citybiz+ RRE Ventures-backed HyperSpectral Raises $8.5M to Advance AI-based Testing of Pathogens

Alexandria, Va.-based HyperSpectral, which uses AI-based spectroscopy to identify pathogens such as E. coli, salmonella and listeria, has raised $8.5 million in a Series A funding round co-led by New York-based RRE Ventures and Spain’s Kibo Ventures. California’s Correlation Ventures and GC&H Investments also backed the two-year-old startup, which has an office in Boston.

“This funding will accelerate our go-to-market strategy for our unique spectral AI technology with real-world applications in food and beverage safety, healthcare, and more industry sectors,” said HyperSpectral co-founder and CEO Matt Theurer, whose previous startup, Brigh Technologies, was acquired by Virtustream, which was itself bought by EMC Corp. to eventually become a part of Dell.

Broader Use

HyperSpectral’s co-founders include chief operating officer Lauren Stack and chief information officer Vince Lubsey, who previously co-founded Virtustream.

“The idea of using spectral data is not new, it’s been around for a long, long time,” Theurer told last year. “But what’s made this practical now is the combination of artificial intelligence, ubiquitous connectivity and the driving need to detect these things at the edge.”

HyperSpectral’s software can potentially be used across all types of hardware, and is faster and cheaper, when compared with traditional lab testing, allowing farmers, food processors, and physicians to get instant results with a quick scan, pointed out Theurer. With a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland at College Park, Theurer initially worked in IT, and later machine learning and artificial intelligence. He also received an MBA degree from MIT.

“HyperSpectral is massively improving the speed and accuracy of food safety testing through the power of computer vision and AI,” said RRE Ventures general partner and chief operating officer Will Porteous. “This is just the first of a number of significant market applications of this powerful technology.”

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Besides using its technology in critical food safety and healthcare, HyperSpectral has won Darpa contracts to develop defense applications. The company plans to use the funds to further develop its technology, hire key talent, and create wider AI datasets through lab partnerships and testing.

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Managing over $2B
Stuart Ellman, along with his Harvard Business School classmate Jim Robinson IV, established RRE Ventures in New York in 1994. It has a portfolio of over 200 companies, and has over $2 billion in assets under management. RRE also has an office in Boca Raton, Fla.

Besides HyperSpectral, RRE’s recent portfolio investments include Catio, Hypothetic, Boost and Kindo. Its notable exits include cybersecurity firm Proofpoint, Olo and Latch.