Via News Release
“SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 14, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Phylagen, the San Francisco-based data analytics company building the world’s largest environmental microbiome database, today announced $14 million in Series A financing led by Cultivian Sandbox, Breakout Ventures and Working Capital. The funding will be used to expand Phylagen’s microbial forensics service and grow its microbiome database.”
Phylagen has developed a microbiome analytics platform to provide unparalleled insights about global supply chains, empowering stakeholders to trace goods and materials to locations of origin such as exact factories, farms or warehouses. Each place and object on Earth has thousands of naturally-occurring invisible microbes, and the genetic information encoded in these microbes creates unique fingerprints for everything in the world, from food to textiles to counterfeit goods. Recent advances in bioinformatics and machine learning, combined with rapidly declining costs for DNA sequencing, have enabled Phylagen to digitize these microbial fingerprints and create a microbiome database that can be queried and probed for actionable insights for a wide variety of customers across numerous industries.
“The environmental microbiome is the largest untapped dataset on the planet,” said Phylagen CEO Dr. Jessica Green. “Imagine swabbing the invisible dust on a new running shoe with a q-tip and being able to see where it comes from. The global microbiome provides a fundamentally new type of geospatial data that we are leveraging to build a more transparent world.”
Achieving transparency in global supply chains is a growing priority across industries, as stakeholders are demanding more information about provenance. Globally, a significant proportion of materials and goods are sourced and manufactured in unauthorized locations that often have poor working conditions, unfair wages, reduced product quality and greater natural resource depletion. In response to this challenge, companies, governments and other organizations are spending billions of dollars annually to audit, secure, and improve the performance of their supply chains.
“Phylagen is a pioneer in microbiome data analytics, a discipline that integrates advances in machine learning and biotechnology to produce unprecedented insights into the global movement of products. Importantly, with this technology, there’s no need to introduce artificial tracers into the production process,” said Breakout Ventures Partner and CSO, Hemai Parthasarathy. “We are thrilled to support the outstanding team of scientists and entrepreneurs at Phylagen as they build this category-defining technology.”
Phylagen’s first product is a microbial forensics service that links goods to their site of origin, and its customers include large North American brands and retailers who are currently deploying the company’s solution in manufacturing locations worldwide.
“Transparency is an important first step to ensure the ethical treatment of workers. Phylagen’s technology provides novel insights for brands and organizations who need to access essential information about the origins of products,” said Chemain Sanan, Working Capital Partner. “We are very excited to be joining Phylagen’s journey as they pioneer the new frontier in supply chain traceability and transparency.”
Phylagen is built on the internationally recognized research of Dr. Jessica Green, former Director of the Biology and Built Environment Center at the University of Oregon where she worked with architects and biologists to advance understanding of how microorganisms interact with each other, with humans, and with the indoor environment. In 2014, Dr. Green co-founded Phylagen with Dr. Harrison Dillon, co-founder of industrial biotechnology company Solazyme, to turn the global microbiome into a digital database.
“The potential applications of Phylagen’s microbiome platform are vast and far-reaching, touching on industries from retail to agriculture,” said Cultivian Sandbox Partner Dan Phillips. “Phylagen is bringing unprecedented capabilities to supply chain transparency, and we’re excited to be joining them on this journey.”
Phylagen is pleased to announce that Phillips, Sanan and Parthasarathy will be joining the company’s Board of Directors as representatives of Cultivian Sandbox, Working Capital and Breakout Ventures. Also participating in the round were 3M Ventures, Dolby Family Ventures, Agfunder, Duck Investors, Blackhorn Ventures, J-Angels, Western Technology Investment and Arden Road Investments.
Phylagen is a data analytics company based in San Francisco, CA, that’s building the world’s largest environmental microbiome database. Phylagen uses DNA sequencing and machine learning to turn the largest untapped dataset on the planet, the environmental microbiome, into insights for customers across industries. Phylagen is proud to count Cultivian Sandbox, Breakout Ventures and Working Capital among its investors. To learn more, please visit http://phylagen.com/.