Dublin start-up FoodMarble is bringing its digestive solution to patients in the US and Canada and is targeting €4m in sales by the end of 2021.

FoodMarble has raised the €1.2m in a funding round led by a Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN) investor syndicate along Enterprise Ireland, SOSV and Delta Partners.

The company was founded by CEO Aonghus Shortt along with co-founders Lisa Ruttledge and Peter Harte.

“Once the product was developed, we knew that we had something very powerful”

Foodmarble’s small but powerful digestive breath analyser; helps people who suffer with digestive problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) to identify what foods they should avoid in order to prevent uncomfortable symptoms.

Approximately one in eight people worldwide have IBS and FoodMarble for the first time have taken breath analysis out of the hospital setting, to help people overcome this challenging condition from the home.

Linked to a smartphone app, it detects and tracks in real time what foods impact a user’s levels of bacterial fermentation.

Targeting €4m by end of 2021

Dark-haired man in white shirt.

FoodMarble co-founder and CEO Aonghus Shortt. Image: Alan Rowlette Photography

To date more than 15,000 devices have been sold worldwide, and in 2019, FoodMarble’s first year in business, sales topped €1m.

By year-end 2021, FoodMarble expects revenues to have quadrupled to €4M, fuelled by expansion into the US and Canada. The device will launch in Best Buy’s Canadian stores this month. Earlier this year, the company secured a place on the Amazon Launchpad programme, which is dedicated to introducing consumers to products from innovative start-ups.

“This was very much a personal project for me in the beginning,” said Shortt. “My fiancée, Grace, suffers from IBS and it was often difficult for us to plan outings because she was unsure how she would feel. Once the product was developed, we knew that we had something very powerful and we wanted to offer it to others as an aid for them to be able to get on with everyday life comfortably.

“Along with our expansion in the US, we are continually innovating to ensure that we retain our position as the market leader for personal breath testing devices. With the support and advice of our business angels, we are well on target to achieve sales of €4m by the end of 2021.”

The company reports that there has been recent increased demand from hospitals. In-hospital breath analysis is costly both for patients and health services.

However, since COVID-19 shut down testing facilities, clinicians in the United States, UK and Ireland have been contacting FoodMarble to obtain devices for patients, thus shortening waiting list backlogs in a cost-effective way, and reducing the risk of patients requiring additional treatment.

“FoodMarble’s impressive sales in its first year of trading instantly impressed our investors,” said Niamh Sterling, consultant with HBAN. “By uncovering a worldwide market gap, the potential for growth is huge.

“Business angel investment is extremely valuable to start-ups like FoodMarble, who have their eye on international expansion. Their multinational industry experience allows them to share insights and connections that can be transformational for a new business. This has already opened doors for FoodMarble in the US market and is supporting their continued innovation,” Sterling said.

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 11 September, 2020

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