Pictured at NovaUCD is Dr Barbara Murphy, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science and founder of the UCD spin-out company Equilume.
Equilume, the UCD equine technology spin-out company, today officially announced that it has secured €550,000 in seed funding.
Equilume, which is based in Co. Kildare, has secured the funding from Enterprise Ireland and a number of angel investors based in Ireland, the UK and in the USA. The company intends to use the investment to accelerate sales of its innovative Equilume Light Mask technology within the global thoroughbred industry to assist breeders to maximise the reproductive efficiency and performance in their horses.
The Equilume Light Mask, which is manufactured entirely in Ireland, is a novel automated mobile lighting device that fits comfortably under a horse’s head collar. The Light Mask has been scientifically proven to provide the optimum level of blue light to a single eye of a mare to successfully advance her breeding season, prevent long gestations and ensure reproductive activity in early foaling mares.
Thoroughbred breeders around the world are currently using the Equilume Light Mask to eliminate the requirement to maintain their non-pregnant mares indoors under artificial lighting and thereby save at least €1,000 per mare per season while at the same meeting crucial industry timelines. The technology is also being successfully used globally to help pregnant mares foal on time.
Dr Barbara Murphy, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science and the founder of Equilume said: “The Equilume Light Mask has already gained considerable traction within the global Thoroughbred market and this summer we doubled our sales in the key Australian market. This seed funding will help us accelerate our marketing efforts, expand our reach into new market segments and continue to break new boundaries in advancing equine reproductive health technologies with our ongoing new product development.”
She added: “Equilume currently employs 7 people and we plan to increase staff numbers to 11 by end of 2016.”
The Equilume Light Mask has been developed as a result of ground breaking research carried out by Dr Barbara Murphy from UCD’s School of Agriculture and Food Science, in collaboration with Professor John Sheridan, an optoelectronics researcher in UCD’s School of Electrical, Electronic and Communications Engineering.
Dr Brian O’Neill, manager, High Potential Start-Ups, Lifesciences, Enterprise Ireland said: “This is an amazing success story and a world’s first. We are delighted to have supported this company from a research concept stage right through to commercialisation and global roll-out. I believe Equilume has enormous potential and is a real game changer for the equine industry. It really adds to Ireland’s reputation as a global centre of excellence for equine technology.”
Equilume has already won a number awards including Enterprise Ireland’s ‘One to Watch’ Award (2012); overall winner Newbridge 200 Business Start-Up Competition (2012) and a NovaUCD Start-Up Award (2011).