Dublin start-up FoodMarble has raised €1.2 million that will help support the company's overseas expansion and strengthen its research and development capability.
The funding round was driven by Halo Business Angel Network, and follows a previous investment of €160,000 by the network. Investors included HBAN business angels from the MedTech syndicate, along with Enterprise Ireland, SOSV and Delta Partners.
The investment will support the company's research and development, along with expansion into the US and Canada.
FoodMarble has developed a digestive breath analyser that can help people control food intolerances by identifying specific foods that could be triggering symptoms of conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The bespoke breath analysis can be accessed via a smartphone app.
In 2019, its first year of sales, Food Marble achieved €1 million, and has sold 15,000 units to date. The company is predicting sales of €4 million by the end of 2021.
In the US, the company already has deals with retailer Best Buy, where it will go on sale in Canadian stores later this year, and Amazon through its Launchpad programme that introduces customers to products from innovative start ups.
Co-founder and chief executive Aonghus Shortt developed the product due to his fiancée Grace's experience with IBS.
“Once the product was developed, we knew that we had something very powerful and we wanted to offer it to others as an aid for them to be able to get on with everyday life comfortably,” he said.
“Along with our expansion in the US, we are continually innovating to ensure that we retain our position as the market leader for personal breath-testing devices. With the support and advice of our business angels, we are well on target to achieve sales of €4 million by the end of 2021.”
Breath analysis is typically costly for hospitals and healthcare services, with Food Marble the first product available for home use. Since the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, the company said it had seen increased demand for its product from hospitals in a bid to reduce backlogs
"Food Marble's impressive sales in its first year of trading instantly impressed our investors. By uncovering a worldwide market gap, the potential for growth is huge," Niamh Sterling, consultant with HBAN, said.
“Business angel investment is extremely valuable to start-ups like FoodMarble, who have their eye on international expansion. Their multinational industry experience allows them to share insights and connections that can be transformational for a new business. This has already opened doors for FoodMarble in the US market and is supporting their continued innovation.”
HBAN, a joint initiative of Enterprise Ireland, InterTradeIreland and Invest Northern Ireland, is responsible for the promotion of business angel investment.