SomaDetect Co-Founders Nicholas Clermont and Bethany Deshpande

SomaDetect Co-Founders Nicholas Clermont and Bethany Deshpande

SomaDetect, which tests the quality of milk and collects data for the dairy industry, has closed a US$2 million (C$2.6 million) round of funding to help it build out its databank and technology.

The Fredericton-based company issued a statement Monday saying it received the equity investment from the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, the Western New York Impact Investment Fund, and New York Ventures.

SomaDetect last year launched its first sensor prototype, 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. The new funding from these investors will allow the company to extend that work.

“Our company is growing and advancing thanks to their support, and strong support from the dairy industry,” said SomaDetect CEO Bethany Deshpande in a statement. “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 New Brunswick in 2016, SomaDetect has designed and produced an in-line sensor that measures critical indicators of quality and health from every cow at every milking. The company combines the sensor readings with deep-learning algorithm and visualization software to assess the health of each cow in real-time. Until now, it has taken so long to assess the health of a cow that a disease could become fatal by the time it was identified.

SomaDetect is 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,” said NBIF Investment Associate Thomas Bird. “The fact that they’ve attracted attention plus investment from American venture capitalists are both indicators of continued growth.”

SomaDetect was the runner-up at NBIF’s Breakthru competition in 2017, then went on to win the US$1 million first prize at the 43North competition in Buffalo, N.Y., later the same year. It then opened an office in Buffalo and drew attention from American investors.

“The Western New York Impact Investment Fund is pleased to announce our partnership with SomaDetect, a truly innovative company that has the potential to revolutionize the dairy farming industry in our region and beyond.” said Thomas P. Quinn, Chief Executive Officer of WNYIIF.

“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. 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.”

The company, which now has 25 employees, previously received investment from such groups as Cavallo Ventures, Dairy Farmers of America, Builders VC, and iGan Partners.

“They continue to grow with a strong presence in Fredericton,” said Bird. “They have a great team and a great product with interesting patented technology. Their growth is compelling, and we continue to have a lot of confidence in the company.”