BarrelWise raises $3.1 million seed round led by Conexus Venture Capital
The company’s flagship product is transforming winemaking directly in the cellar.
BarrelWise Technologies announced the close of a seed funding round of CAD $3.1 million, led by Conexus Venture Capital through its Emmertech fund. Additional investment came from Ag Capital Canada.
Founded in 2018, BarrelWise is a Vancouver-based company building technology to enhance wine production and analysis.
Although COVID disrupted the startup's growth plans, it provided time for the company to focus on product development, Barrelwise’s CEO Jason Sparrow explained to Vancouver Tech Journal. Then late last year, it was able to introduce its flagship product, the FS1, to the wine industry at tradeshows.
The FS1 is a cloud-connected sulphur dioxide analyzer for winemaking. It allows wineries to take routine measurements of the gas up to 15 times faster than traditional lab analysis, directly in the cellar. The result is that wineries can collect high-resolution datasets on their barrels and tanks while reducing wine quality loss.
The wine industry is showing interest. Since the product was released, Sparrow says the company has signed up three of the top-10 wine producers in the U.S.
As Barrelwise has gained traction, investors like Conexus and Ag Capital Canada took notice.
“With our Emmertech fund, we love finding opportunities in the world of agriculture where innovators are bringing speed and simplicity to solving problems across the supply chain,” said Sean O’Connor, managing director of Conexus Venture Capital and Emmertech, in a statement. “BarrelWise places the traditionally slow and expensive lab process of identifying sulphur dioxide levels directly into the cellar. Couple this innovative solution with a top-tier founding team, led by Jason Sparrow, and we feel we’ve got a real gem of a company added into our portfolio.”
With the new capital in hand, Barrelwise plans to add to its team of 12 employees, with the goal of bringing its FS1 product further into the market. “We just hired a salesperson in California and a marketing person here [in Vancouver.] And so that's really the heart of it. Our goal is to get 100 devices under service in preparation for a Series A round tentatively planned for early 2024.”