence the functioning of the end product. The underlying research is being led by associate professor Julien Lescar and Prof James Tam in the NTU School of Biological Sciences.
Pelage Pharmaceuticals has been officially spun out by University of California, Los Angeles, after the university assigned an exclusive licence to Pelage related to technology to use stem cells in hair follicles to combat hair loss. The research was co-led by three faculty members – Heather Christok, associate professor of biological chemistry, William Lowry, professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology, and Michael Jung, distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry. The three researchers co-founded Pelage and will focus on the development of drugs that promote hair growth in people experiencing baldness or living with alopecia. Pelage has entered into an exclusive option agreement with pharmaceutical firm Allergan to potentially wholly acquire the spinout.