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Clear Labs, a food analytics startup for retailers and manufacturers, has raised $13 million in a Series B round led by Wing Venture Capital, with participation from Google Ventures (GV), Tencent, Khosla Ventures, and Felicis Ventures.
Founded out of Menlo Park in 2014, Clear Labs’ software analyzes the molecular makeup of food to help brands ensure the quality of their products; mitigate risks, such as contamination; prove that products really are GMO-free; and generally complement existing food-safety programs.
The company had raised a $6.5 million Series A round in September 2015, and with $13 million more in its coffers, the company says it plans to scale its genomics and analytics platform. Alongside the funding news, Clear Labs is also adding Michael Taylor, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, to its board of directors.
“Our mission is to help our customers mitigate risk through data-driven intelligence,” said Sasan Amini, CEO and cofounder of Clear Labs. “Both our family of NGS-based food tests and software analytics offerings have huge implications for the scalability and accessibility of food safety and quality measures. This new funding will help us reach food companies on a global scale.”
The funding announcement comes four months after the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 was signed into effect by President Obama. It requires the labeling of genetically modified foods, known as GMOs (genetically modified organism), in some instances. The law falls short of what many anti-GMO groups had hoped for, as it doesn’t enforce GMO labeling, for the most part, but it still provides brands with the incentive to voluntarily label their goods as “non GMO.” And this is where Clear Labs is hoping to find a market, in helping food brands prove what is and isn’t in their foods.
“The important factor here is the trend toward transparency and the continuing consumer demand to know what’s in their food,” Clear Labs cofounder and CMO, Mahni Ghorashi, told VentureBeat. “Brands and retailers working with Clear Labs are among the first in the food industry to back up their ‘GMO free’ claims through rigorous scientific testing. In general, we are seeing more and more brands turn to technology like Clear Labs’ to help differentiate in the era of transparency and comply with new legislation.”
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