36Kr reported on August 31 that Demeter Bio-Tech (Zhuhai) Co., Ltd., a microalgae product synthesis enterprise, has recently completed a pre-A round of financing totaling nearly 100 million yuan ($14.50 million).
The round was jointly led by Envision Sequoia Carbon-Neutral Fund and Envision Group, backed up by existing shareholder Sequoia China Seed Fund, while Shenzhen Wisdom Extraordinary Investment Consulting Co., Ltd. acted as the exclusive financial advisor. This round of financing will be used for the construction of a “smart photocarbon factory” and the development of next-generation pipelines.
The smart photocarbon factory being built by Demeter consists of several large photobioreactors with online production control. It combines high-throughput data collection methods and AI algorithms to achieve intelligent design of “light formulas” (light quality, light intensity, and light duration), thus achieving efficient utilization of light energy and carbon sources, i.e. “intelligent photocarbon manufacturing.” In addition, AI-assisted fermentation control is also a key technology of the company, and it is likely to promote further development of synthetic biotechnology.
Demeter has now realized the co-production of marine diatoms in multiple pipelines. It is capable of producing lithophanin, EPA and protein at the same time. “Compared with the natural algae species, the modified algae species are four times and two times higher in rock phycocyanin and EPA production, respectively,” founder Han Danxiang told 36Kr.
In addition, Demeter has a rich commercial algae species bank, including nearly 20 algae species such as Chlorella desert, Chlamydomonas chlamydomonas, Xanthofibril, Chlorella chlorella and Micrococcus microalgae, and owns related patents.
Demeter will also make efforts in protein, oil and other bulk products related to nutrition and energy. It designs the product pipeline from the perspective of the whole industrial chain, with a view to reducing costs and increasing efficiency, so that the chassis, products and the production line match each other. Its first orders are from downstream food and dairy industry giants.
Regarding this round of financing, Yu Feng, the senior vice president of Envision Group, said that Demeter works on an important track for algae biosynthesis technology that transforms from traditional agricultural technology to modern large-scale industrial production. Using algae biosynthesis technology for large-scale carbon sequestration and developing high-value utilization of zero-carbon energy is also in line with the strategy of the Group, and it is an important component of the Group’s new industrial system.