By Rawan Disouky, Communications Intern at RIC Centre
Although impressive, a $1.7M financing is not surprising for Anomera, the innovative Montreal-based company and RIC Centre client. Its breakthrough research in “green” chemistry and sustainable manufacturing makes this funding for scale-up well-deserved.
Anomera converts cellulose from wood waste and paper industry pulp into biodegradable, environmentally friendly, high performance ingredients for the multi-billion dollar cosmetics and skin care industries. The timing of Anomera’s entry into cosmetic ingredients could not have been better. Consumers of cosmetics are increasingly discerning, not only about what goes into the cosmetics they use, but also about the impact of industrial practices on the environment. The founders, Mark Andrews, Tim Morse, Monika Rak and Nathan Hordy, have found a way to replace environmentally damaging plastic microbeads widely used in cosmetic and skin care products.
Anomera’s CTO, Dr. Mark Andrews, says “We have been able to use Canadian forest industry cellulose to make game-changing cosmetic ingredients that can outperform microplastics. We really have a natural alternative to mineral, ceramic and artificial ingredients.” Mark further explains that “We take a cradle-to-cradle approach to manufacturing. It is immensely satisfying that our innovations have been validated by one of our toughest customers, an elite cosmetics industry strategic partner.”
Anomera’s work has definitely caught the attention of many. The company has allied with the CEIM incubator in Montreal and a globally recognized cosmetic company that have helped with its outstanding growth. Anomera received massive support from GreenCentre Canada in Kingston and partnered with RIC Centre to provide business development support.
“RIC Centre was crucial in putting us on the map in terms of visibility, initiative, and commitment to green chemistry. It introduced us to GreenCentre Canada and was instrumental in providing a very positive voice in introducing us to elements of leadership in Xerox,” Mark notes. He further elaborates, “The Entrepreneur -in- Residence program has helped my cofounders grow from their tutorship. RIC was very responsive in its connections, communication, respect for privacy, and location.”
Anomera is looking to use its early seed-stage funding for significant scale-up to supply large quantities of ingredients to its first customer. In the near future, Anomera will seek A-round financing to build a manufacturing facility, elaborate distribution channels, staff key employees, and continue in research and development as well as business development.
Mark further described, “We want to move soon beyond seed financing. With the great support of the Xerox Research Centre of Canada in Mississauga, we have nearly completed scale up to significant quantities of cosmetic ingredients, and run-to-run validation of our processes.”
Although there are frustrations in the industry, like qualifying suppliers and getting them to be ideologically aligned to one’s commitments, Anomera has had an unusually smooth run that appears to be getting smoother.
In the future, Anomera is looking to advance its “organic colours”. As Mark beautifully describes, “Imagine having the ability to combine colors at the molecular level – the number of hues is endless. We have a unique way of utilizing metal-free dyes to make an extraordinary range of vibrant pigments. It is a wonderful coincidence is it not, that we can essentially create any shade of green using elements of green chemistry!”
With their connections, innovative minds, dedication to green chemistry, and impeccable timing, Anomera’s hard work will more than pay off in the future.