A high-res microscope the size of a toaster? A microscopy startup earns big-name VC backers

When Bo Jing enrolled at Oxford University to be close to his girlfriend, he didn’t expect to invent something that would have investors eagerly digging into their wallets. He was just happy making the best microscope he could.

He developed the technology while finishing up his PhD at Oxford, and with the encouragement of a professor, he launched a company called ONI around it in 2016. On Thursday, that microscope earned ONI another $75 million from a slate of investors led by ARCH and Casdin Capital.

The desktop system, called a Nanoimager, is about the size of a toaster and can rest right on a lab bench. During the pandemic, some customers took it home and used it on their kitchen countertops, Jing said. And while many scientists work with microscopes that operate in the 500 nanometer range, ONI’s tech allows you to zoom up to 10 nanometers.

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