Benchling raises $14.5M, crosses 100K-user mark

The financing comes as the company announced that over 100,000 scientists in academic and commercial research are using its cloud-based R&D platforms. (Geralt / Pixabay)

Benchling has closed a $14.5 million series B funding round and plans to use the proceeds to build out its staff and advance development of its cloud-based data management and collaborative R&D platforms.

The financing comes as the San Francisco-based company announced a 500% increase in its annual subscription-based revenues and a tripling of its customer base to over 100,000 scientists in academic and commercial research programs.

The round was led by venture capital firm Benchmark, with participation from F-Prime Capital—formerly Fidelity Biosciences and Devonshire Capital—and returning investor Thrive Capital. Benchmark General Partner Eric Vishria will be joining Benchling’s board of directors.

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Previously backed by Y Combinator, Benchling aims to transition scientists into more paperless biologics research, with online applications that compile data across programs and allow direct collaboration and progress tracking. According to the company, its customers have reported up to a two-thirds reduction in emails to colleagues in the course of their work.

“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 Ph.D. resources,” said Benchling co-founder and CEO Sajith Wickramasekara 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,” Wickramasekara said. “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.”

The platform's main therapeutic areas include antibody discovery, cellular immunotherapy, synthetic biology, and gene therapies and CRISPR.

In 2016, Benchling raised $7 million in venture capital funding to develop its CRISPR design software and electronic lab notebook programs, including cash from Thrive Capital, Andreessen Horowitz and actor Ashton Kutcher. Since then, the company said it has seen biotechs such as Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Incyte, Editas Medicine, Agenus, Zymergen and Obsidian Therapeutics adopt its R&D platform.