[Updated, 10/3/18, 1:35pm, to clarify the customer relationship] Elemental Machines is a startup making progress in a challenging field. That field would be sensors and systems that monitor and optimize physical processes in life sciences, pharmaceuticals, and other industries. You can tell it’s challenging because there isn’t even a name for it. But it touches on the “Internet of Things,” data analytics, machine learning, and more.
The Cambridge, MA-based startup is announcing today that PerkinElmer (NYSE: PKI), the diagnostics, life science, and environmental testing giant headquartered in Waltham, MA, will use Elemental’s software as part of its Asset Genius product, which helps pharma and biotech companies monitor lab equipment and how it’s used.
Elemental’s software takes in a wide range of sensor information (things like temperature and air pressure), stores it, and analyzes it to help labs and other organizations run their processes more effectively.
Elemental Machines also said today it closed a $9 million Series A funding round during the summer, led by new investor Digitalis Ventures, which is based in New York. The investment brings Elemental’s total outside funding to about $11.5 million. (Previous investors in the startup include FF Angel, Max Levchin, and Project 11 Ventures.)
“Our whole thesis was that if you can measure everything under the sun, you can… accelerate research and development, and downstream into manufacturing,” Iyengar says. Elemental started by focusing on life sciences—helping chemistry and biology labs track things like temperature and lighting and debug their experiments, kind of similar to how software developers debug their code.
The PerkinElmer deal is a milestone for the startup. “For us, it’s a significant customer,” Iyengar says.
He declined to comment on how much PerkinElmer is paying Elemental, or any revenue growth numbers for his startup. But he characterized this as a vendor-supplier relationship, with PerkinElmer being Elemental’s biggest customer to date.
Elemental was founded in 2015 and has grown to about 25 employees. As its tech platform matures, the company is also expanding beyond pharma and life sciences into other sectors, such as indoor agriculture (think cannabis farms) and manufacturing.
“Originally we wanted to focus on analytics and the A.I. side of scientific data,” Iyengar says. But his team found that getting good data (and the right data) was a big hurdle in the real world, so they spent time improving the data-collection process in their system. “The next area of growth for us is… curation and analysis of that data.”