Equine tech start-up off the starting line with €550,000 seed funding

26 Nov 2014

Dr Barbara Murphy, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science and founder of the UCD spin-out company Equilume. Image via UCD

Equilume, an Irish equine technology start-up, has secured €550,000 in seed funding to expand its Light Mask product to the international market that will assist horse breeders in more efficient reproduction.

The company’s Light Mask, which is manufactured entirely in Ireland, is designed as an automated mobile lighting device that fits under a horse’s head collar.

The company claims it provides the optimum level of blue light to a single eye of a mare to advance her breeding season, prevent long gestations and ensure reproductive activity in early foaling mares.

The University College Dublin (UCD) spin-out company founded by Dr Barbara Murphy has already established links with international clients who are using the Light Mask to eliminate the requirement to maintain their non-pregnant mares indoors under artificial lighting and thereby save at least €1,000 per mare per season while at the same time meeting crucial industry timelines.

This technology is also being successfully used globally to help pregnant mares foal on time and the company has already celebrated a number of successes, having won Enterprise Ireland’s One to Watch Award (2012), being the overall winner of the Newbridge 200 Business Start-Up Competition (2012), and having won a NovaUCD Start-Up Award (2011).

Murphy, of the UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, said the Equilume Light Mask has already gained considerable traction within the global thoroughbred market and this summer the company doubled its sales in the key Australian market.

“This seed funding will help us accelerate our marketing efforts, expand our reach into new market segments and continue to break new boundaries in advancing equine reproductive health technologies with our ongoing new product development.”

The company currently employs seven people and plans on increasing the number of staff to 11 by the end of 2016.

Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Accenture Ireland, Intel, the Irish Research Council, ESB, Twitter, CoderDojo and Science Foundation Ireland.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic