Hyfé – a company that is transforming food processing wastewater into feedstocks for biomanufacturing and clean water – recently announced an oversubscribed $9 million seed investment led by Synthesis Capital. And additional participating investors include The Engine, Refactor Capital, Supply Change Capital, Overwater Ventures, X Factor Ventures, and Alumni Ventures.
The company’s funding to date is $11 million, which includes an oversubscribed pre-seed round led by The Engine in April 2022. And Hyfé will use the new funding to advance select commercial partnerships, double its employee headcount, and progress toward pilot-scale technology demonstration. Synthesis Capital co-founder and partner Rosie Wardle will also join the company’s Board of Directors.
Biomanufacturing provides a path to decarbonize key industrial sectors such as foods, fuels, materials, and chemicals, and it is forecasted to mitigate at least 3 GT of carbon emissions annually by 2030. But it’s difficult for the sector to compete with incumbent processes that depend on fossil resources, animal agriculture, and deforestation.
The cost and supply of sugar feedstocks used to power bioprocesses is a major obstacle to achieving price parity and the glucose needs of the bioeconomy are forecasted to outpace supply over the next 10 to 20 years. And it is critical for the feedstocks that will power that growth to come from underutilized waste carbon streams that are cost-effective, non-competitive with food, and avoid disruption of agricultural systems.
Even though other companies have been working to convert solid food and agricultural waste into fermentation feedstocks, Hyfé is leveraging their extensive experience in wastewater treatment and fermentation-enabled waste valorization to develop feedstocks from food processing wastewater, an abundant and untapped source of carbon, enabling:
— Food and beverage manufacturers to dramatically reduce wastewater treatment costs and increase water reuse, thereby improving water resiliency and overall operating expenses.
— Biomanufacturers to access more sustainable, affordable feedstocks, which account for the majority of fermentation operating expenses and are vulnerable to supply chain disruptions.
— The planet to benefit from increasingly carbon-negative manufacturing all along the supply chain, starting with diverting organic loads entering traditional wastewater treatment, a process that accounts for up to 1.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions in the form of methane, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides.
Hyfé’s technology processes nutrient building blocks from wastewater into easy-to-metabolize feedstocks for bioprocesses. And they are engineering solutions to key bottlenecks in alternative feedstock development: compositional variability, availability, and lack of data.
“Biomanufacturing has the potential to solve some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity, but first it needs to be made economically viable. We are building a solution that addresses a fundamental bottleneck for the bioeconomy just as it’s reaching an inflection point. This historic moment is as pivotal as the invention of the steam engine, the age of science and mass production, and the rise of digital technology.”
— Michelle Ruiz, co-founder and CEO of Hyfé
“The future bioeconomy will be worth at least $4 trillion, and up to $30 trillion globally. We have a timely opportunity to propel this growth through the development of cost-efficient and sustainable feedstocks. We’re thrilled to support Hyfé, a leader in the biomanufacturing revolution, in their next phase of growth, applying their technology to power the development of more sustainable products across sectors through bioproduction. This is something the world desperately needs to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, revitalize the manufacturing sector, strengthen our supply chains, and improve our health and environment.”
— Rosie Wardle, co-founder and partner at Synthesis Capital