Vertical Venture Partners has joined university venture fund Highlander Venture Fund as an investor in UC Riverside-founded mosquito repellent developer Sensorygen.
Sensorygen, a US-based mosquito repellent producer spun out from University of California, Riverside, obtained $50,000 of seed capital on Wednesday from venture capital firm Vertical Venture Partners.
Sensorygen secured the funding following its victory in a University of California system-wide entrepreneurship competition.
Founded in 2014, Sensorygen has been working on a non-toxic mosquito repellent based on six naturally-occurring chemicals known to disorientate the insect’s sense of smell.
The chemicals were selected through an artificial intelligence-powered technology which scoured approximately 500,000 candidates.
Currently, most mosquito repellents use a potent solvent called Deet as their active ingredient, however there are concerns Deet could pose health risks.
Sensorygen was founded by Anandasankar Ray, a professor of molecular, cell and systems biology who leads studies into insect olfaction at the Department of Entomology.
The spinout has now raised $2.1m of equity and debt in total. Sensorygen received $50,000 of cash from UC Riverside’s Highlander Venture Fund in February 2018.
Tom Stone, chief executive of Sensorygen, said: “We extensively test our natural chemicals to prove that they work as well as the existing synthetic chemicals.
“We have found that nearly every large corporation wants their products to be safer and as natural as possible to meet the preferences of today’s consumer.”