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London Tech Week

Belgium-based startup AmphiStar snaps €6M to launch waste-derived, eco-friendly biosurfactants

Belgium-based startup AmphiStar snaps €6M to launch waste-derived, eco-friendly biosurfactants

AmphiStar, a Belgium-based biotechnology startup, has secured €6 million in funding to further the commercialization of its innovative biosurfactants derived from waste streams. This funding round, led by the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF), with participation from Qbic III and Flanders Future Tech Fund (FFTF), aims to accelerate AmphiStar’s transition from a research-driven company to a full-fledged market player.

Altering the surfactant industry

Surfactants, surface-active agents found in everyday products like shampoos, cosmetics, and cleaning solutions, play a vital role in various industries. However, the conventional production methods for these workhorses often rely on unsustainable practices. Traditional surfactants are primarily derived from fossil fuels or palm oil, raising concerns about environmental impact and resource depletion. Additionally, harsh chemical processes are typically used in their production.

AmphiStar seeks to revolutionise the surfactant industry by offering a more sustainable and eco-friendly alternative. Their groundbreaking approach utilises locally sourced waste and side-streams from the agri-food industry, such as supermarket food waste, as feedstock for producing microbial biosurfactants. This novel approach boasts several key advantages:

  • Sustainability: By utilising waste streams as a source material, AmphiStar’s biosurfactants minimise their environmental footprint. They are not derived from food sources or linked to deforestation, promoting a more responsible and circular approach.
  • Cost-effectiveness: AmphiStar’s production processes leverage mild and safe biological methods instead of harsh chemicals. This has the potential to translate into cost-competitive solutions for manufacturers seeking sustainable alternatives.
  • Performance: AmphiStar offers a range of biobased, biologically produced, and biocompatible glycolipids that can serve as drop-in replacements for existing surfactant formulations. This ensures that manufacturers can seamlessly integrate these sustainable solutions without compromising performance.

Funding fuels growth and expansion

The €6 million funding injection will be strategically deployed by AmphiStar to fuel its growth and expansion plans:

  • Kickstarting commercial production: Partnering with external entities will allow AmphiStar to launch commercial production of its biosurfactants, bringing their sustainable solutions to market.
  • Enhanced R&D efforts: The funding will support further refinement and optimization of AmphiStar’s biosurfactant platform. Additionally, resources will be allocated to completing the necessary regulatory and certification processes to ensure compliance and market readiness.
  • Team expansion: To support their ambitious growth plans, AmphiStar will hire 15 new employees, bolstering their workforce with diverse expertise.
  • Dedicated production facility: While partnering with external entities for initial production, the long-term goal is to construct a dedicated production facility. The funding will provide a springboard for securing additional funding in 2025, aimed at building a state-of-the-art plant with a capacity of 1,000 tonnes (100% active) per annum.

Leadership at the helm

To navigate this crucial phase of growth, AmphiStar has secured the leadership of Pierre-Franck Valentin as their CEO. Valentin brings over 25 years of experience in the surfactants and chemicals industries. His expertise in these sectors will be instrumental in accelerating market traction and solidifying AmphiStar’s position as a leader in the biosurfactant space.

Industry enthusiasm for sustainable innovation

Sophie Roelants, a representative from AmphiStar, expressed the company’s vision: “We will revolutionise the surfactant market… We are the only company in the (bio)surfactant space successfully combining waste- and side stream technologies, synthetic biology, bioprocessing, purification and scaling expertise.”

Investors echoed their confidence in AmphiStar’s potential. Jowita Sewerska from ECBF highlighted the market need for high-performing, sustainable, and cost-effective biosurfactants, acknowledging AmphiStar’s strong position to address this need. Representatives from Qbic III and Flanders Future Tech Fund echoed the sentiment, emphasising their support for AmphiStar’s role in driving sustainable innovation and a circular economy.

What we think about the startup

AmphiStar’s €6 million funding round marks a significant milestone in their journey towards commercialising their waste-derived, eco-friendly biosurfactants. Their innovative approach, coupled with their focus on waste reduction, sustainable production processes, and high-performing products, positions AmphiStar to disrupt the traditional surfactant market. As AmphiStar scales its operations and enters the commercial arena, their efforts hold great promise for contributing to a more sustainable future for the surfactant industry.

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