Embark Veterinary, the Austin startup that about a year ago began offering DNA tests for dogs to analyze traits and diseases, has relocated to Boston, the company said.
The announcement came after Embark raised $4.5 million led by Cambridge-based Founder Collective. The company -- which was co-founded in 2016 by CEO Ryan Boyko and his brother Adam Boyko -- has moved because Boston is a hub for biotech, Ryan Boyko said.
“Boston is the home of digital health and biotech innovation” he said. “It has world-class universities, institutes, and companies to recruit from and partner with.”
With its latest round of funding, Embark has raised $6.5 million in total, beginning with a $1.6 million seed-round from lead investors San Francisco-based Slow Ventures and Los Angeles-based Aspiration Growth Fund.
Embark said it will use its new investment to expand its canine genetic testing suite for pet owners, breeders, and veterinarians. It’s also planning to partner with human biotechnology companies to “start fulfilling the promise of dog genetics to promote human health,” Boyko said.
When it launched in 2016, Boston had been one of several areas the startup considered for its headquarters. The company picked Austin because of its habitat for startups and dog-friendly nature.
Boyko declined to comment on whether the company is profitable yet. Embark has 12 full-time employees, but is looking to add workers to its science, engineering, marketing, and customer service teams.
Embark has a DNA kit for dogs that the company says tests more than 100 disease and health conditions. Its purpose is to inform pet owners on hereditary diseases or other disorders their pets might have and also form genetic mapping and research, much like the company 23andMe does for humans.
Before founding Embark, the Boyko brothers spent years traveling the world to gather thousands of saliva DNA samples from dogs in countries such as Croatia, Fiji, India, Peru, Qatar, Uganda, and others. The company says it has grown to serve tens of thousands of dogs
“Embark is making real strides in our understanding of dog genetics to get to healthier, happier, longer-lived dogs,” Boyko said. “Ultimately, our mission is to end heritable disease in dogs. This new funding enables us to expand the research to accomplish that goal.”
This isn't the first time Austin has lost a biotech company to another city. Startup One Drop, which created a mobile app to let people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes share information to better manage their diseases, left years ago to New York.
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