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Research Platform To Help Experts Discover Science Faster Secures $1M Investment

Litmaps’ users can discover science related to a subject matter of interest faster - to help build knowledge and find research gaps to accelerate breakthroughs.

Wellington-based science-software startup Litmaps has secured $1M in a seed funding round led by Icehouse Ventures. The investment will help Litmaps accelerate international adoption of its research platform, which allows subject matter experts such as scientists and engineers to discover science faster.

Litmaps’ research platform combines interactive citation maps, modern search tools, and models of a researchers’ existing knowledge to create a more efficient research discovery experience to help accelerate scientific breakthroughs. Over 30,000 researchers worldwide, from public research organisations to development teams in science-heavy companies, have already used Litmaps since its launch in November 2020.

CEO and co-founder Dr Kyle Webster says feedback from early users of the platform shows it’s already providing significant value as a tool to accelerate and inform research.

“We’ve just scratched the surface,” says Dr Webster, “The opportunity for Litmaps is significant, and we’re excited to enter the next phase of growth. Litmaps changes how experts can understand and navigate our collective knowledge – which previously has remained trapped in systems developed decades or even centuries ago. As a result, we’re improving the usefulness of the 200 million published and peer-reviewed studies to help accelerate all sorts of existing research: from medicine to policymaking to space travel.

“The investment will also help us develop a version for R&D companies that will zero in on verticals such as artificial intelligence and biotechnology to help enterprise-level R&D teams bring superior products to market more quickly. The capabilities of our technology could create a decisive advantage for companies, particularly over the long term.”

Lead investor Icehouse Ventures says, “We are excited about the potential for Litmaps to change the way research is done in academic and commercial applications. Kyle and his team have a deep understanding of the research landscape and unique perspectives on how to create value.”

Quidnet Ventures and other investors, including Angel HQ, K1W1, Exponential Founders Fund, and several strategic independent angel investors, also joined the financing round.

Mark Bregman, Founder and General Partner of Quidnet Ventures, says, “With my original training in physics, I can really appreciate the problem that Litmaps is solving. Both the world of academic research and that of industrial R&D will benefit from the companies solution.”

Left to right - Litmaps’ co-founders Axton Pitt (CTO) and Dr Kyle Webster (CEO)

Axton Pitt, co-founder and CTO of Litmaps, adds, “We’re driven to improve the experience of discovering scientific literature. It’s a very exciting time to be building new products in this space. There are new possibilities due to disruptive trends like the dissolution of paywalls on public research and the rapid pace of research publication responding to COVID-19. This crucial industry has been stuck in entrenched systems for a long time, and we’re thrilled to be positioned to provide a breakthrough.”

Dr Webster adds, “We have been incredibly fortunate to develop in a remarkably supportive startup environment here in New Zealand. Key supporters at the MacDiarmid Institute, Wellington NZ, Callaghan Innovation, Icehouse, NZTE, Creative HQ, early investors from Angel HQ, and many others have all played an essential role in our progress to date. We hope we can do them proud as we continue to build the company towards its potential for global impact.”

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