The Western New York Impact Investment Fund has made a significant investment in SomaDetect, Inc., a developer and manufacturer of sensor equipment for dairy farmers based in Buffalo, N.Y. The Fund will have a minority ownership stake in the company.
“The Western New York Impact Investment Fund is pleased to announce our partnership with SomaDetect, a truly innovative company that has the potential to revolutionize the dairy farming industry in our region and beyond,” said Thomas P. Quinn, chief executive officer, Western New York Impact Investment Fund. “For generations, dairy farming has been an important and integral business in all eight countries of Western New York and our dairy farmers have been struggling. SomaDetect’s groundbreaking technology can provide dairy farmers with crucial data to increase productivity for the benefit of farmers today and for years to come,” he added.
Read more about SomaDetect's groundbreaking technology here
SomaDetect’s innovative technology monitors both milk quality and the health of cows, resulting in healthier herds, better milk and greater efficiency for farmers. Invented by Satish Deshpande, Ph.D., the technology uses an inline sensor that attaches to the agricultural equipment currently used for milking to detect problems such as diseased cows, poor milk quality and the reproductive cycle of a cow. Established by Bethany Deshpande, Ph.D., in 2016, the company relocated to Buffalo from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, after winning the 43North startup competition in 2017.
“Dairy farming is an incredibly important part of Western New York’s economic landscape. Not only are we excited for the support from our dairy farming community, but also from the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Buffalo,” said SomaDetect founder and CEO Bethany Deshpande. “Throughout 2018, we grew from six people to more than 25 employees. We installed sensors on farms. We found meaningfully committed manufacturing partners and made our first sales. We are so grateful to have been welcomed into the Buffalo community, for the fantastic team we have built here, and for ongoing support from our farmers, our community members, and now the Western New York Impact Investment Fund.”
To date, SomaDetect has sold more than 450 sensors, which will be deployed to almost 30 farms across New York State, New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada in the coming months. The company is looking to expand sales in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario, Canada, and expects to sell nationwide by the end of 2020.
“SomaDetect is revolutionizing milk quality testing for dairy farmers and 43North is very proud to have them in our portfolio. Since winning our competition’s $1 million top investment in the fall of 2017, SomaDetect has impressed us with the quality of their technology, the caliber and work ethic of their team, their passion for helping farmers, and their ongoing growth in Buffalo,” said 43North president Alex Gress. "I’m very pleased that the Western New York Impact Investment Fund is investing in SomaDetect. This is another example of how we're continuing to make Buffalo a startup destination together."
The Western New York Impact Investment Fund’s partnership with SomaDetect marks the Fund’s fifth investment in 14 months. In a little more than a year, the Fund has deployed three million dollars in capital to area businesses and organizations with promising market potential who are uniquely positioned to build upon the economic resurgence currently taking place in Western New York. Recently, the Western New York Impact Investment Fund announced its partnership with Ru’s Pierogi, a manufacturer and distributor of specialty pierogi based on the Lower West Side of Buffalo, N.Y. Previously, the Fund made significant investments in CleanFiber Buffalo, LLC (CleanFiber), a high-quality cellulose insulation company based in Blasdell, N.Y., EcoVerde Organics, LLC, a Western New York soil amendment company, and Viridi Parente, a renewable energy company on Buffalo’s East Side.