Startbucks-backed venture capital fund leads US$6.5m round in PathSpot

USA – PathSpot, a creator of a real-time hand hygiene management system, has raised US$6.5 million in a Series A round led by Valor Siren Ventures I L.P. (VSV), bringing the company’s total funding to US$10.5 million.

Formed with an anchor investment from Starbucks and in collaboration with the consumer and tech-focused focused private equity firm, Valor Equity Partners, VSV is a leader in early-stage food, food technology, and retail technology investing.

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Valor Siren Ventures was established in March 2019 with Starbucks pioneering a US$100 million investment in the fund to serve as a growth driver for the next generation of food and retail start-up technology companies.

Following the investment in PathSpot, Richard Tait, a partner at VSV, will join PathSpot’s board of directors. Existing investors FIKA Ventures and Walden Venture Capital also participated with a follow on investment.

“PathSpot works alongside the food industry to promote handwashing and enhance a positive culture around sanitation, using data to help plan and protect against future risk,” said Christine Schindler, CEO and co-founder, PathSpot.

“I’m thrilled to partner with VSV, which comes at a time when the entire world is more conscious than ever about handwashing safety. We’re eager to help positively impact even more lives more quickly and continue working with the food industry in prioritizing safe handwashing.”

Founded in2017, PathSpot has developed a revolutionary technology, which in less than two seconds scans your hands and detects invisible signs of bacteria and viruses that cause illnesses and outbreaks.

The company observes that 30% of diarrhea-related sicknesses and 20% of respiratory infections are preventable by proper handwashing, and among these are the 48 million Americans who get sick each year from foodborne illness.

As an example, the spread of germs from food handlers to food accounts for 89% of all foodborne illnesses that are contracted in restaurants. PathSpot says that its solution is capable of reducing instances of contaminants on hands by 75% within just 30 days and 97% reduction after six months.

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PathSpot is used by restaurants, packaging facilities, cafeterias, and farms across the country. In the future, the company said that the technology will be capable of detecting contamination on food, equipment, surfaces, and more.

Before the current COVID-19 pandemic, the startup highlights that less than 25% of US restaurants’ handwashing practices were in compliance with FDA food code handwashing frequency requirements.

Now, as restaurants are reopening amidst the global health crisis, a renewed interest and demand for hygiene is occurring among businesses and customers alike. The company noted that ensuring proper handwashing and employee training will be critical, as well as proactively and thoughtfully communicating these practices to customers.

Using a network of sensors plus visible, audible, and electronic cues, PathSpot immediately notifies team members when invisible contamination is detected on their hands.

If the contamination or handwash frequency requirements are not addressed, notices can automatically escalate to management to ensure complete protection of the customer, brand, and bottom line in one location or across a chain.

According to the company, ninety-seven percent of employees report PathSpot made them think more critically about food safety on a daily basis.

PathSpot says that its technology reduces management time spent on training and monitoring handwashing, including 89% of managers reporting “time-saving” when it comes to PathSpot helping them monitor handwashing and food safety.

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