Cellugy, a Danish industrial biotechnology start-up developing innovative, natural, biofabricated cellulose-based solutions to replace fossil-based materials in various industrial applications, has raised EUR 4,9 million in seed funding to scale up production of its EcoFLEXY dry cellulose product to industrial volumes. The round was led by Germany’s ICIG Ventures and Denmark’s Unconventional Ventures, with new, U.S.-based investor Joyance Partners joining the round, along with existing investors PSV DeepTech, The Footprint Firm, and EIFO.

According to Cellugy, the funding will accelerate the deployment and commercialization of EcoFLEXY, currently in the pilot phase. This involves a substantial production increase, from kilos to several tons yearly. The funds raised will enable Cellugy to expand its manufacturing capacity to commercial production to satisfy extensive and increasing customer demand.

Fermentation platform

Cellugy’s team of scientists has developed a unique platform technology that harnesses the power of bacteria, leveraging cellulose-producing microorganisms to produce high-purity, crystalline cellulose derived from the bioconversion of sugar. The platform creates fully bio-based and biodegradable alternatives to carbon-intensive petrochemicals.

The EcoFLEXY pure biocellulose product can be used in the form of a waterborne suspension or concentrated powder as a multifunctional rheology modifier for personal care applications, including skin care, hair care and sun care products.

Reliance on fossil-based petrochemical ingredients is today’s most critical sustainability issue in producing personal care products. The future of the personal care industry goes towards biobased, biodegradable, and biofabricated ingredients,” says Dr. Isabel Alvarez-Martos, CEO and co-founder at Cellugy.

According to Cellugy, EcoFLEXY stands out over other sustainable alternatives in two ways – its production and the product itself. The production process is fermentation versus extraction from natural sources, such as plants. “There is no need to cut down trees or harvest any other form of cellulose from plants that have a high energy demand, nor is there a requirement to use harsh chemicals to extract it. This makes EcoFLEXY a truly ‘green’ product,” adds Alvarez-Martos.

Strong financial backing

The latest funding round adds further depth to Cellugy’s already strong backing. Follow-on participation from existing investors makes up close to half of the investment round, as PSV Deep Tech, EIFO, and The Footprint Firm continue to provide both financial and expertise-based support. Lead investor ICIG Ventures represents the CVC arm of International Chemical Investors Group, a privately owned German industrial group with market-oriented chemicals platforms and enterprises, bringing additional valuable industry-specific connections, expertise, and guidance.

This investment round will be instrumental in scaling up EcoFLEXY’s production and distribution, allowing us to meet the surging demand for sustainable, high-performance beauty ingredients,” Alvarez-Martos adds. “It will also fuel further product co-development partnerships for EcoFLEXY, allowing us to unlock its full potential and develop new application areas within this target market. By promoting sustainable materials choices and innovative production processes, we see ourselves as also enabling the innovation of others, leading the way to healthier, more ecological solutions that are both skin and planet-friendly.