London-headquartered sustainable startup Bio-Sep has raised $1.7 million in funding to convert low-value woodchips into high-value biochemicals. The oversubscribed seed round was led by London Business School’s Enterprise 100 Club (E100 Club) and ACF Investors, with additional participation from a hedge fund that specialises in climate and clean energy technology.
Founded by Adrian Black and Miranda Lindsay-Fynn, the early-stage green technology company converts low-value sawdust from forestry into bio-sourced chemicals that can be used in bio-based materials, cosmetics, medication and dental products helping to contribute to the circular economy. The technology is being demonstrated on an industrial scale pilot plant, whilst the company is developing plans to design and build a commercial biorefinery in the year ahead.
The funding will be used to recruit staff to operate the firm’s pilot plant and design the first scaled-up, commercial plant planned for development in heavily forested Scotland. Construction of the commercial plant, which will be able to process 13,000 tonnes of wood a year, is set to begin in 2023.
Adrian Black, CEO at Bio-Sep said: “Our technology takes a low-value forestry co-product and turns it into essential chemical building blocks, with all manner of applications across the chemical industry and beyond, delivering significant environmental and economic benefits. This investment will enable us to push on and commercialise the technology and is a fantastic show of support for what we believe to be a world-changing innovation.”
John Bates, Enterprise 100 Club member and London Business School fellow said: “LBS is a breeding ground helping to bring students' ideas to life, giving them access to world-leading experts and initiatives to help them embark on their entrepreneurial journey. Coupled with Enterprise 100, it gives startups like Bio-Sep the opportunity to grow and develop revolutionary ideas to truly change the world.”
Sam Fennell, partner at ACF Investors said: “As a society, we rely heavily on the chemicals industry. Products produced by chemical companies afford us high quality of life – they’re the backbone of everything from modern healthcare to technology. But it’s also an industry that’s notoriously polluting. Cleaning up and decarbonising the chemicals industry will be absolutely key if we are to meet climate goals like the Paris Agreement, and the technology provided by Bio-Sep is well-placed to play a central role.”