Every day, Global University Venturing rounds up the smaller investments from across the university innovation ecosystem in its deal net.
Senorics, a Germany-based spectroscopy technology spinout of Technical University of Dresden (TU Dresden), has secured more than €8m ($9.7m) in a funding round featuring TU Dresden’s tech transfer affiliate TUDAG. The round was led by private equity fund Fidura Fonds, with additional participation from Zeiss Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of optical systems manufacturer Zeiss, Ventura Investment and Technologiegründerfonds Sachsen (TGFS). Senorics has developed sensors based on organic semiconductors to enable low-cost, lightweight and customisable near-infrared spectroscopy tools. It was founded out of TU Dresden’s Integrated Centre for Applied Physics and Photonic Materials in 2017, before TUDAG backed a $2.6m round in December 2018 together with TGFS and lead investor Ventura.
Shyftplan, a Germany-based workforce management and engagement platform, has picked up €7m ($8.5m) in a series A extension backed by UVC Partners, the venture capital affiliate of TU Munich’s tech transfer office UnternehmerTUM. The round was led by DIVC and also featured Coparion and Senovo. Shyftplan previously secured $5.5m from UVC Partners, SEK Ventures, Senovo, Kizoo and Coparion in 2019.
MiRecule, a US-based RNA therapeutics developer, has picked up more than $5.7m in seed funding backed by Maryland Momentum Fund, a vehicle for University System of Maryland. The round was led by Alexandria Venture Investments on behalf of life sciences real estate investment trust Alexandria Real Estate Equities, and also featured Boutique Venture Partners, Pathway Bioventures, Alumni Ventures Group, FSHD Society and assorted angel investors. The figure included a $2m non-dilute SBIR grant from the US National Cancer Institute. MiRecule previously secured $1.5m in a November 2019 round, according to a regulatory filing.
DeepScribe, a US-based developer of an artificial intelligence platform to automate medical notetaking based on research at University of California, Berkeley, has raised $5.2m in seed funding backed by the institution’s Berkeley SkyDeck Fund. The round was led by Bee Partners, with additional participation from Industry Ventures, Stage II Capital along with existing investors Tsingyuan Ventures, 1984 Ventures, Wavemaker 360, Supernode Ventures, Plug and Play and Sequoia Scout Fund. SkyDeck was also identified as a returning shareholder.
Hayden AI Technologies, a US-based autonomous traffic management technology developer, has completed a $4.5m funding round backed by University of California, Berkeley’s Strawberry Creek Ventures. BootstrapLabs led the round, which also featured media company e.Republic, Modern Venture Partners and Autotech Ventures. Hayden AI previously secured $5m in a seed round led by Autotech in June 2020, it revealed in its latest announcement.
Sonnest, a US-based developer of an electrically sensitive imaging agent for cardiac ultrasound procedures, has secured more than $4m in an oversubscribed series A round co-led by Swan Impact Network, Robin Hood Ventures and Texas Halo Fund, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal. Assorted angel investors also took part in the round. Sonnest is advancing research pioneered at Drexel University and will use the series A capital to progress its lead asset into the clinic.
Tiv, a US-based payments platform for the gaming community, has emerged from stealth with a $3.5m seed round led by 4490 Ventures, the venture capital firm co-founded by Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. The round also included Silverton Partners and assorted angel investors. Tiv had previously been bootstrapped.
Nanology Labs, a Canada-based developer of nanomedicines for cancer, has raised $3m in a seed round led by FACIT, with participation from Ontario Brain Institute, Ontario Center of Innovation, MEDTEQ and Creative Destruction Lab Angels. The money has been allocated to advancing Nanology’s proposed treatment to overcome tumour hypoxia, a common cause of resistance in cancer treatment.
Help Lightning, a US-based remote virtual assistance application firm based on research by Bart Guthrie, a neurosurgeon at University of Alabama at Birmingham, has collected $2.5m in series A funding from engineering and construction major Larsen & Toubro. Resolve Growth Partners previously injected $8m of funding into the company in August 2020.
EarlySight, a Switzerland-based spinout of EPFL working on an eye diseases diagnostic tool, has raised €2m ($2.4m) in a seed round led by Verve Ventures, with contributions from Nina Capital and private investors, according to EU-Startups. The company is targeting a €2.7m close for the round.
Dimpora, a Switzerland-based breathable waterproof membranes producer spun out of ETH Zürich, has raised more than CHF2.1m ($2.3m) in a seed round co-led by High-Tech Gründerfonds, Safer Made and Closed Loop Partners. The spinout is initially targeting the outdoor and active apparel markets, claiming its membranes match or surpass the breathability and waterproofness of current products.
