Belfast-based Sonrai Analytics raises £700,000 in seed funding

4 Mar 2020

From left: Techstart Ventures’ John Murray; Sonrai Analytics co-founders Deva Senevirathne and Dr Darragh McArt; Brian McCaul of Qubis; and Stuart Gaffikin of Clarendon Fund Managers. Image: Sonrai Analytics

With the funding, Sonrai Analytics aims to help health organisations ‘create digital information that helps improve patient treatment’.

Today (4 March), Belfast-based artificial intelligence and deep-learning start-up Sonrai Analytics announced that it has closed a £700,000 funding round, which the company said “signals a significant step” towards to delivering next-generation healthcare through big data analysis.

Founded in 2018 by Dr Darragh McArt and Deva Senevirathne, Sonrai is a spin-out from Qubis, the commercialisation arm of Queen’s University Belfast.

The start-up applies AI and deep learning to develop bespoke applications and interfaces to enable health organisations, biotech and pharma to filter and transform datasets in real time. Sonrai also offers data visualisation and predictive analytics to workflows to accelerate organisational processes and improve performance.

The investment round

Sonrai’s seed investment comes from a range of private entrepreneurs and local seed funders around the island of Ireland. The investment was led by Techstart Ventures, alongside QUBIS and Co-Fund NI.

Invest NI has also offered Sonrai £48,000 of support towards the creation of eight jobs in the area of software engineering and data science.

McArt commented: “Having emerged from the thriving research environment and state-of-the-art bioinformatics facilities at Queen’s Precision Medicine Centre, Sonrai is uniquely positioned to gain insights into modern day healthcare needs and couple this with the application of machine learning and AI to create digital information that helps improve patient treatment.

“Sonrai’s technology is already helping healthcare organisations to advance bioscience analytics in the US and Europe. This funding is an encouraging milestone that will further boost the development and commercialisation of our company.”


Brian McCaul, CEO of Qubis, said: “We are delighted to see another commercial opportunity in digital healthcare arising from the Queen’s research base. This funding will secure growth and sustained business for Sonrai in delivering exciting analytical solutions, ensuring traction and employment in key skills for the benefit of the NI economy.

“These are exactly the type of knowledge-intensive jobs we need. That the company is gaining international customers, even prior to this seed round, demonstrates the potential that Sonrai has.”

John Murray, investment director at Techstart Ventures, added: “The Sonrai solution unlocks critical information contained in the big data now being generated by researchers in drug trials and other studies, and can lead to faster and more effective treatments and cures for cancer and other diseases.

“It was borne out of many years of academic research by Darragh and his team. Techstart is excited to support Sonrai as they now bring this solution to market.”

Stuart Gaffikin, investment manager at Clarendon Fund Managers, said that Sonrai has a “talented founding team” that has developed a leading bioinformatics platform. “We are excited to play a part in Sonrai Analytics’ funding and look forward to journeying with the team as it grows and develops over the coming years,” he added.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic