Every day, Global University Venturing rounds up the smaller investments from across the university innovation ecosystem in its deal net.
Elucid, a US-based medical technology developer using artificial intelligence software to detect cardiovascular disease, has obtained $8m in series A financing featuring Wolverine Venture Fund, a student-led investment vehicle at University of Michigan. The round was co-led by MedTex Ventures and Global Health Impact Fund. It also attracted Checkmate Capital, IAG Capital, BlueStone Venture Partners, Willamette Valley Capital and Angel Physicians Fund. Elucid was founded in 2013, the same year it secured $375,000 in initial funding, according to a regulatory filing.
Lunac Therapeutics, a UK-based drug discovery spinout of University of Leeds, has raised £4.8m ($6.6m) in funding from Epidarex Capital, Mercia-managed Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and Caribou Property. Lunac is focusing on oral anticoagulants with a reduced risk of bleeding. Lunac collected $3.5m in series A financing from the university and Epidarex in 2019.
Cortex, a US-based building analytics software company, has closed a $6m series A round led by University of Wisconsin-linked 4490 Ventures, with participation from private investors. Cortex’s technology relies on analytics of data such as occupancy levels and weather forecasts to run heating, ventilation, and air conditioning more efficiently, helping to reduce carbon emissions. It will use the money to grow its staff and build additional software and products. It has now raised $11m, it said, though it is unclear whether that includes $250,000 in debt financing secured in 2014. It collected just over $1m in proceeds from an equity crowdfunding campaign in February this year.
LiberoThera, a Japan-based cell-free protein production technology spinout of research institute Riken, has secured ¥540m ($4.9m) in a round led by University of Tokyo’s Innovation Platform, which invested alongside Miyagin Venture Capital, a subsidiary of financial services group Miyazaki Bank, as well as MP Healthcare Venture Management and Beyond Next Ventures. It has raised ¥800m ($7.3m) in total.
Qnami, a Switzerland-based quantum microscope technology developer spun out of University of Basel, has completed a CHF4m ($4.4m) series A round co-led by venture funds Runa Capital and SIT Capital, with participation from Quantonation, Verve Ventures, ZKB Start-up Finance and High-Tech Gründerfonds. Qnami has developed quantum technology to analyse magnetic materials at the nanoscale, with applications in the design and production of quantum computers and spintronics devices. The spinout previously obtained $2.6m in seed funding led by Quantonation, with participation from High-Tech Gründerfonds, Investiere and ZKB in November 2019.
Concierge U, a Japan-based operator of no-code artificial intelligence conversation platform Kuzen, has secured ¥450m ($4.1m) in a series A round backed by University of Tokyo’s Edge Capital Partners and venture capital firm UB Ventures. The company previously obtained $1.8m from investment firm Orchestra Investment and assorted angel investors in June 2019.
SageTech Medical Equipment, a UK-based anaesthetic gas recycling technology company, has completed a £2.9m ($4m) pre-series A round backed by commercialisation firm EMV Capital, whose involvement was first revealed late last year. EMV’s parent company, NetScientific, also made a direct investment. The money has been allocated to completing pilot programmes at several hospitals in the UK and to scaling up operations. SageTech will also use the capital to move towards market authorisation.
QphoX, a Netherlands-based quantum communications technology developer spun out of Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), has raised €2m ($2.4m) in funding from investors including TU Delft. The round was co-led by public-private partnership High-Tech Gründerfonds and venture capital funds Quantonation and Speedinvest. QphoX has developed a device dubbed quantum modem, which enables a network of quantum computers. Currently, quantum computers operate as isolated machines without networking capability.
Figura Analytics, a UK-based developer of a rapid testing platform, has raised £180,000 ($250,000) in seed funding from SFC Capital and private investors. Founded in January 2021, Figura’s technology is targeted at the beverage industry, helping to improve quality and consistency of finished products.
Tellus Therapeutics, a US-based developer of a treatment for white matter injury and myelin repair in premature babies, has secured an undisclosed amount of seed financing from Xontogeny. Based on research at Duke University, Tellus will use the capital to progress its lead asset through investigational new drug-enabling work.
Firefly, a US-based outdoor advertising business backed by Stanford-StartX Fund, has sold a minority stake for an undisclosed amount to Multiply Marketing Consultancy, a subsidiary of International Holding Company – itself a division of diversified holding firm PAL Group of Companies. The money will allow Firefly to expand its operations in the Middle East and the company will establish an office in Abu Dhabi, where its latest shareholder is based. Firefly, which leases digital billboards to ridesharing drivers to offer them a secondary source of income, previously raised $30m in a series A round led by GV, a corporate venturing subsidiary of technology conglomerate Alphabet, in 2019. Stanford-StartX Fund, a vehicle for Stanford University-allied incubator StartX, participated in a $21.5m seed round in 2018.
Tafalgie Therapeutics, a France-based developer of treatments for chronic postoperative and neuropathic pain, has been spun out of Developmental Biology Institute of Marseille (IBDM), overseen by Aix-Marseille University and CNRS. The company was incorporated in November 2020 with the help of Satt Sud-Est and will commercialise research into a protein with potential analgesic effect.
ULab, a UK-based developer of software to manage laboratory equipment, has been spun out of University of Strathclyde. The company offers tools to lab managers to run laboratories more safely, efficiently and sustainably, and allows prospective research collaborators to understand what technology is already available. Among its applications is a QR code-based entry to ensure social distancing can be maintained. ULab was incorporated in June 2018 and had been operating within Strathclyde and select external universities before it was spun out this week.
– Additional reporting by Liwen-Edison Fu