Success! You're on the list.

Success! You're on the list.

UK-based Sparxell raises $3.2M for sustainable plant-based plastic-free colourants

Sparxell team
Picture credits: Sparxell

Traditional chemical colourants cause major environmental harm through every stage of their lifecycle, from manufacture to degradation. There is a need for fully sustainable, biodegradable, and circular colourants. The colourants market is worth an estimated $38 billion and is expected to grow to over $100 billion by 2030. Catching up on this growing market is UK-based Sparxell, a developer of high-performance, sustainable, plant-based pigments. 

Now, Sparxell has raised a $3.2 million funding round (comprising seed investments, grants, and awards). The Circular Innovation Fund, a global venture capital fund jointly managed by Demeter and Cycle Capital with L’Oréal as an anchor investor, participated in the seed funding. SpaceX-backer Future Communities Capital, sustainability-focused investor PDS Ventures, impact investor Katapult, biotech and consumer sectors investor Joyance Partners, and climate investor SNØCAP VC also participated in the round. 

Eyes pilot production of products 

Sparxell will use the funding to accelerate the development and commercialisation of products that will eliminate synthetic chemicals from colourants in multi-billion dollar markets including in cosmetics, fashion, paint, and packaging. 

Funds raised will enable Sparxell to expand its manufacturing capacity to support pilot production, secure further product development partnerships with brands, undertake more product trials with key manufacturers and distributors, and expand headcount.

The company also expects to launch a Series A funding round in the coming months to upscale production capacity and accelerate commercialisation. 

Sustainable, plant-based pigments

Sparxell was founded in 2022 by Cambridge scientists led by Dr. Benjamin Droguet and Professor Silvia Vignolini. They discovered ways to replicate vibrant colours in nature using fully plant-based cellulose, a renewable, biodegradable resource that can be extracted from waste streams. 

Its pigments use the same material that many plants and animals use to produce vivid, durable, and fade-resistant colourants. The products are toxin-free and fully biodegradable with a colour intensity that lasts longer than traditional colourants and pigments on the market.

The company’s 100% plant-based and plastic-free eradicate plastic waste, carbon emissions, water pollution, and usage. Also, all processes are completed in a lab using natural inputs meaning there are no human rights issues associated with supply chains.

Real-life applications 

Sparxell has already engaged in product innovation partnerships with blue-chip companies across different industries with applications for sustainable colourants, including leading car manufacturers, world-leading high-end fashion brands (textile colouring, embellishments, sequins), and cosmetic goods manufacturers (colour cosmetics, personal care, creams, sunscreens, glitter make-up).

“The global movement towards plant-based alternatives has experienced exceptional growth in recent years with a reshaping of entire industries such as meat and dairy. The same opportunity exists within colourants, driven by a common interest of consumers, brands and regulators to transition to fully sustainable, biodegradable, circular products. Most brands are committed to eliminating synthetic chemicals from manufacturing processes altogether. Our plant-based materials can be grown and sourced locally in a complete rethink of how colours are currently being manufactured while reducing transport emissions. The industrial applications for Sparxell’s products are broad, from cosmetics and textiles to paints and packaging,” added Dr Benjamin Droguet, Sparxell Founder & CEO. 

“The Circular Innovation Fund has invested in Sparxell because its nature-inspired colourants address a range of concerns including plastic waste, carbon emissions, human rights, and water savings. With colourants being such an important component of cosmetics, we are especially excited to see the application of Sparxell products in this sector,” said Stéphane Villecroze, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Circular Innovation Fund.

“When we came across Sparxell we came to realise just how big the market for pigmentation is and how large the potential impact on the climate could be,” said Jørn Haanæs, Investment Director, Partner – Investment Management, at Katapult. “The cosmetics industry alone needs to overhaul its environmental credentials and naturally derived pigmentation not only addresses its CO2 footprint but also the chemical pollution for which the industry is notorious.”

“With its outstanding leadership and highly novel technology, this company is poised to completely transform the colorant market,” said Joyance Partners Venture Partner, Yang Chen. “Due to the flexibility of the pigments, Sparxell’s product has the potential to substantially lessen the immense negative impact across a myriad of historically environmentally devastating industries, and we’re thrilled to support them in their endeavour.”

“Sparxell is an incredibly exciting company for SNØCAP because of the vast market implications behind the technology,” said Shrina Kurani, GP of SNØCAP VC. “Consumers want cleaner alternatives in the products they buy, and Sparxell can deliver on this at a platform level, creating a much bigger climate impact.”

Rohit Gupta, Managing Director of Future Communities Capital, added: “The colourant industry is a massive market controlled by a handful of players; it is ripe for disruption. Sparxell has the potential to impact some of the world’s largest industries, leading a powerful shift towards sustainability without sacrificing performance.”

Related Posts

Get daily funding news briefings in the tech world delivered right to your inbox.

Enter Your Email
join our newsletter. thank you