From biological research to the development of new vaccines, laboratories can benefit from increasingly sophisticated automation. Bionomous SA today announced that it has raised $2.7 million (U.S.) in Series A funding. The Villaz-St-Pierre, Switzerland-based startup said it plans to begin commercializing its EggSorter device and deploying it globally.
Bionomous includes experts in mechatronics, microfluidics, and artificial intelligence. Its EggSorter product automatically screens, sorts, and dispenses small biological entities such as zebrafish eggs, xenopus oocytes and embryos, and plant seeds.
“I am particularly proud of our team to have reached several milestones on time, which has been the key factor in convincing our current and new investors to finance the next phase of our venture, said Frank Bonnet, co-founder and CEO of Bionomous. “We are also very grateful to our customers who trusted us by adopting our products in their early phase.”
Bionomous envisions production growth
Bionomous spun out of Swiss research institute EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) in 2019. Its goal was to automate the visual inspection, sortation, and dispensing of small biological entities.
Over the past year, the Bionomous team concentrated its efforts on optimizing EggSorter based on the feedback it received from early adopters. The company participated in the first Healthcare Robotics Startup Catalyst run by MassRobotics and its partners in 2022.
The new device obtained CE certification in December 2022 and is now ready to be deployed on the market, said Bionomous. The company plans to scale production and said it already has customers in Europe, the U.S., and China.
Swiss investors lead funding round
Villaz-St-Pierre-based Nivalis Group led Bionomous' Series A round. Cybernetix Ventures and Capital Risque Fribourg also participated in the funding.
“We are delighted that Bionomous has successfully completed the first stage of industrialization,” said Christophe Fragnière, president of Nivalis Group. “This important step and the dedication of the highly qualified Bionomous team has given us the confidence to strengthen our financial commitment. This recognition was also a positive sign to attract new investors.”
Nivalis Group invests in startups that specialize in automation, robotics, additive manufacturing, and AI. The Swiss holding focuses on seed and Series A equity investments. It supports young companies with a technology park and a team of experts in business development, finance, human resources, IT, marketing, and communications.
Capital Risque Fribourg SA is an innovation capital fund financed by the canton of Fribourg, Banque Cantonale de Fribourg, Groupe E, and the Pension Fund of the Canton of Fribourg. Swiss cantons are similar to U.S. states.
Capital Risk Fribourg said it invests in early-stage companies that create jobs in the canton of Fribourg and develop products or services with high growth potential.
Cybernetix Ventures to join Bionomous board
For Cybernetix Ventures, the reasons to invest were clear. “We have known Frank and the Bionomous team for some time, and we have been impressed with their innovative product, solid traction in Europe and the U.S., and their ability to quickly learn and scale,” said Fady Saad, founder and managing partner at Cybernetix Ventures.
“We are excited to be part of their journey,” said Saad, who will join Bionomous' board of directors.
Cybernetix Ventures invests in early-stage robotics, automation, and AI startups. The Boston-based venture capital firm connects its portfolio to regional, national, and global robotics ecosystems.
It offers its expertise to potentially disruptive companies in sectors including advanced manufacturing, logistics and warehousing, architecture, engineering and construction, and healthcare and medical devices.