Digital ‘Smell Company’ Launches With £1m Seed Funding
A spinout from the University of Sussex and UCL, OW Smell has raised £1m in seed funding for developing technology that enables the digitisation of the human sense of smell. The funding round was led by Parkwalk Advisors.
The funding will allow the company to achieve its goals and expand its team, taking a step forward in the development of both its software and hardware products – a digitally controlled multi-channel Scent Delivery Device and an adaptive, AI-powered, cloud-based software, revolutionising human-computer interaction.
Founded by Emanuela Maggioni and Marianna Obrist, OW looks to be for smell what Dolby and Adobe are to sound and vision: to transform an ecosystem dominated by the eyes and the ears. The design of the hardware and software allows the technology to control and deliver scents and their unique perceptual effects.
The technology could be used for a variety of purposes, including healthcare and immersive experiences.
Emanuela Maggioni, Founder and CEO of OW Smell Digital, said: ‘We are looking to interrupt a marketplace dominated by technologies reliant solely on sound, vision and increasingly, touch. Our sense of smell has the power to evoke long-forgotten memories, bring food to life, calm us down and enrich our lives. We create smell technologies that can be used across a range of innovative contexts. From leading healthcare research to artistic and immersive experiences, our products offer a total digital command over scent and smell.’
Originally formed as OWidgets off the back of a European Research Council Proof-of-Concept award, OW’s work crosses the arts, consumer, healthcare and research industries. The company is working with Rockefeller University to create the first standardised smell-test toolkit to measure olfactory capabilities, to develop efficient and affordable smell-delivery technologies and smell training tools, such as SmellHealth, (a second ERC PoC-funded project).
OW is also working with commercial clients to deliver immersive reality experiences (British Airways, New Reality Co, Picture This Productions). With each new project, OW is using novel ways to enhance sensory experiences with products.
John Pearson, Investment Director, Parkwalk, said: ‘We are very happy to be supporting the team at OW, where Emanuela and Marianna bring a wealth of technical, commercial, entrepreneurial knowledge and expertise. This is an exciting company. OW provides a unique innovation to design, produce and evaluate smell sensations and the impact these can have on individuals that we haven’t seen before.’