Two bio-based vegan materials companies, Algenesis Corporation and Gozen, have secured significant funding this week to advance their eco-friendly biomaterials.
Algenesis Corporation, a leader in plant-based material science, recently raised $5 million in a funding round led by First Bight Ventures, with participation from Circulate Capital and other investors. Algenesis is renowned for its pioneering work in developing competitive bio-based plastics. Its patented Soleic technology has given birth to the world’s first fully biodegradable bioPolyurethane (bioPU) made from plants and algae.
On the other side of the sustainability spectrum, Gozen, a biomaterials startup, recently announced an impressive $3.3 million in seed funding. The funding comes from forward-thinking investors, including Happiness Capital, Accelr8, Astor Management, and SOSV.
These investments enable Algenesis and Gozen to accelerate their research, development, and scaling efforts, offering consumers and businesses sustainable and eco-friendly options while maintaining top-tier design aesthetics and quality.
For Algenesis, the global demand for Polyurethane (PU), which currently stands at 25 million tons annually, presents a significant growth opportunity. PU demand currently accounts for six percent of total plastics production. However, traditional PU is notoriously difficult to recycle, leading to its accumulation in landfills and as harmful microplastics in the environment.
Algenesis’ Soleic bioPU addresses these issues by providing a renewable and eco-friendly alternative. Unlike petroleum-based PU, it can biodegrade within a few months, making it a game-changer for sustainability. Additionally, it avoids the use of harmful PFAS chemical additives found in conventional plastics and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 50 percent.
“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,” Founder and CEO of Algenesis, Steve Mayfield, said in a statement.
Currently available for soft foam applications like footwear midsoles and insoles, Algenesis has ambitious plans. The company aims to expand its product line to include breathable waterproof textiles and injection-molded products such as phone cases. Moreover, the company plans to enhance its supply chain by bringing more processes in-house to meet the increasing demand from consumer-facing brands, solidifying its position as a leader in eco-innovation.
Like Algenesis, Gozen is on a mission to revolutionize materials, only its focus is on the fashion, automotive, and home furnishings industries. It recently partnered with Balenciaga on a vegan leather coat debuted at Paris Fashion Week.
The fashion and automotive industries are witnessing a shift towards sustainable materials, driven by the growing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) imperative. Gozen says its flagship biomaterial Lunaform represents a significant leap in biomaterial innovation. It is produced by microorganisms through fermentation and is entirely free from plastic and animal components.
Unveiled during Paris Fashion Week in collaboration with Balenciaga, Lunaform has exceptional tensile strength and natural flexibility. Unlike composite plant-based leathers, Lunaform is a singular, fully formed material. It is manufactured using a vegan, non-GMO process that avoids harsh synthetic chemicals.
Gozen’s production process is efficient, taking only ten days, and the company plans to open a new facility in Turkey to achieve an annual production capacity of more than 1 million square feet.
Ece Gozen, Founder and CEO of Gozen, emphasized the company’s commitment to sustainable biomaterials. “At Gozen, we produce advanced biomaterials with the potential to unlock circular design.”
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