After its recent €3.5m acquisition, Cork-based scientific data firm Rinocloud is ambitious to grow, writes
Cork-based scientific data management company Rinocloud is set for international expansion following its €3.5m takeover by international biotech company Integumen.
Integumen is listed on the London stock exchange and has developed laboratory-grown human skin.
It plans to use Rinocloud’s data management platform to deliver its animal-free skin testing services to a mass global market.
“This gives us access to a customer base of global pharma, cosmetic and wound care companies,” says Rinocloud chief executive Fin Murray who has immediate plans to hire five new staff and to find larger premises.
He expects the company’s staff size to grow to 30 or 40 in Cork over the next 12 months.
The startup is now two and a half years old and operates from Ballincollig where it has a staff of five.
It also has researchers in Cambridge and a team of contract developers in a number of locations around the world.
As part of the acquisition deal, Integumen announced that it is raising £2.5m (€2.9m).
Mr Murray says part of this funding will be used for ongoing development and research and development at Rinocloud, in both Cork and Cambridge.
In 2016, Mr Murray was one of three co-founders of Rinocloud.
It was set up when another company he co-founded, Hydrolight, couldn’t find a platform capable of managing scientific data at the level it required.
Setting up at the Rubicon Centre at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT), Rinocloud created a basic viable product and in early 2017 raised €600,000 in seed funding from international investors and Enterprise Ireland.
CIT became an early test customer for its scientific data management platform, called RinoLab two years ago and the company began targeting research organisations and pharmaceutical companies abroad.
“Because a lot of high-end scientific research is commercially funded and very sensitive we had to build a high degree of security to keep the data safe,” said Mr Murray, explaining that this high level of security made it possible for the company to develop a second product called Rinodrive.
“This allowed us to diversify quickly into other sectors such as government and financial services providing secure data management and to meet regulatory requirements such as the GDPR,” he says.
The company’s core focus is however on the management and analysis of scientific data using artificial intelligence (AI).
“This can manage complexities, spot anomalies, observe patterns and make new discoveries in large data sets and sets our software apart when it comes to extracting real value from data management,’ says Mr Murray.
Rinocloud says it is one of a small number of companies that manages scientific data capable of standing up to scrutiny to the standards of research papers, patents, prototypes, and product launches.
“The major share of customers are in Ireland and the UK but we also have one in Spain and we have an AI partnership in China, which is a very large market for us and where we have a strong presence through our investors,” says Mr Murray, adding that the customers include some large blue chip companies.
Six months ago, Rinocloud looked on Integumen as a potential customer. While working together, Mr Murray says the two companies identified opportunities.
“We realised that our solution could be used to enable the scalable lab services business that Integumen was creating and could provide the platform for its lab to market range of services,” he says.
“This [deal] will accelerate Integumen’s transformation to a services business and our software will give its markets mass access to these services,” he says.
Mr Murray joins the main board of Integumen.
“At all levels of the combined business we will be focusing on delivering better science, backed up by verified and verifiable data to support our customers developing great products.
“Our Cork office will play a key role and as part of our plans we are ramping up employment of highly skilled data scientists and programmers,” he says.