New Zealand-based startup Marama Labs raises €1.75m for hazy wine tech scale-up and life sciences entry
Marama Labs, a deep-tech startup based in New Zealand and Ireland, has raised €1.75 million in funding. The oversubscribed seed-plus round was led by European agritech investor The Yield Lab.
The round also saw participation from existing investors including New Zealand Growth Capital Partners, Icehouse Ventures, Quidnet Ventures, and angel groups from New Zealand. Additional funding comes from new investors including DeepIE, Radar Ventures, NZVC, and angel and high-net-worth investors from New Zealand, Ireland, and Germany.
Marama Labs will use the fresh capital infusion to expand its hardware manufacturing capacity in New Zealand for its patented CloudSpec spectroscopy instrumentation and cloud software data analytics tools.
Founded in 2019 as a spinout from Raman Laboratory at Victoria University of Wellington by a group of physicists, Marama Labs introduced CloudSpec, a UV-Vis spectrophotometer that offers winemakers valuable quantitative chemical data for informed decision-making throughout the winemaking process.
With expertise in surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), Marama Labs founders, Dr. Brendan Darby as CEO, Dr. Matthias Meyer as CTO, and Professor Eric Le Ru as CSO, laid the groundwork for our leading product, the CloudSpec. Marama Labs marks their transition from academic exploration to the creation of tangible and practical solutions.
The CloudSpec platform has been adopted by notable New Zealand wineries, including Giesen and Cloudy Bay, as well as clients in the US, ranging from small Napa producers to top-10 large producers.
The company’s platform revolutionizes the analysis of opaque liquid samples, like fermenting wines and nanomedicines, providing chemical data to optimize production processes in a fraction of the time compared to existing instruments. Marama Labs plans to extend its global presence in the wine industry and introduce its first product to the life-sciences market in 2024.
Dr. Brendan Darby, CEO and co-founder of Marama Labs, expressed enthusiasm about the oversubscribed funding round and highlighted the company’s vision of optimizing liquid resources through spectroscopy analysis. He emphasized 2024 as a pivotal year for Marama Labs, focusing on creating value for winemaking customers and expanding CloudSpec into the growing life-sciences market.
“CloudSpec Insights is designed to give a busy winemaker colour and phenolic data on their wines at all stages of production that is easy to access, understand and act upon. Before CloudSpec, colour and phenolic analysis was time-consuming, expensive, and overly complex. We’ve simplified the process and are seeing our customers gain valuable business insights by using this data in the vineyard, winery and retail market,” Dr. Darby said.
John Carrigan, Investment Director at The Yield Lab (Europe), praised Marama Labs for its progress in taking complex technology from the lab in New Zealand to gaining traction in global markets. He sees the company creating real benefits for the planet and expressed delight in leading the funding round.
In addition to its success in the wine industry, Marama Labs is expanding CloudSpec’s applications to the life-sciences market, addressing challenges in drug discovery, process monitoring, quality assurance, and new product development. The company has commenced commercial trials with leading pharmaceutical manufacturers in Europe, the United States, and Japan. To support its life sciences business, Marama Labs has appointed Darren Andrews, former founder of handheld spectroscopy company Cobalt Light Systems, as Chief Product Officer of Life Sciences. The company is actively venturing into new territories, hiring its first full-time salesperson in the US for the wine industry.