Silicon Valley investors have led a funding round of almost $1.5 million in Ann Arbor-based Akadeum Life Sciences Inc., a spinoff from the University of Michigan, to develop its technology for tissue, water and food testing.
The lead investor, BioInfleXion Point Partners, specializes in early-stage life-science investments. The round was joined by other Silicon Valley and Michigan investors.
“Our fund typically operates in the Bay Area, but the opportunity to invest in Akadeum Life Sciences — our first Michigan investment — is something we couldn’t overlook,” Brock Siegel, a managing partner of BioInfleXion, said in a news release. “They have the perfect combination of a disruptive technology, a smart team that delivers results and operates in a large, fast-growing market.”
“Akadeum is a great example of the type of exciting investment opportunities that exist in Michigan,” said Doug Neal, a managing director of Ann Arbor-based eLab Ventures LLC, a firm headed up by Silicon Valley veterans with an office in California, whose business model is finding West Coast investors for Michigan tech companies.
eLab was an original investor in Akadeum, which spin off from UM in 2014. In October 2015, it finished raising a seed round of $1 million. The company has a specific niche in the lab testing world, using what it calls buoyancy activated cell sorting, trademarked as BAGS, to make it easier, less expensive and faster to prepare samples for testing.
The company was co-founded by John Younger, a physician and professor at UM, and Brandon McNaughton, a local tech veteran who has been an entrepreneur-in-residence with Invest Detroit’s Detroit Innovate Fund, a lecturer at the Center for Entrepreneurship at UM and a consultant for startup companies in UM’s Office of Technology Transfer. Younger is chief scientific officer and McNaughton is CEO.
Joining eLab in the seed round were the Detroit Innovate Fund, Invest Michigan, UM’s MINTS program and Jeffrey Schox, the company’s Silicon Valley-based patent attorney. MINTS is an acronym for Michigan Investment in New Technology Startups, a program that allows direct investment by UM in its spinoff companies.