Kiwi company Marama Labs has raised €1.75m for the scale-up of its hazy wine analysis technology and life-sciences market entry.
Marama Labs(link is external), a New Zealand- and Ireland-based deep-tech startup developing novel spectroscopy technology for chemical analysis of complex liquids in industries including wine and life sciences, has closed a seed-plus round of €1.75 million.
The investment was led by The Yield Lab, a European agritech venture capital firm with participation from existing investors, including New Zealand Growth Capital Partners, Icehouse Ventures, Quidnet Ventures and angel groups from New Zealand.
New investors DeepIE, Radar Ventures, NZVC and angel and high-net-worth investors from New Zealand, Ireland and Germany also participated in the round.
The new funding will allow Marama Labs to scale up hardware manufacturing capacity in New Zealand for its patented CloudSpec spectroscopy instrumentation and cloud software data analytics tools. The platform enables opaque liquid samples, like fermenting wines and nanomedicines, to be analysed in a fraction of the time it takes with existing instrumentation, giving customers chemical data to optimise and improve production processes.
The company will also expand its global footprint in the wine industry and launch its first product to the life-sciences market in 2024.
“This oversubscribed funding round demonstrates the conviction new and existing investors have for Marama Labs’ vision of optimising the world’s liquid resources through spectroscopy analysis,” says Dr Brendan Darby, CEO and co-founder of Marama Labs.
“2024 will be a seminal year for Marama as we continue creating value for our winemaking customers and expand CloudSpec into the rapidly growing life-sciences market.”
A Victoria University of Wellington spinout company, Marama Labs was founded in 2019 by physicists Dr Brendan Darby, CEO, Dr Matthias Meyer, CTO, and Professor Eric Le Ru, CSO, when they discovered a fundamentally new way to optically interrogate highly cloudy liquids using light-based sensors; the breakthrough led to the development of its CloudSpec UV-Vis spectrophotometer.
CloudSpec equips winemakers with previously unavailable quantitative chemical data to support and enhance their decision-making throughout the winemaking process, from the vineyard to the wine bottle. Marama Labs’ customers use CloudSpec’s unique scientific data to produce quality and consistent wines that reflect their brand’s identity in the market.
“CloudSpec Insights is designed to give a busy winemaker colour and phenolic data on their wines at all stages of production that is easy to access, understand and act upon,” says Dr Darby. “Before CloudSpec, colour and phenolic analysis was time-consuming, expensive, and overly complex. We’ve simplified the process and are seeing our customers gain valuable business insights by using this data in the vineyard, winery and retail market”.
CloudSpec-Insights couples the CloudSpec hardware device with a wine-specific web application, where data generated by the device on wine samples are visualised in the cloud. Winemakers can make informed decisions around winemaking production, blending, vintage consistencies, consumer targeting and new brand development.
Marama Labs’ customers include iconic New Zealand wineries Giesen and Cloudy Bay, who have used the platform for three years. In the US, clients include ultra-premium small producers in Napa and top-10 large producers who have deployed the technology across multiple production facilities.
Marama Labs is also partnering with third-party testing labs to make the technology available to smaller wineries. In the US, partner labs in Napa and Pennsylvania are already offering CloudSpec analysis as a service to wineries with a subscription to the CloudSpec Insights platform through Marama Labs, giving them access to the power of CloudSpec data analytics without the need to own a device.
Life sciences and pharmaceutical manufacturing
Marama Labs has also widened CloudSpec’s applications into its next target vertical of the life-sciences market, where opaque liquids are a major hurdle for drug discovery, process monitoring, quality assurance and new product development. The company has commercial trials with leading pharmaceutical manufacturers in Europe, the US and Japan.
For more on Marama Labs and its revolutionary deep-tech spectroscopy technology, go to www.cloudspec.co.nz.
Photo below: The Marama Labs co-founders: (L-R) Dr Brendan Darby, CEO, Dr Matthias Meyer, CTO, and Professor Eric Le Ru, CSO.