Studying tissue samples under a microscope might not seem a particularly high-risk profession, but by some measures it's an unusually difficult and dangerous job.
Aquaro recently completed a $9.8 million fundraising round that will allow the company to lanch its first product, the Aquaro ASM, which Krueger says is designed to make that repetitive process "a little safer."
The Aquaro ASM, which stands for automated section mounting, automates the process of cutting cells from a tissue sample and mounting them on a slide. Vince Alessi and Nolan Orfield founded Aquaro, inspired by Alessi's college experience in a histology lab.
"Vince had to do thousands and thousands of slides, and he was always nicking his finger on blades," Krueger says. "He thought there had to be a better way, and he spent his time finding a better way to do it." The result of that search was the first iteration of Aquaro ASM.
Since Alessi's first model, the company has refined the product based on feedback from beta testing. That feedback led to a switch from multiple buttons for inputting commands to a touch screen, and a change from storing slides horizontally to vertically.
The latest round of funding will allow Aquaro to expand its sales staff and research team, create add-on products, and send the latest iteration of the tool, now refined from that early feedback, to market.
"We expect to make our first sales before the end of the year," Krueger says.