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SomaDetect Raises $2-Million (U.S.) From Venture Capitalists, NBIF

Image: The Canadian Press

FREDERICTON – A New Brunswick startup has just closed a $2-million (U.S.) funding round.

In this latest round, SomaDetect, a milk quality and dairy data company, has attracted investment from New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF), the Western New York Impact Investment Fund (WNYIIF), and New York Ventures. The investment follows previous Seed Investments from Cavallo Ventures, Dairy Farmers of America, Builders VC, and iGan Partners.

“We are incredibly excited and honoured to receive this investment from WNYIIF, NBIF, New York Ventures and all of our investors. Our company is growing and advancing thanks to their support, and strong support from the dairy industry,” said SomaDetect CEO Bethany Deshpande in a release.

“Their investment will help build and grow our company as we expand to collect thousands of data points from farms in North America. It will help us build algorithms that matter for dairy farmers.”

Founded in 2016, SomaDetect has designed and produced an in-line sensor that uses deep learning algorithm and visualization software to measure critical indicators of quality and health (fat, protein, somatic cell counts, and progesterone) from every cow at every milking.

The company has been working with dairy farmers and industry partners across North America to enhance the sensor technology and build deep learning algorithms to provide dairy farmers with actionable data to help manage their operations, including several aspects of milk quality and herd health.

“SomaDetect is a local success story. The fact that they’ve attracted attention plus investment from American venture capitalists are both indicators of continued growth”, said Thomas Bird, an investment associate at the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation.

“They were a runner up in our BreakThru competition in 2017, so seeing their continued success is a win for us. Starting out in a small business plan competition and evolving into a successful company where their trajectory continues to grow is very impressive.”

SomaDetect’s growth has also expanded south of the border over the last few years. After winning the 43North competition in Buffalo, NY in 2017 and receiving 1-million (U.S), SomaDetect opened an office in Buffalo from where they have been expanding their team and further developing their technology.

“For generations, dairy farming has been an important and integral business in all eight counties of Western New York and our dairy farmers have been struggling,” said Thomas P. Quinn, CEO of Western New York Impact Investment Fund, another firm that contributed to the round.

“SomaDetect’s ground-breaking technology can provide dairy farmers with crucial data to increase productivity for the benefit of farmers today and for years to come.”

Since 2016, the company has grown to 25 employees. Last year, the company launched its first sensor prototype version which has been installed in 12 pilot farms in Ontario, New York State, and Atlantic Canada with the goal of collecting data and building algorithms.