PARIS — Hub.cycle, a French company that converts fruit and vegetable wastes into raw materials for the personal care and food industries, has raised its first round of funding, worth 1.5 million euros, to develop upcycling throughout its production chain.
Capital risk fund Daphni led the round, which involved Swen Capital and business angles, such as Sofiane Ammar, Cédric Sellin and Jean-Charles Morisseau.
The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the shift toward sustainable consumption, especially in the beauty space, which has helped make it an attractive target for investors.
“This sum will allow the company to recruit new talents, list new products and pursue its expansion in France and abroad,” the Avignon, France-based company said in a statement, adding the funds will also be used to finance an applications laboratory.
Julien Lesage, a phytochemist, founded Hub.cycle in 2016, then was joined by Dominique Sylvain, an agro-food engineer.
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They recognized that between 30 and 50 percent of agricultural production is thrown away when it is transformed industrially, so set out to create a transversal solution meant to give strong value to the discarded products.
Hub.cycle analyzes molecules, conservation, traceability and quality, as well as prospects opportunities.
The company, for instance, might work with an orange juice producer, taking its cast-off orange skins that could be of interest to cosmetics players that are after some elements found in the fruit’s rinds.
For the producers, this not only produces less waste, but also generates an extra financial gain, according to Hub.cycle.
“As for clients, they access upcycled ingredients — innovative and virtuous — without compromising on quality and at competitive prices,” the company said.
“Aware of the amount of waste thrown away each year by manufacturers, our goal in creating Hub.cycle was clear: to prove that it was possible to recover all those co-products to transform waste into something sexy,” said Lesage, who serves as company chief executive officer.
Hub.cycle has more than 200 references in its portfolio, which grows weekly.
The group said in 2020 it allowed for the savings of 1,000 tons of fruits and vegetables, and that the goal for this year is 10,000 tons.
Hub.cycle’s clients in the cosmetics sector already include L’Oréal, Yves Rocher and Givaudan.
“We want to change the market,” continued Lesage. “By sourcing upcycled raw materials and ingredients, manufacturers are helping to save thousands of tons of carbon, water and food resources.”
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