UbiQD today announced the close of a $7M Series A funding round. UbiQD will deploy the capital raised in this round to continue scaling the rollout of its first commercial product, UbiGro®, a layer of light that helps plants utilize sunlight more effectively.
The round was co-led by Scout Ventures and Keiretsu Forum, with key participation from Sun Mountain Capital, Epic Ventures, Plug and Play Ventures, Arcview Collective Fund, and others. UbiQD partner, Nanosys, also joined the round as a strategic investor. Brad Harrison from Scout Ventures, and Brian Lewis from Sun Mountain Capital, joined UbiQD's board of directors.
UbiQD, Inc. Founder and CEO, Hunter McDaniel, PhD.
UbiQD's core technology involves a versatile, 'quantum-dot' nanomaterial that is capable of manipulating color and concentrating light.
"We have developed a proprietary, patent-protected formulation of quantum dots that is safer, more cost-effective, and more durable than any existing alternative," they claim. "As a result, the material has a wide variety of applications, and we are addressing multiple market opportunities in a capital efficient manner."
Primary applications include enhancing crop productivity in greenhouses, enabling clean energy production in urban environments, and developing anti-counterfeiting solutions for the security industry. "With an initial focus on controlled environment agriculture, we have established ourselves as the leader in leveraging quantum dots for agtech and sustainability."
"UbiQD is fulfilling the long-standing promise of advanced materials; they are bringing nanotechnology to high-impact industries and enabling innovative products to help our world in meaningful ways. In doing so, they're realizing the billion-dollar potential that we immediately saw in the company when we first encountered them," said Howard Lubert, Co-Founder of Keiretsu Forum Mid-Atlantic. "We're excited to back a clear leader in this space and to help the company unlock even larger markets as they continue to grow."
UbiQD will deploy the capital raised in this round to continue scaling the rollout of its first commercial product, UbiGro®, a layer of light that helps plants utilize sunlight more effectively. Customers include major international greenhouse operations covering millions of square feet. The funds will also support development of more advanced UbiGro products, including new 'light recipes' tailored to maximize the benefit for specific crops and particular geographic regions.
By embedding UbiQD's quantum dot technology into glass and pliable films, the company has created an electricity-free approach to providing a more optimal spectrum of light for crops. Over the last two years, various pilot customers and technology institutes have tested UbiGro and repeatedly validated its ability to achieve 10-20% higher yields with faster cycle times, reduced waste, and improved crop quality. These improvements ultimately translate into larger cost savings, increased revenue, and higher margins for customers.
In the foreground, Nanosys Facilities and Equipment Manager presents a sheet of UbiGro greenhouse film that uses fluorescent quantum dots to help plants get more from the sun. Behind him stands an over 2,000 L quantum dot production reactor.
New materials innovation
"UbiQD has really pioneered a new field of materials innovation. Using quantum dots for sunlight manipulation has the potential to transform some of the largest industries on the planet and produce significant profits while doing so," said Brad Harrison, Managing Partner of Scout Ventures. "As a firm dedicated to supporting transformative technologies that can make the world a better, safer place, Scout Ventures was proud to invest in UbiQD's next phase of growth."
"UbiGro's deployment comes at a time when pandemic-related pressures, population growth, and climate change are all putting stress on existing food supply chains. Those same stresses and increased demand for fresh, organic produce are driving the growth of the global commercial greenhouse-grown crop industry, which is estimated to be worth more than $250 billion a year," they add.
"We're extremely excited to be working with a cohort of investors who share our passion for advanced materials and our vision for creating positive environmental impact," said Hunter McDaniel UbiQD Founder and CEO. "The greenhouse industry is growing at an incredible pace, particularly in North America; we're grateful to be able to draw on the combined expertise of our investors to capitalize on that market, expand our customer base, and enable new product offerings as we head into a new year."