Fast Growing nature data business relocates to Surrey Research Park after securing £6.5m investment to scale-up
19th May 2021
- NatureMetrics Ltd will bring high-value jobs to Surrey
- Business set for rapid growth as world wakes up to the need to reverse the current decline in nature
- Investment will help grow product range which provides data to businesses about their biodiversity impacts using DNA left behind in water and soil
NatureMetrics today announces a £6.5m investment and a relocation to Surrey Research Park to expand its growing business delivering biodiversity data to business, NGOs and governments using DNA.
NatureMetrics is run by three women, Dr Kat Bruce, founder and CTO, Katie Critchlow, CEO and Dr Juliet Jones, who also gained her PhD at University of Surrey. The company currently employs 45 people but expects that to grow to over 70 by the end of the year. NatureMetrics are currently recruiting in business development, communications and laboratory and data science for their growing team.
The company surveys biodiversity using tiny traces of DNA left behind in the environment by all species from bacteria to blue whales. Dr Kat Bruce, the company founder and CTO said:
“Forensic scientists have used DNA to identify individuals at crime scenes for years – now we can use our technology to identify the whole range of species, from bacteria to birds, present in the environment using small samples of soil or water. Our technology can identify tiny fragments of DNA left behind by species and pinpoint exactly which species it is from.”
The Investment round was led by experienced venture capitalists Acuity Investments, whose principals have decades of private equity experience investing in fast-growing businesses and other investors include SYSTEMIQ, a consulting and investment firm that backs system-changing technology in the areas of Nature, Climate and Materials. Irena Spazzapan Partner in SYSTEMIQ said;
“We know we’re losing nature at a rapid rate but to date we’ve not had the ability to measure nature at scale to set global goals and to enable businesses to set targets and measure their progress. We can’t manage what we can’t measure. NatureMetrics can replace nets and traps and binoculars with scalable, comprehensive monitoring technology to finally enable business to understand and manage their impact on nature.”
“There is increasing recognition of the fragility of our natural ecosystems, with an urgent need for enhanced monitoring and mitigation against decline. I am delighted therefore to welcome NatureMetrics to our growing environmental cluster. I hope we can further support NatureMetrics business growth via the wider community at the Research Park, in addition to the connectivity and collaboration with the University, including with our planned Institute for Sustainability.”
CEO Katie Critchlow added:
“After a year where our non-lab staff worked remotely, we recognised a strong need to go above and beyond to provide a great working environment for staff to encourage people back to the office for that face to face sparking and sharing of ideas we have all missed this year. The Surrey Research Park provides that environment and kudos in a convenient location for a wide range of talent in London and the south east needed as we scale up.”
NatureMetrics, which is currently based in Egham, will now embark on a three-month process to equip its new 6000-square-foot laboratory with cutting-edge technology. This will ensure that the tiny quantities of DNA present in the samples can be extracted and reported to their clients, a method they have perfected over the company’s five-year history.
Tens of thousands of samples have already been processed for clients all over the world, including the conservation charity WWF, whose UK headquarters are in Woking. NatureMetrics was able to map over 650 vertebrate species across a 500km landscape stretching across the Northern Peruvian Amazon by analysing DNA in water samples while working with WWF in Peru. This included over 300 species of fish and 150 species of mammals, including a wide range of land-based species (such as jaguars, tapirs, and monkeys) whose DNA had been washed into the river.