Pulsiv, a UK-based solar energy technology developer spun out of University of Plymouth, has closed a £1.5m ($2.1m) funding round after adding £620,000 to the £890,000 it had secured from unnamed backers in February 2021. The company changed its name from Pulsiv Solar to Pulsiv as part of the second tranche, and appointed Darrel Kingham as chief executive effective. Zaki Ahmed, who invented Pulsiv’s technology, has left his position as assistant professor at Plymouth, and joined Pulsiv on a full-time basis as chief strategy officer.
Omega Crop, UK-based agricultural modelling and remote sensing spinout of University of Oxford, has raised £1.2m ($1.7m) in seed financing led by university venture fund Oxford Sciences Innovation. Omega Crop was originally known as Dark Horse Technologies and will use the funding to drive business growth.
BlueDot Photonics, a US-based perovskite materials developer spun out of University of Washington, has raised $1m in a seed round led by VoLo Earth Ventures. BlueDot has created so-called quantum-cutting technology that it says is able to lower the cost of solar power by up to 10% by improving the energy yield of panels by up to 16%.
Mentor Collective, a US-based platform connecting students to mentors, has collected $1m in bridge funding, including $500,000 from the IU Philanthropic Venture Fund, a vehicle managed by Indiana University’s fund management arm IU Ventures. Mentor Collective previously obtained $3m in a 2019 round, when IU Ventures also invested $500,000.
Clara Biotech, a US-based exosome technology developer spun out of University of Kansas, has attracted $850,000 in seed funding from Fountain Innovation Fund and private investors Martin Madaus and Michael Singer, according to the Kansas City Business Journal.
GenoMe Diagnostics, an Ireland-based developer of a blood test to detect ovarian cancer in its early stages, has obtained £300,000 ($417,000) in funding from Qubis, the commercialisation arm of Queen’s University Belfast. The round also attracted Deepbridge Capital and Co-Fund NI. GenoMe is a spinout of Queen’s University Belfast.
VascVersa, a UK-based developer of a cell treatment for vascular regeneration spun out of Queen’s University Belfast, has completed a six-figure (£100,000 = $139,000) funding round led by the university’s tech transfer subsidiary Qubis, according to Silicon Republic. NI Invest-backed Co-Fund NI and Halo Business Angel Network also took part in the round.
VitreaLab, an Austria-based developer of holographic display technology spun out of Vienna Center for Quantum Science and Technology (VCQ), has raised a seven-figure euro sum (€1m = $1.2m) from Hermann Hauser, PrimeCrowd and unnamed existing backers. IST cube, the investment fund of IST Austria, previously joined Apex to invest a six-figure euro sum in October 2019. VCQ is a joint initiative of University of Vienna, TU Wien and Austrian Academy of Sciences.
Synflux, a Japan-based sustainable fashion technology developer, has raised an undisclosed sum for its first funding from Keio University Shōnan-Fujisawa Campus (SFC)’s SFC Forum Fund 1, fashion design competition platform Big and angel investors Tatsuya Suzuki and Daisuke Katsura.
X-Cardiac, a Germany-based developer of artificial intelligence technology to detect post-surgery complications before they become critical, has been spun out of German Heart Center Berlin (DHZB) with an undisclosed amount of funding from IBB Ventures and assorted angel investors. Ascenion, the technology transfer partner of university hospital Charité and Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) also holds equity in the spinout, which benefited from a range of programmes through BIH, including a stipend for co-founder Prof Alexander Meyer.
Pio Therapeutics, an Australia-based developer of medicines for cancer, has been spun out of Monash University with the help of BioCurate. The latter is a joint initative between Monash and University of Melbourne, with the support of the Victoria state government. Alastair Hick of Monash Innovation, who previously joined GUV for its Talking Tech Transfer podcast, has joined Pio’s board.
Queen Square Analytics, a UK-based developer of image analytics technology for neurological clinical trials, has been spun out of University College London to commercialise research conducted at its Queen Square Institute of Neurology and Centre for Medical Image Computing. The spinout’s initial focus will be measuring the effectiveness of therapies for conditions such as multiple sclerosis.
Ivy Farms, a UK-based developer of cultured meat products, has officially launched out of University of Oxford and is seeking £16m in funding. The company was incorporated in December 2019 and was listed in GUV’s spreadsheet of Oxford spinouts last year, but it had remained in stealth mode until this month.
– Additional reporting by Liwen-Edison Fu