Liane Hart, Verility CEO, works with a manager at a pork farm in central Indiana. Verility has closed a $3.5 million Series A round of funding, which will help the company prepare to commercialize its livestock fertility analysis platform. (Photo provided by Verility)
Verility Inc., led by co-founder and CEO Liane Hart, has closed Series A funding worth $3.5 million. The round was led by Mountain Group Partners of Nashville, Tennessee, and includes a previous investment from Purdue Foundry.
Verility has created a global platform called Fertile-EyezTM that provides fertility analysis products that enable livestock producers and breeders to accelerate reproductive performance. It provides accurate, simple and cost-effective analysis to predict ovulation phase and sperm quality at the point of care. The company has licensed the intellectual property from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a nonprofit teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, where it was originally created and validated in humans.
Hart said improving sperm analysis and improving ovulation detection for animal breeding are two of the most important ways to meet the critical need for more edible meat protein. She said conception rate is known to be highly correlated with producer profitability and food sustainability.
“The Series A funding will allow us to develop our product for swine producers and breeders in a major segment of production,” she said. “The investment will allow us to reach the point of preparing for commercialization, which we anticipate in late 2023. It’s extremely exciting to have the ability to bring automated mobile breeding technologies into a segment of the animal health industry that normally does not see much innovation.”
Verility chief financial officer Brian Kopp said, “We are extremely pleased that more investment is finding its way into animal health innovation to bring more efficiency to animal production. We have a real opportunity to make significant improvement in animal fertility, an area where more innovation is needed.”
Rob Readnour, managing director at Mountain Group Partners, said Verility complements the group’s investment portfolio. Its investment in Verility’s Series A funding round aligns with the group’s overall goals.
“Mountain Group Partners is excited to bring our expertise in animal health to help Verility develop the Fertile-Eyez technology to allow swine producers to be more productive through improved reproductive performance,” he said. “Producers are facing challenges from rising input costs and labor shortages only exasperated by the pandemic. They need innovation like Fertile-Eyez to help them meet the important mission of producing animal protein in a sustainable way.”
Hadi Shafiee, faculty member at the Division of Engineering in Medicine and Renal Division of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said artificial intelligence-assistive tools will play an important role in the path toward transforming traditional agriculture to precision agriculture.
“The proprietary, AI-enabled, smartphone-based platform technology that my lab has created has broad applications in precision animal health and breeding,” he said. “This Series A funding will help us to commercialize our first AI-enabled product for accurate, affordable and real-time ovulation prediction in swine.”
Verility received $100,000 as one of two winners of the Purdue Ag-Celerator, an agriculture innovation fund, in January 2022. Riley Gibb, director of business development at Purdue Foundry, said the company is a strong example of startups that bring Purdue-supported innovations to the market.
“Liane Hart is one of many high-quality entrepreneurs bringing Purdue-supported startups to market,” he said. “Verility and other companies are already making an impact in plant sciences and animal sciences.”
Futurology Life selected Verility as one of its top agriculture technology companies in Indiana earlier in 2022. Hart recently participated in Purdue Foundry’s Women in Entrepreneurship Panel and AgriNovus Indiana’s Quadrant event for ag bioscience entrepreneurs.
Verility Inc. is a central Indiana startup that is focused on disrupting and optimizing breeding and fertility in animal health by leveraging image recognition and proprietary algorithms in the global animal health breeding markets. This new fertility platform is considered a breakthrough product category, creating a much-needed niche, allowing industry players access to mobile product attributes never before seen at such an affordable rate. Verility is located in Maxwell, Indiana. More information about the company is available at online.
About Mountain Group
Mountain Group Partners (“MGP”) is an investor dedicated to investing in and actively guiding transformational businesses in the life sciences, animal health, and technology sectors. Founded in 2002, MGP has invested in more than 50 companies in these sectors. MGP invests in seed- and early-stage companies. Within life sciences, the firm focuses on MedTech, diagnostics, and opportunistic drug development. MGP places a premium on those innovations that have existing intellectual property or a novel scientific foundation for building intellectual property. Animal health investments focus on disruptive technologies that have a meaningful impact on global animal health and animal agriculture. Technology investments focus on business and health care technology, targeting those ideas with quantifiable development risk and a rapid path to market. For more information, visit www.mtngp.com.
About Purdue Foundry
The Purdue Foundry is an entrepreneurship and commercialization hub whose professionals help Purdue innovators create startups. The Purdue Foundry is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2019 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Place from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. Contact the Purdue Foundry at email@example.com.