Algenesis Secures $5M to Produce at Scale Biodegradable Plastic Made From Algae

San Diego-based Algenesis Corporation, the plant-based material science company behind the biodegradable shoe brand BLUEVIEW, announces it has raised $5 million in a seed funding round to expand production and commercialization of Soleic PU, a plastic biomaterial made from plants and algae.

Additionally, with the new funds, the company will expand Soleic product lines into breathable and waterproof textiles and phone cases. Soleic PU is currently available in soft foam applications, such as midsoles and insoles for footwear. In previous partnerships with the surfing brands REEF and Artic Form, the company created innovative algae foam blank surfboards. 

First Bight Ventures and Circulate Capital led the round, with MIH Capital, Diamond Sports Group, and RhinoShield supporting the biomaterials company. The investment follows a $5 million grant from the US Department of Energy to scale up the production of biobased isocyanates from algae oils using a safe and green-flow chemistry process.

BLUEVIEW Sustainable Sneakers/Shoes

Plant-based plastic

Algenesis, a leader in eco-innovation, has developed a technology that uses plants and algae to make biobased plastics. The company claims that Soleic is the world’s first renewable, high-performance, fully biodegradable, and backyard compostable bioPolyurethane.

Soleic is free from plastic’s harmful PFAS chemical additives and is biodegradable even in compost. It is said to compete with petroleum-based plastic in functionality and cost. Regarding sustainability, its production process has 50% lower GHG emissions than petroleum PU3, Algenesis explains.

Twenty-five million tons of polyurethane (6% of total plastics) are used annually across footwear, medical, and textile industries. Due to its composition, PU is hard to recycle, ending up in landfills or as microplastics in the environment.

BLUEVIEW Shoes - Surfers on Beach

Consumer awareness regarding the ecological consequences of plastic is prompting consumer-facing companies to show greater interest in biomaterials, and the company aims to become a leading supplier, stated Algenesis.

Other companies developing plant-based materials to replace plastics include UK natural material company Xampla, US biomaterials startup Sway, Switzerland-based startup Noriware, Seaweed materials firm Loliware, and sustainable packaging startup Notpla.

“We are excited to take this next step in our growth journey, and this funding will support us to scale production and meet the growing demand for Soleic® PU systems,” said Steve Mayfield, founder and CEO of Algenesis.

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