February 1, 2023
Purdue Ag-Celerator fund invests $100,000 in pathogen detection company
OmniVis, which makes hand-held devices to detect pathogens, will use the funding to launch a field pilot
OmniVis makes iSpyDx hand-held devices that rapidly detect pathogens in food, agriculture and water samples. The devices perform to laboratory method standards but do not require special equipment or training.
CEO and co-founder Katherine Clayton said OmniVis is interested in detecting pathogens related to food safety to protect the consumer, grower and everyone along the food production and distribution chain. The Ag-Celerator funding allows OmniVis to establish a field pilot for iSpyDx.
“OmniVis knows what a top-notch agricultural program Purdue has, along with amazing support from the state,” Clayton said. “The funding will help us to test our solution in real-world settings and make more connections in the agricultural community. We see the Ag-Celerator as an incredible opportunity to work with amazing talent in the agricultural community across Purdue and the state of Indiana.”
In 2022, OmniVis was named in the fifth annual Most Fundable Companies list by Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Business School. Other co-founders are:
- Tamara Kinzer-Ursem, associate head for academic programs and the Marta E. Gross Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering. Kinzer-Ursem pitched OmniVis during the Ag-Celerator Demo Day event in December.
- Jacqueline Linnes, the Marta E. Gross Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, and director of the College of Engineering Honors Program.
- Steven Wereley, professor of mechanical engineering, School of Mechanical Engineering.
Ag-Celerator, created in 2015, is a $2 million innovation fund designed to provide critical startup support for Purdue innovators who bring Purdue’s patented intellectual property or Purdue’s “know-how” technologies to market. The fund is operated by Purdue Ventures with assistance from the Purdue University College of Agriculture, the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization and the agricultural industry.
“Purdue’s culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in agriculture supports students, faculty, staff and alumni who want to strengthen the industry,” said Bernie Engel, senior associate dean of research and graduate education. “Ag-Celerator investments are a resource that can help them bring their work to market.”
Riley Gibb, director of business development at Purdue Ventures, said, “Ag-Celerator funding has impacted several startup companies that bring Purdue innovations to the market, including preparing them for further investment. We are excited by the advancements being developed by OmniVis and are excited for its growth.”
Previous recipients of Ag-Celerator investments are AkanoCure Pharmaceuticals Inc., Heliponix, Insignum AgTech, JUA Technologies International LLC, Karyosoft LLC, Krishi LLC, LeafSpec AgTech, NanoBio Designs, Ongenia LLC, Phicrobe LLC, Progeny Drone Inc., Rogo Ag LLC, Verility Inc., VinSense LLC and ZeaVaxx. Applications for the spring 2023 funding round are due February 15.
About Purdue Ventures
Purdue Ventures manages multiple pools of capital in collaboration with the Purdue University entrepreneurial ecosystem and local corporations, enabling Purdue startups to improve the world. It has invested over $12 million since its formation.
To support various technologies coming out of the university as well as student or alumni founders, Purdue Ventures manages three funds, each with a different investment focus. Ag-Celerator funds startups looking to commercialize Purdue IP or Purdue “know-how” technologies related to or impacting agriculture. The Foundry Investment Fund is a side-car fund that supports life science innovation by making up to 30% of institutional capital investments made in Purdue-affiliated startups. The Purdue Startup Fund is a partnership between Purdue Research Foundation and University Development Office that supports innovation commercialization through early-stage investments.
About Purdue University
Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last five years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://stories.purdue.edu.
Writer/Media contact: Steve Martin, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Katherine Clayton, email@example.com
Bernie Engel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Riley Gibb, email@example.com