Technology Concept Fund Makes Second Investment in Less than Six Months
Columbus, OH (June 30 2014) – ProteoSense, LLC, a Columbus-based spinout of The Ohio State University, is the most recent recipient of an investment from the $1 million Technology Concept Fund, LLC. The Technology Concept Fund includes capital committed by The Ohio State University and Ohio Third Frontier and is managed by Rev1 Ventures.
ProteoSense is developing a unique sensor technology invented by Ohio State College of Engineering and College of Medicine researchers to detect proteins that are fundamental markers of pathogens such as Salmonella, E-coli, and Listeria. The firm is focusing initially on detecting serious threats to food safety in fresh produce.
Using ProteoSense’s handheld testing system, customers can test produce for potentially dangerous pathogens before shipping product to retailers and receive rapid and precise results rather than having to send samples to a lab and wait three or four days for similar results.
“ProteoSense’s technology allows food producers to prevent contamination rather than having to react to it,” said Tom Walker, Rev1 Ventures CEO. “We see opportunity for ProteoSense’s platform technology, not just in agricultural areas of Ohio, but in multiple applications across multiple industries around the world.”
Under the Food Safety Modernization Act, which Congress passed in 2010, in response to significant disease outbreaks traceable to contaminated food, requirements for insuring food safety are becoming much more rigorous. ProteoSense is tackling a problem that is growing in emphasis and relevance and that has enormous payback in terms of people’s health and cost avoidance for food producers and distributors. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently finalizing rules and regulations for the fresh produce sector, which will require growers, processors, shippers and wholesalers to demonstrate they can prevent and monitor the safety of their products. This new mandate will create an entirely new market segment that ProteoSense’s technology is well positioned to serve.
“We provide speed, accuracy, and ease of use. Customers will purchase a meter and sensor cartridges for the bacteria they want to detect. The meter resembles a smart phone, and has a plug-in, single use sensor,” said Mark Byrne, ProteoSense CEO. “Customers turn it on, apply a liquid sample, and results are ready in minutes with high accuracy. It’s designed to be easy to use, cost effective, and highly reliable.”
Based on intellectual property licensed from Ohio State, the company has working prototypes that will soon be in the hands of initial users who will provide essential feedback to enable the final commercial design. Future uses for the technology include applications in food distribution centers, in restaurants to verify that kitchens are free of potential pathogens, and in allergen testing to identify peanuts or the presence of milk.
In addition to the Technology Concept Fund investment, ProteoSense was chosen after a highly competitive review process to receive a $100,000 grant from the Ohio Third Frontier Technology Validation & Start-up Fund. Mr. Byrne also has invested in the company.
“The Technology Concept Fund and the Third Frontier grant provide critical early stage capital to startups like us,” said Byrne, Ohio State engineering alum and experienced entrepreneur who has led startups for thirteen years. For the past two years, he has been a key volunteer member of the Ohio State College of Medicine technology review board, where he scouted for a technology licensing opportunity on which to build a startup company.
“We are fortunate to be building our company in Columbus where state resources, investment from the University, and commercialization services from Rev1 Ventures all come together to help entrepreneurs accelerate their companies growth and success,” Mr. Byrne said.
Investments by the Technology Concept Fund are likely to be among the first dollars that come into these projects. While it isn’t explicitly required, it is desirable for a candidate company to present additional validation by having additional funding from the founding entrepreneur, grants, strategic partners and/or other sources of capital.
“The ProteoSense deal is a great example of how the Central Ohio innovation community works together to launch a company with a breakthrough technology that can create jobs and wealth for the region,” Mr. Walker said. “It’s exciting to engage with an experienced and talented entrepreneur who knows how to leverage Rev1 Ventures’ connections and access to capital to help his company realize its potential.”
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About Rev1 Ventures
Rev1 Ventures helps entrepreneurs build great companies. With the capital of a VC and the connections of an accelerator, Rev1 supports start-ups through the first phases of growth to increase their probability of success. Our team of experts leads an ongoing, data-driven process that ensures entrepreneurs develop products people want, and companies people need. Rev1 manages a continuum of investment funds made possible by the participation of Ohio Third Frontier and other strategic partners. For more information, visit www.rev1ventures.com.
About ProteoSense, LLC.
ProteoSense, LLC, based in Central Ohio, is focused on developing sensor technology to detect proteins that are markers of pathogens including Salmonella, E-coli, and Listeria, all of which are critical for maintaining food security. In addition to finding contaminated food, ProteoSense’s sensors can detect pathogens or contaminants in clinical samples, environmental samples and other products quickly and accurately. Unlike current methods, our sensors deliver results in minutes not hours or days. ProteoSense offers its customers an unparalleled combination of speed, accuracy, and ease of use.