Chromologics is developing a bio-based portfolio of natural colorants via a fungal biotech platform for the food market, tapping into a € 4.6B market opportunity.
The company received an additional € 4M from Blue Horizon Ventures, Novo Seeds, Nordic Food Tech, and angel investor Giampaolo Cagnin. The total seed round, which also included Vækstfonden, was € 6M.
Chromologics was founded in 2017 as a spin-out from the Technical University of Denmark. Since closing their initial seed round in July 2020, they have expanded the team, improved their production yields, engaged with customers, and initiated the regulatory approval of their flagship product, a natural red food color. This new investment not only strengthens the company’s initial strategic vision, but also allows Chromologics to explore and expand the portfolio to address other market segments.
The market for food coloring has continuously moved from synthetic to natural solutions over the last decade. Two main challenges for the natural colorants include compliance with vegan certification standards and, crucially, temperature stability to accommodate food manufacturing processes.
Chromologics’ platform sets a new benchmark for food colorant production. It supports the transition from the input-intensive and wasteful use of food resources towards sustainable, laboratory-grown food colorants. Instead of exploiting high-value crops and insects to extract natural colorants, Chromologics’ natural colorants are produced using precision fermentation. Chromologics is thus freeing up arable land for other crucial foods and decreasing the use of pesticides and fertilizers.
Chromologics is actively forming partnerships and collaborations with food manufacturers, especially those working on new plant-based meat products, to test and evaluate the Chromologics’ natural red colorant solution.
Gerit Tolborg / CEO Chromologics
“I am proud to be CEO and co-founder of Chromologics, and proud to be among the few female CEO’s of tech start-ups. Our journey of successfully translating academic science into a commercial product is just beginning. Our ambition is to grow Chromologics into the market leader of fermented natural color solutions, and at the same time be an inspiration for other female scientists to follow suit.”
Thomas Grotkjær / Novo Seeds
“The extended seed round, with participation of new European investors with strong domain expertise, is a clear sign of the momentum of Chromologics. I believe that Chromologics has the potential to drive a significant change in how we think about natural colors.“
Regina Hecker / Blue Horizon Ventures
“What the Chromologics team is doing is absolutely fascinating. Their technology has the potential to radically transform the global color industry as it opens the door for nature-based, safe, and reliable colors to the food and beverage industry that can be produced with far fewer resources. We are delighted to support them on this journey.”
Lauri Reuter / Nordic Food Tech VC
“Chromologics has set a great example both in leveraging biology to solve a hard technical problem for better food and in turning excellent research into a fast-growing company. An absolute delight for an investor.”
Gerit Tolborg and Anders Ødum met in 2016 at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), when they were both pursuing academic careers. After an exciting discovery of a novel group of fungal pigments during Gerit’s PhD, they founded Chromologics. Financed by several soft money grants from the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the Innovation Foundation Denmark, Gerit and Anders matured the technology of Chromologics to attract international venture capital.
Chromologics is a Danish biotech spin-out from the Technical University of Denmark, based in Copenhagen and founded in 2017. They have developed a fungal biotech platform to produce novel, natural colorants. Their proprietary fermentation process allows them to be first movers to introduce lab-grown food colorants to the market. Their production is sustainable, scalable, and cost-competitive. Their pigments are compatible with most dietary needs, including kosher, halal, and vegan diets. www.chromologics.com
Blue Horizon Ventures
Blue Horizon Ventures was founded in 2018, and, with €183M assets under its management, the fund aims to support the movement towards a more sustainable food system through innovation, technology and entrepreneurship. It puts special focus on plant-based, cultured meat, synthetic biology, and sustainability. The underlying mission of the fund is to promote a positive global impact on the environment, human health, and animal welfare. The fund requires that all its portfolio companies contribute to the UN General Assembly’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. www.bluehorizonventures.com
Novo Seeds (Novo Holdings A/S)
Novo Seeds is the early-stage investment arm of Novo Holdings that focuses on the Nordics. Novo Holdings is recognized as a leading life science investor with a focus on creating long-term value. As a life sciences investor, Novo Holdings provides seed and venture capital to development-stage companies and takes significant ownership positions in growth and well-established companies. Novo Holdings also manages a broad portfolio of diversified financial assets. https://www.novoholdings.dk
Nordic FoodTech VC
Nordic FoodTech VC invests in early stage Nordic and Baltic companies leveraging the best possible technologies to renew the food chain. The team has exceptionally diverse capabilities and networks, particularly in food technologies, and they bring solid experience in building and financing food companies, research and product development, and branding and marketing. www.nft.vc
Vækstfonden is the investment fund of the Danish State. They strive to create growth and innovation in Danish companies and to expand the Danish capital ecosystem. Vækstfonden is deeply rooted in the Danish capital and business ecosystem. Through their large variety of financial products, they finance over 800 Danish companies annually, in all stages of their development and across industries. www.vaekstfonden.com