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Benchling Raises $14.5M in Series B Round

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Life sciences informatics company Benchling said today that it has closed a $14.5 million Series B round of venture capital. Benchmark led the round, with participation from Fidelity Investments' F-Prime Capital and previous investor Thrive Capital.

As as result of the investment, Benchmark General Partner Eric Vishria is joining the board of San Francisco-based Benchling. He touted the rise of biologics as a major factor in backing Benchling.

"Within the next five years, the majority of top pharmaceuticals will be biology-based drugs," Vishria said in a statement. "Benchling is coming in at the optimal time to supercharge the incredible work scientists are doing, and help the world make breakthrough discoveries in a fraction of the time." 

Benchling makes electronic lab notebooks and other applications to support collaboration and tracking of biologics R&D. The company said it will use the new funding to add employees and accelerate development of its products.

The company last updated its molecular biology software product in January 2017 with the release of version 2.0. That extension to its platform incorporates batch sequence design, CRISPR design, protein design, alignment tools, and cloning software into its digital lab notebook, enabling high-throughput antibody engineering and CRISPR design.

Since then, annual recurring revenue has increased by 500 percent year over year, the company said, though it did not offer dollar figures. Its customer base has tripled in the same time frame.

Benchling raised $7 million in 2016 in a round led by Thrive Capital, with participation from Andreessen Horowitz and angel investors including actor Ashton Kutcher.

Customers added since the Series A announcement in October 2016 include Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Incyte, Editas Medicine, Agenus, Zymergen, and Obsidian Therapeutics.

Benchling touts efficiency gains as its primary value proposition.

"We see scientists spending more than a third of their time on unscientific busywork. This is a huge loss of scientific potential and a drain on PhD resources," Benchling Cofounder and CEO Sajith Wickramasekara said in a statement. "We started Benchling to help scientists make better decisions faster and use their time on higher-impact work such as experimental strategy and design. Our hope is that they can advance life sciences at a faster pace and do in 10 years what otherwise may take 30 to 50."