Handheld Infrared Spectrometer
Consumer Physics has developed SCiO, an advanced optical spectrometer that enables users to identify the chemical makeup of anything around them.
Nicknamed by the company as “Google for matter,” this handheld sensor allows users to analyze the physical world, enabling what it calls “Laboratory sensing in the palm of your hand.”
Consumer Physics initially sold its system directly to consumers, but pivoted to a business-to-business approach with a specific focus on the agriculture market.
Since the switch, the company has signed more than 25 customers, including nine Fortune 2,000 companies.
Notable customers include:
• Cargill, a provider of food, agricultural, and industrial products whose 2018 revenues surpassed $114 billion.
• DuPoint Pioneer, one of the world’s leading developers and suppliers of plants and seeds.
• And Christian Hansen, a global bioscience company developing nutritional foods and beverages. This Denmark-based company generates more than $1 billion in annual sales, and recently launched an animal health division in the U.S.
Consumer Physics has received funding from top investors including Khosla Ventures, Apex Capital Partners, Castor Ventures, Total Access Fund, and Alumni Ventures Group.
The company has been granted 20 patents for its product, and has 200 additional patents pending.
Now it’s raising capital to expand its business and target the more than 5.7 million farms around the world.
(Please note: This particular startup is raising funds from accredited investors only. An accredited investor is someone with a net worth of at least $1 million, or annual income of at least $200,000, or $300,000 with their spouse.)
Since the 1970s, material sensing has been performed using near infrared, or “NIR” spectroscopy. This analysis technique has been used in the food, agricultural, dairy, pharmaceutical, and chemical industries.
NIR instruments use infrared light to assess the compositional, functional, and sensory makeup of ingredients, intermediates, and final products.
For example, it can provide information like a food’s moisture, protein, and fat content, and identify any hazardous or questionable materials in products.
The problem is that current instruments are cumbersome and expensive. Testing traditionally involves benchtop-sized machines that can cost more than $25,000. These machines often require dedicated operators, and take time to produce results.
Consumer Physics has combined optical, algorithmic, and computer technologies to miniaturize the traditional NIR spectrometer while preserving its analytical power and performance. The company believes that miniaturization is the key to improving the user experience and enabling access to this tool for companies worldwide.
Like a traditional NIR instrument, Consumer Physics’ handheld device works by shining light on an object and processing the reflected light’s spectrum to obtain information about the object’s properties.
As a result, companies can do things like:
• Analyze feed for animals like dairy cows.
• Complete quality checks of commodities including corn, soy, wheat, rice, and cocoa.
• Check the quality of fresh produce, for instance the sweetness of strawberries and grapes.
• Analyze the nutritional content of meats and dairy products.
• Detect signs of fraud in pharmaceutical drugs.
• And inspect specialty chemicals before they’re released to the public.
Consumer Physics’ device is supplemented by a mobile app, cloud-based database, and a user management console and analytics dashboard.
The company sells its sensors for a one-time fee of around $400, and then charges an annual subscription fee to license the accompanying software and mobile platform. This fee is $4,500 per year.
Consumer Physics has been mentioned in media outlets including CNN, CNBC, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and Fox. It also won the United Nations UNESCO Netexplo award, a title given to a breakthrough digital innovation.
The company is on track to bring in $3.5 million in revenue in 2019.
Initially, Consumer Physics is targeting the agriculture industry, specifically the precision farming market. According to Markets and Markets, this sector is projected to reach $9.5 billion by 2023.
The company is marketing its system to the more than 40,000 dairy farms in the U.S., as well as 400,000 commercial corn farms and 300,000 soybean farms.
Damian’s background includes working with smartphone cameras and micro-optical systems.
Before starting Consumer Physics, he was Director at Tessera, a consumer electronics company.
Prior to that, he spent six years as a researcher and teaching assistant at Tel Aviv University, focusing in the field of Silicon Photonics.
Damian previously served in the Israel Air Force, where he was responsible for assembling cameras that were placed into military equipment.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Israel Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Electro-optics from Tel Aviv University.
Dror has experience with two successful tech-based startups.
Most recently, he was Vice President of Business Development for ColorChip, a company designing and manufacturing optical components used to build photonic integrated circuits.
Before that, he was Director of Marketing and Sales for OmniGuide, a medical device company creating minimally-invasive surgical tools.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Israel Institute of Technology and an MBA from MIT.
Before becoming CEO of Consumer Physics in June 2019, Assaf served as the company’s Vice President of Research & Development.
Prior to that, he led development projects at SolarEdge (NASDAQ: SEDG), a provider of monitoring solutions for residential and commercial solar power units.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Tel Aviv University, and a Ph.D. in Physics from the Weizmann Institute of Science.
Eran brings 20 years of financial experience to Consumer Physics.
He was previously Chief Operating Officer of Diamonds International, a billion-dollar retail company, and was VP of Finance for Fundtech, a financial company creating software for banking solutions.
He spent two years as an accountant for Cellcom, a telecommunications company, and began his career working for Deloitte, a professional services company.
Eran earned a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and Economics from Ben Gurion University and an MBA from The Hebrew University.
Before joining Consumer Physics, Zvi was President of Sales at Click Software, where he helped grow the business and guide it toward an IPO. Click Software was eventually acquired for $500 million.
Prior to that, he spent 11 years serving in the Israel Air Force.
Zvi has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Tel Aviv University and an MBA from Fordham University.
A VC fund investing in a variety of startups, including those focused on Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain technology, Internet of Things, Life Science, and Robotics.
A VC fund that invests primarily in the financial services industry and companies with innovative products.
A VC fund run by a community of alumni from MIT. Successful investments include Dataxu (a software company) and EverQuote (an insurance marketplace).
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