A small Durham company that stores biological samples for companies, university researchers and others has raised $400,000 from so-called angel investors.
Kryosphere, which also recently celebrated its second anniversary, stores millions of samples in massive freezers (thus the penguin images in its marketing materials). The company employs eight full-time workers and adds more part-timers as needed, said CEO and co-founder Eric Hallman.
"With automated systems, we're not going to be huge employers," he added.
The company previously raised $750,000 in funding and stuck with angel investors to find more money. Angels are wealthy individuals who invest in small businesses with big growth potential.
Kryosphere initially wanted to raise $750,000 more, but scaled back its expectations earlier this year because "we were in the middle of a financial meltdown," Hallman said. But also, increasing business improved the private company's finances, so it didn't need to raise as much, he added.
The company is seeing more demand as biotech and pharmaceutical companies outsource sample storage to reduce the hassle and cost, Hallman said.
"It's not just a matter of plugging in a freezer and walking away," he said.
Kryosphere will use its additional funding as it considers expansion into new markets with increasing research activity, such as Kannapolis, Winston-Salem and Atlanta.
Hallman grew up in Charlotte and is a neurobiologist who did his post-doctorate work at Duke University.