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Seprify wins CHF 150,000 to accelerate market entry

Tuesday 30th May 2023
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The Fribourg-based startup Seprify (previously Impossible Materials) has won the third stage of the Venture Kick program, securing itself CHF 150’000. The prize money will allow the startup to further develop its sustainable, cellulose-based materials for various industrially manufactured products.

The recent EU-wide ban on titanium dioxide (TiO2) in food (E171), a common white pigment found in various products, is making industries seek sustainable alternatives. The ban is not only a response to the potential health risks caused by the long-term accumulation of TiO2 in the body but also to the environmental impact of titanium mining. The ban has affected health-sensitive industries, in particular, creating a need for a sustainable alternative.

Founded in 2022 as a spin-out of the University of Cambridge and the University of Fribourg, Seprify is pioneering novel, high-performance ingredients that could redefine various industries. Its first product uses cellulose to mimic the structure of the bright white Cyphochilus beetle’s exoskeletal scales. Cellulose is a component that is widely available, biocompatible, and easy to process, creating a safer and better-performing white pigment (see video).

Highly opacifying and 100% plant-based, the product has potential uses in a wide range of formulations in the production of food, cosmetics, pharmaceutical, coatings, and many other markets. Globally, the TiO2 ban has created a market potential of USD 16 billion for its sustainable alternative.

The startup will invest the CHF 150,000 awarded by Venture Kick in bringing their cellulose white pigment solution quickly to the food market, including regulatory approval and further business development in this sector.

Led by Dr Lukas Schertel (CEO), who developed the solution with a leading cellulose expert, Seprify is supported by Prof. Dr Silvia Vignolini, who functions as the startup’s scientific advisor, along with entrepreneur Oliver Polcher (CBO), and Wadood Hamad (CTO), an expert in cellulose scaling and sustainable product development.

“The Venture Kick program has drastically accelerated our growth by giving us access to a unique startup environment in Switzerland with high-value add advisors, investors and commercial contacts. The funding and network we have been accessing through Venture Kick is a major part of our recent success and we look forward to continuing this journey together,” said Lukas Schertel.

(Press release/RAN)
Photo L-R: Lukas Schertel, Wadood Hamad, Silvia Vignolini and Oliver Polcher.

Article and photos © Full article can be found at:

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