Bio-materials company, Algenesis, raises $5 million in funding

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Every year, almost 25 million metric tonnes of polyurethane(PU) is manufactured to be used extensively in the medical, footwear, and textile industries. But this material has a major shortcoming: it is hard to recycle and often ends up clogging landfills. Unlike PU, bio-based plastics are biodegradable; they contain no harmful PFAS chemicals while emitting 50% lower GHG emissions than other PUs. To commercialize the technology and scale it; leading plant-based material science company Algenesis Corporation has raised $5 million in funding. The round led by First Bight Ventures and Circulate Capital.

Algenesis focuses on developing bio-based plastics that can compete with petroleum-based PUs in both cost and functionality. The company’s patented Soleic® technology is the world’s first renewable, high-performance, fully biodegradable, and backyard compostable bioPolyurethane (bioPU) made from plants and algae. Their initial product line of Soleic PU consists of soft foams for footwear and hard foams for surfboards.

Algenesis: A plant-based material company logo in front of plants floating under water.

“We are excited to take this next step in our growth journey, and this funding will support us to scale production and meet the growing demand for Soleic PU Systems,” said Steve Mayfield, Founder and CEO of Algenesis.

The round also saw participation from MIH Capital, Diamond Sports Group, and RhinoShield. The investment follows a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to scale up the production of biobased isocyanates from algae oils using a safe and green-flow chemistry process.

Algenesis will use the fresh funds to develop Soleic product lines into breathable waterproof textiles and injection-moulded products such as phone cases. The company also plans to expand and strengthen its supply chain by bringing more of its processes in-house. This will scale production and commercialize these materials, which are increasingly in demand by varying consumer-facing brands.

The vision at Algenesis

“We invest in industrial biomanufacturing, and Algenesis is an excellent representation of new companies creating highly demanded products, such as bioPU, that come from biology versus petroleum. This is a win for the industry, sustainability, and the world,” said First Bight Ventures Founder Veronica Wu. “To save our planet and ourselves, we must move away from petroleum-based plastics and towards bio-based alternatives. Algenesis is clearly at the forefront of making this possible.”

Redesigning plastic materials to harmonise with nature, Algenesis was founded by Dr. Stephen Mayfield in 2016. The founder and CEO propelled the company as an accomplished scientist; a distinguished professor at UC San Diego, and a successful biotechnology entrepreneur. Algenesis is on a mission to help the planet recover from the pollution caused by products made from fossil fuels.

“We are thrilled to add Algenesis to Circulate Capital’s Disrupt portfolio, which targets breakthrough innovations advancing circularity. As global brands commit to driving circularity in their products, we see huge potential for Algenesis to meet this market opportunity with their innovative new materials,” said Rob Kaplan, Founder and CEO of Circulate Capital.

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