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In brief: Belgian biotech Amphistar secures €6m funding

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Published: 25 April 2024

Plus, 3i Group, Mirova and Banque des Territoires invest €60m in e-mobility | Emerging markets outpace US and UK firms in gender equality | Northern Horizon starts new care home fund

Amphistar bottles
Amphistar produces biosurfactants made from locally sourced waste from the agri-food industry, such as supermarket food waste | Photo by Amphistar

Amphistar, a Belgium-based biotech startup, raised €6m from the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund, early-stage venture capital fund Qbic III and the Flanders Future Tech Fund.

The fundraise wil allow Amphistar to launch a line of eco-friendly and cost-effective biosurfactants made from waste.  

Surfactants, which can be found in numerous products, ranging from shampoos to food and feed and even building materials, are typically made from fossil- and/or palm oil feedstocks. Amphistar, which was founded in 2021 as a spin-off company from Ghent University and the Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant, produces microbial biosurfactants made from locally sourced waste from the agri-food industry, such as supermarket food waste.  

Amphistar appointed Pierre-Franck Valentin as its new chief executive officer as it plans another fundraising round to pay for the construction of a state-of-the-art plant. Valentin is an experienced business leader, with more than 25 years of experience in the surfactants and chemicals‘ industries.

“With this capital injection and extended support of these prominent investors we will bring our unique waste-based biosurfactant products to market and aim to make biosurfactants mainstream,” said Sophie Roelants, co-founder and chief operating officer at AmphiStar.

“There is a clear market need for a better biosurfactants’ offer from the producers – in terms of performance, sustainability and price points,” said Jowita Sewerska, investment director at the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund. “AmphiStar has great cards to play here and is now at an exciting point of accelerating the commercialisation of its products.”

Equileap’s gender equality report

Companies in emerging markets including Taiwan, India, and South Korea do a better job in addressing the pay gap compared to their peers in the US and the UK.

That’s according to the inaugural 2024 Gender Equality Report & Ranking for emerging markets by Equileap, a data provider dedicated to advancing gender equality, diversity and inclusion in business.

Only 13% of US companies that took part in the survey said they disclosed gender pay information, compared with 65% or more for firms in Taiwan, India, and South Korea. While 69% of American companies and 45% of UK-based companies said they publish anti-sexual harassment policies, they lag behind India (100% publication rate), Taiwan (96%), and South Korea (87%).

Now that the data is available, “investors can play a crucial role in promoting gender equality in these vibrant markets,” said Diana van Maasdijk, chief executive officer at Equileap. “This not only aligns with our dedication to social responsibility but also solidifies our belief in the undeniable link between diversity, equity, and sustainable economic prosperity.”

Northern Horizon

Northern Horizon, which specialises in real estate investment in Northern Europe, said it had completed the conversion of its third healthcare fund into an open-ended fund.

Its new Aged Care Social Infrastructure Fund is the fifth healthcare fund managed by Northern Horizon, and was founded to address a lack of modern care homes in the Nordics as its population ages rapidly.

Northern Horizon said the new fund is backed by equity commitments from follow-on investors, while it also attracted new equity capital from clients of The Townsend Group. It also landed a new cornerstone investor: UBS Asset Management’s Real Estate & Private Markets Multi-Managers business.

The fund’s portfolio consists of 63 “high quality, fit-for-purpose care properties”in Sweden and in Finland, the healthcare asset manager said.

“Following the successful exits of two previous funds in the aged care and healthcare sectors, we have consistently delivered strong returns to our investors,” said Justas Zlatkauskas, co-fund manager of the Aged Care Social Infrastructure Fund. “Nordic Aged Care Fund, the third fund of the series, has continued this trend by surpassing its original return metrics and demonstrating the resilience of the asset class.”

NEoT Green Mobility

3i Group, Mirova and Banque des Territoires have extended NEoT Green Mobility’s investment capacity to €160m after they jointly invested an additional €60m alongside its historical shareholder EDF Pulse Ventures.

French fund manager Mirova invested via its Mirova Energy Transition 5 fund, while 3i Group, a UK-based private equity and venture capitalist, did so via its 3i European Operational Projects Fund.  

NGM is positioning itself as a financing partner for e-mobility operators and local authorities looking to electrify their fleets or infrastructure. It is currently active in France, the UK and Scandinavia, and aims to expand across Western, Central Eastern and Northern Europe.

“This is an attractive opportunity for 3i EOPF to continue to invest in the green mobility sector in Europe in a high yield/ low risk platform without development risk,” said Stephane Grandguillaume, partner at 3i.

With the additional investment, NGM is aiming to more than double its assets base to €500m from €200m by 2025. NEoT Green Mobility had raised €100m from Mirova, 3i Group and Banque des Territoires in an initial funding round in 2021.

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