French biotech, Pili, which specializes in renewable color production using biotechnology and organic chemistry, has raised €14.5 million from Bpifrance through the Ecotechnologies 2 fund, Famille C Participations, PSL Innovation Fund managed by Elaia Partners, and the American fund, SOSV.
Founded in 2015 by Jérémie Blache, Guillaume Boissonnat, Marie-Sarah Adenis, and Thomas Landrain, Pili produces industrial-use color from bacteria using a hybrid process that relies on industrial fermentation and green chemistry to produce colored, biosourced pigments without petroleum.
This technology has long been used in the food industry through fermentation in the production of various products such as beer, bread, cheese, chocolate, and vinegar. Recently, it has also been used in the health sector, where modified microorganisms are used to synthesize pharmaceutical molecules such as insulin or in the production of intelligent and renewable materials.
Pili's solution offers an ecological alternative to petrochemical versions by reducing CO2 emissions by up to 50%, and it does not have the disadvantages of plant-based versions, which are not very versatile, expensive, and dependent on weather conditions.
Its goal? To decarbonize the color industry.
Pili has decided to make its way in the industry by starting with indigo, an iconic and timeless dye that gives a unique and deep color to denim fabric used in the production of jeans.
The startup has already received several million euros in pre-orders for sustainable biosourced colorants and pigments in the ink, paint, and textile sectors.
This fundraising allows Pili to start the industrial production of its first tons of biosourced indigo. It then plans to focus on trichromy, the process used to obtain most color ranges using red, blue, and green.
Pili's products come at a time when the world is looking for more sustainable alternatives to traditional petrochemical dyes. The company's innovative approach has caught the attention of investors such as Bpifrance, which is known for its support of innovative companies in France.
Elaia Partners, on the other hand, is a venture capital fund that specializes in investing in European companies in the digital economy, while SOSV is a global venture capital firm that invests in early-stage startups in the life sciences, hardware, and disruptive technologies.
Famille C Participations is a venture capital fund that invests in innovative companies with significant growth potential.
Pili's innovative approach to sustainable color production has the potential to revolutionize the industry and reduce its environmental impact significantly. With this recent funding round, Pili is well-positioned to continue developing its cutting-edge technology and expand its reach into new markets.