Algenesis Corporation – a leading plant-based material science company – recently announced it has raised $5 million in a funding round led by First Bight Ventures, with Circulate Capital and others. And a pioneer in developing bio-based plastics that are competitive with petroleum-based in both cost and functionality, Algenesis’ patented Soleic technology is the world’s first renewable, high-performance, fully biodegradable and backyard compostable bioPolyurethane (bioPU) made from plants and algae.
There are 25 million tons of Polyurethane (PU) now being manufactured annually (6% of total plastics) for extensive use across footwear, medical, and textile industries. And due to the material’s composition, PU is hard to recycle and primarily ends up in landfills or as microplastics in the environment.
Unlike petroleum-based PU, Algenesis’ Soleic bioPU can biodegrade in compost within a matter of months and does not contain harmful PFAS chemical additives found in other plastics. Its production process further leads to up to 50% lower GHG emissions than petroleum PU3.
Algenesis’ unique Soleic PU is currently available in soft foam applications, such as midsoles and insoles for footwear. And the new funding round will be used to expand Soleic product lines into breathable waterproof textiles and injection molded products such as phone cases. And the company also plans to expand and strengthen its supply chain by bringing more of its processes in-house to scale production and commercialization of these materials that are increasingly in demand by various consumer-facing brands, further highlighting its position as a leader in eco-innovation.
First Bight Ventures and Circulate Capital led the seed funding round. And MIH Capital, Diamond Sports Group, and RhinoShield also participated. The funding 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 as the company continues to work towards evolving their product to be 100% biobased.
“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.”
— Steve Mayfield, Founder and CEO of Algenesis
“We invest in Industrial BioManufacturing, and Algenesis is an excellent representation of new companies creating a highly demanded product, such as bioPU, that comes from Biology versus Petroleum. This is a win for the industry, sustainability, and the world. To save our planet and ourselves, we must move away from petroleum-based plastics and toward bio-based alternatives. Algenesis is clearly at the forefront of making this possible.”
— First Bight Ventures Founder Veronica Wu
“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.”
— Rob Kaplan, Founder and CEO of Circulate Capital