Food authenticity: SwissDeCode’s US$4.1M first venture round to develop real-time certification tech
27 Jan 2021 --- Swiss biotech company SwissDeCode has closed its first venture round, raising CHF3.7 million (US$4.1 million). The new funding closely follows a recent €2.5 million (US$3 million) award from the European Innovation Council. It will be used to accelerate the development of a rapid on-site food testing and certification platform.
SwissDeCode has been present in the market with a variety of rapid, on-site testing solutions that are helping companies in different parts of the food supply chain to detect food contamination and adulteration, avoid food recalls and improve the trust of customers in their products.
This includes successful collaborations with leading global food companies.
Poised to deliver a disruptive solution for industry
SwissDeCode is now preparing to launch a fully-automated system that will perform the same test as laboratories, including certification, in a fraction of the time and directly at the point of need.
The aggregated test data can be used for predictive analytics to optimize processes and build consumer confidence.
The funding is led by the Singapore-based VisVires New Protein, with Belgium’s agrifood innovation initiative EIT Food joining the round.
“Our solution will deliver a user experience equivalent to making an espresso coffee and a certificate equivalent to those issued by laboratories. We have good early traction with customers and we know that there is an incredible untapped potential for our technology,” says Brij Sahi, CEO & co-founder, SwissDeCode.
“With slow testing, or even the lack of testing, being the norm today, it is not surprising that the global food industry spends an estimated US$40 billion a year in product recalls.”
“SwissDeCode’s solution is timely in the face of increasing consumer and regulatory pressure on companies to improve their monitoring processes,” adds Kenneth Lee, co-managing partner, VisVires New Protein.
Fast-paced lab testing
Food travels from farm to fork at an accelerated pace and laboratory testing services are not keeping up. In addition, consumers are asking for more information and transparency about their food.
“At EIT Food, we believe that innovation is essential to help us develop a healthier, more sustainable and more trusted food system for all. SwissDeCode’s rapid on-site food analysis solution is an excellent example of the role entrepreneurs play in accelerating the transformation of the food system,” says Benoit Buntinx, director of business Creation, EIT Food.
The automated system, an on-site device that will be operated directly by the customer’s staff and does not require any laboratory equipment, analyzes food samples and aims to provide ISO certified results in just 30 minutes.
This represents a great improvement for food companies who currently have to wait for labs to analyze their samples, a process that can take up to seven days.
The versatility of the platform – which is able to detect adulterated food, GMO, allergens, coronavirus and other viruses – means that it can be developed to meet specific testing needs of companies.
VVNP backs ambitious teams who are developing transformative solutions for a healthier, safer and more sustainable agri-food system. Its global portfolio includes Ynsect (France), Nuritas (Ireland), Mitte (Germany), In Ovo (Netherlands), Nutrition Innovation (Singapore), ViAqua (Israel), Aleph Farms (Israel) and Mushlabs (Germany).
SwissDeCode is the second investment from VVNP’s recently launched Fund II.
The initiative comprises a consortium of key industry players, start-ups, research centers and universities from across Europe. It is one of eight Innovation Communities established by the (EIT), an independent EU body set up in 2008 to drive innovation and entrepreneurship across Europe.
Edited by Gaynor Selby
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