January 22, 2024

Marama Labs Raises €1.75m for Scale-up and Life-Sciences Market Entry

Dublin, Ireland and Wellington, NZ, 22 January, 2024 – Marama Labs, a New Zealand- and Ireland-based deep-tech startup developing novel spectroscopy technology for chemical analysis of complex liquids in industries including wine and life sciences, has closed a seed-plus round of €1.75 million. The investment was led by The Yield Lab, a European agritech venture capital firm with participation from existing investors, including New Zealand Growth Capital Partners, Icehouse Ventures, Quidnet Ventures and angel groups from New Zealand. New investors DeepIE, Radar Ventures, NZVC and angel and high-net-worth investors from New Zealand, Ireland and Germany also participated in the round.

The new funding will allow Marama Labs to scale up hardware manufacturing capacity in New Zealand for its patented CloudSpec spectroscopy instrumentation and cloud software data analytics tools. The platform enables opaque liquid samples, like fermenting wines and nanomedicines, to be analysed in a fraction of the time it takes with existing instrumentation, giving customers chemical data to optimise and improve production processes. The company will also expand its global footprint in the wine industry and launch its first product to the life-sciences market in 2024.

Dr Brendan Darby, CEO and co-founder of Marama Labs, says: “This oversubscribed funding round demonstrates the conviction new and existing investors have for Marama Labs’ vision of optimising the world’s liquid resources through spectroscopy analysis. 2024 will be a seminal year for Marama as we continue creating value for our winemaking customers and expand CloudSpec into the rapidly growing life-sciences market.”

John Carrigan, Investment Director at The Yield Lab (Europe),
says: “We’ve been really impressed by the Marama Labs team’s progress to date, taking a highly complex technology out of the lab in New Zealand and now gaining significant traction in global markets like winemaking and life sciences. This is a technology and company that we see creating real benefits to the planet. We’re delighted to back the Marama Labs team by leading this round.”

Marama Labs, a Victoria University of Wellington spinout company, was founded in 2019 in New Zealand by physicists Dr Brendan Darby, CEO, Dr Matthias Meyer, CTO, and Professor Eric Le Ru, CSO, when they discovered a fundamentally new way to optically interrogate highly cloudy liquids using light-based sensors; the breakthrough led to the development of its CloudSpec UV-Vis spectrophotometer.


CloudSpec equips winemakers with previously unavailable quantitative chemical data to support and enhance their decision-making throughout the winemaking process, from the vineyard to the wine bottle. Marama Labs’ customers use CloudSpec’s unique scientific data to produce quality and consistent wines that reflect their brand’s identity in the market.

Dr Darby says, “CloudSpec Insights is designed to give a busy winemaker colour and phenolic data on their wines at all stages of production that is easy to access, understand and act upon. Before CloudSpec, colour and phenolic analysis was time-consuming, expensive, and overly complex. We’ve simplified the process and are seeing our customers gain valuable business insights by using this data in the vineyard, winery and retail market”.

CloudSpec-Insights couples the CloudSpec hardware device with a wine-specific web application, where data generated by the device on wine samples are visualised in the cloud. Winemakers can make informed decisions around winemaking production, blending, vintage consistencies, consumer targeting and new brand development.

Marama Labs’ customers include iconic New Zealand wineries Giesen and Cloudy Bay, who have used the platform for three years. In the US, clients include ultra-premium small producers in Napa and top-10 large producers who have deployed the technology across multiple production facilities.

Marama Labs is also partnering with third-party testing labs to make the technology available to smaller wineries. In the US, partner labs in Napa and Pennsylvania are already offering CloudSpec analysis as a service to wineries with a subscription to the CloudSpec Insights platform through Marama Labs, giving them access to the power of CloudSpec data analytics without the need to own a device.

Life sciences and pharmaceutical manufacturing

Marama Labs has widened CloudSpec’s applications into its next target vertical of the life-sciences market, where opaque liquids are a major hurdle for drug discovery, process monitoring, quality assurance and new product development. The company has commercial trials with leading pharmaceutical manufacturers in Europe, the United States and Japan.

To support Marama Labs’ life sciences business, Darren Andrews, former founder of handheld spectroscopy company Cobalt Light Systems, has been appointed Chief Product Officer of Life Sciences. The company also recently hired its first full-time salesperson in the US in the wine industry.

For more on Marama Labs and its revolutionary deep-tech spectroscopy technology, see www.cloudspec.co.nz.


About Marama Labs

Marama Labs is a deep-tech sensor and data analytics company founded in Wellington, New Zealand, with offices in Ireland and the United States. The company develops novel UV-Vis spectroscopy (light-based) sensor instrumentation and cloud software data-analytics tools that enable the efficient chemical analysis of complex liquids, such as wine, nano-medicines and pharmaceutical products, to improve production processes and add value. For more information, see www.maramalabs.com.

About The Yield Lab Europe

The Yield Lab Europe is the leading Agtech impact venture capital fund, investing into early stage European AgriFoodTech companies to make the global food and agriculture production systems more sustainable and more efficient whilst improving profitability. Its portfolio includes technologies in crop production, animal health and welfare, precision agriculture, supply chain/logistics, food ingredients, supply chain, food processing and packaging. The Yield Lab Europe is part of the global Yield Lab network that forms the largest early stage AgriFoodTech investor base.


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