The startup LignoPure successfully closes the seed financing round with 2.2 million euros from High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), Innovationsstarter Fonds Hamburg (IFH) and the Swiss holding company Tanovis.
The scientists at LignoPure have developed a unique technology for replacing plastics by using residues from the pulp and bioethanol industry. The startup is based at the Technical University of Hamburg (TUHH), where they collaborate with the Institute of Thermal Process Engineering.
“This first round of funding is a cornerstone for reaching our next milestones and helps us tremendously to accelerate our market entry and position ourselves as pioneers in the use of lignin in products of our daily use. This important step brings us a step closer to our dream of a greener economy,” founder and CEO Joana Gil expresses her satisfaction.
With the support of TUHH professor Irina Smirnova, head of the Institute of Thermal Process Engineering, the two TUHH doctoral students Joana Gil and Wienke Reynolds produced one hundred per cent bio-based plastics on the basis of lignin, which can be used in place of plastic in cosmetics, 3-D printing or also as a base material for insulation material, for example. Together with TUUH, LignoPure holds several patents on the production and drying process of lignin. The Startup Dock supports the team as part of beyourpilot: the company has been “docked” since October 2018. LignoPure has already received several awards, including the German StartGreen Award and the international Future Hamburg Award. The team also received the support of the InnoRampUp programme by the Hamburgische Investitions- und Förderbank.
“LignoPure is a great example of how novel, future-oriented companies can emerge from the research context. By combining valuable technical know-how and good management skills, the startup is able to offer the market a novel and sustainable technology,” Dörte Bunge and Lucas Funk from Innovationsstarter Fonds Hamburg state. “We need such pioneers with smart ideas in Hamburg – and therefore also support them financially. With the Innovationsstarter Fonds II, Hamburg offers a central funding programme to provide venture capital. I am pleased that we have succeeded in supporting another promising young company in its development process,” says Michael Westhagemann, Senator for Economic Affairs and Head of the Hamburg Ministry for Economic Affairs and
Innovation Hamburg. Juri Bach and Stefan Fasbender from High-Tech Gründerfonds were impressed by the comprehensive industry knowledge and the exciting technology, which they said has the potential to improve the sustainability of products in many industries.
“Tanovis has been in the lignin business for more than 15 years and sees LignoPure as a perfect fit as well as a great opportunity to address our common target markets faster. We are pleased to be able to develop innovative and sustainable lignin-based solutions in a fast-growing market,” says Charles Walser, CEO of Tanovis AG, explaining his company’s investment.
High-quality lignin on a tonne scale for the first time
With the help of the cash blessing, the startup plans to implement its technology for the production of 100 per cent natural, ultra-fine, high-quality LignoBase® lignin particles. LignoBase will mainly be offered as a functional ingredient for cosmetics and replace harmful fossil-based materials. For the first time, LignoPure will thus be able to supply high-quality lignin for cosmetics on a tonne scale.
“With this alliance, we have the opportunity to strategically expand our customer base and network, as well as build a trusted supplier network,” said CTO Wienke Reynolds. In doing so, LignoPure positions itself as a game changer through its new perspective on lignin-based products and applications: the startup offers customised lignin powders according to the desired application and specifically brings the natural properties and functionalities of lignin into the customer’s end products. LignoPure aims to effectively support its customers in launching their own innovative, sustainable and lignin-based products through tailor-made solutions and development services in the fields of life sciences and new materials.
About Innovationsstarter Fonds Hamburg GmbH
Innovationsstarter Fonds Hamburg GmbH invests venture capital in young innovative companies in order to strengthen the Hamburg start-up scene and contribute to the development of promising companies. The programme provides for open investments in companies up to a maximum of EUR 1 million per company. Investors in the fund are the City of Hamburg and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in equal shares. The fund is managed by IFB Innovationsstarter GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Investitions- und Förderbank in Hamburg.