SomaDetect raises $6m in funding to develop AI technology for dairy
The financing is led by Ag Capital Canada (ACC), a private equity fund based in Tillsonburg, Ontario. Additional new investment is being provided by Merck Animal Health Ventures, as well as by Builders VC and Wilbur Ellis’ Cavallo Ventures.
SomaDetect CEO and co-founder Bethany Deshpande describes the company’s system as deep tech for dairy.
“We use light-scattering technology and powerful AI algorithms to discern and monitor critical dairy metrics such as somatic cell count, mastitis, reproductive status, fat, protein and other milk-quality elements. The system provides progressive dairy farms with the information they need to support better decisions, higher-quality milk and healthier herds,” Deshpande said.
The company said the investment will help bring SomaDetect’s technology to more farmers in Canada and the US.
“We are passionate about helping farmers make critical dairy herd decisions, while saving money and time. No other platform can measure all the parameters herd managers care about with such frequency,” Deshpande said.
Ag Capital Canada managing general partner John Lansink noted SomaDetect’s potential to transform the dairy industry.
“Having had experience managing reproduction in livestock, I can see major benefits in this technology and its pregnancy algorithms. The services SomaDetect has to offer will be game-changers,” Lansink said.
Stephen Murray, B.V.Sc., executive director, Merck Animal Health Ventures, said, “Merck Animal Health is a leader in the animal health industry, focused on innovation and consistently delivering superior technology and products to our customers. We constantly look for partnerships and technology investment opportunities in breakthrough innovations to help, improve or enhance animal health management and health outcomes, including dairy technology. We’re excited to see the potential impact that SomaDetect’s technology will have over time, and on a global scale.”
Ag Capital Canada and Merck’s Animal Health Ventures are joining earlier investors who have supported the company, including Dairy Farmers of America. Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) granted C$4m (US$3.2m) to SomaDetect in January 2020, which has supported earlier stages of development for the company’s technology and will provide ongoing support to set up installations in Canada and the US and demonstrate greenhouse gas benefits within dairy operations.