Cerahelix CEO Susan MacKay

Cerahelix, the Orono-based startup that’s invented a high-tech nanofiltration device using DNA and ceramics, has raised more than half a million dollars to increase its sales and manufacturing efforts.

The company filed paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Nov. 23 showing it had raised $510,000 out of a $750,000 offering.

Susan MacKay, Cerahelix’s CEO, confirmed the details for Maine Startups Insider.

The $510,000 is part of a convertible debt round, commonly referred to as a “bridge” round, which will convert into a Series A round the company plans to raise in 2017, according to MacKay.

The company is revenue positive, finding traction in industries such as oil and gas for its new nanofiltration technology. It currently has eight full-time employees—five technical staff and three on the business side, including MacKay.

“We will use the funds to support our sales ramp up and increase our manufacturing capacity to keep pace with our increasing order volume,” MacKay told Maine Startups Insider.

Cerahelix has invented a new filtration technology that uses DNA to essentially create holes in ceramic material to make a filter. These nanofiltration devices can remove impurities from water that are 100 times smaller than a virus, according to the company. The new filtration technology is not only more efficient, it’s also more cost effective and environmentally sustainable. According to Cerahelix’s research, a company that replaced commercial evaporators with Cerahelix’s filtration device in a process needed to remove 6,000 gallons of water a day in an industrial setting could save enough energy to remove 1,200 tons of carbon from the environment per year, equivalent of the amount of carbon remove by 400 acres of forest. Learn more about Cerahelix’s technology in MacKay’s TEDxDirigo talk from a few years ago.

This round of financing comes nine months after raising $575,000 in February from the Maine Venture Fund and other undisclosed investors, and brings the total amount Cerahelix has raised to $1.9 million, according to MacKay.

Cerahelix recently participated in the Plug and Play Accelerator, a stage-agnostic, 12-week accelerator based in Silicon Valley. It was part of the accelerator’s new-materials cohort and took home top honors at Expo Day in October, according to MacKay.

This new bridge round consisted of existing investors, including Maine Venture Fund, the Maine Angels, and Bangor Angels. The single largest investor in the bridge round, coming in with $100,000, is a California-based angel investor who MacKay met through the Plug and Play Accelerator.