Marama Labs raises €1.75m to analyse complex liquids

22 Jan 2024

Marama Labs co-founders. From left: CEO Dr Brendan Darby, CTO Dr Matthias Meyer and CSO Prof Eric Le Ru. Image: Marama Labs

The company plans to expand its global footprint in the wine industry and launch its first product for the life sciences market this year.

Marama Labs, a deep-tech start-up based in New Zealand and Ireland, has raised €1.75m in a seed-plus funding round to develop its novel spectroscopy technology.

The oversubscribed funding round was led by The Yield Lab, a European agritech venture capital firm. The round also saw participation from existing investors including New Zealand Growth Capital Partners, Icehouse Ventures, Quidnet Ventures and angel groups from New Zealand.

New investors that participated in the funding round included DeepIE, Radar Ventures and NZVC, along with angel and high-net-worth investors from New Zealand, Ireland and Germany.

Marama Labs was founded in 2019 and is a spin-out of Victoria University of Wellington. The company has developed a novel device focused on spectroscopy – the study of the absorption and emission of light and other radiation by matter.

The start-up aims to use this technology to analyse the chemicals in complex liquids, in industries such as wine and life sciences.

The device – known as CloudSpec – equips winemakers with previously unavailable quantitative chemical data to boost their decision-making throughout the winemaking process, from the vineyard to the wine bottle.

Marama Labs has multiple wineries as clients but has widened CloudSpec’s applications into the life sciences market, where opaque liquids can be a major hurdle for drug discovery, process monitoring, quality assurance and new product development. The company said it has commercial trials with leading pharmaceutical manufacturers in Europe, the US and Japan.

The company plans to use the fresh funding to scale up the hardware manufacturing capacity in New Zealand for this device and boost its cloud software data analytics tools. Marama Labs also plans to expand its global footprint in the wine industry and launch its first product for 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,” said Marama Labs CEO and co-founder Dr Brendan Darby.

“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.”

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic