The Finnish startup Innomost raises €5 million to bring their birch bark innovation into new markets as a sustainable alternative for environmentally harmful ingredients in consumer products. The funding round was led by Metsä Spring with Innovestor and angel investors joining the round. Additionally, Innomost secured some grants and loans from Business Finland as well as other public financing sources.
The fresh capital will be used to set up a pilot plant in the startup’s hometown Kokkola. Also, Innomost will invest in its continued R&D work, as well as growing their existing customer base in international markets. The pilot plant will be used to test and plan the process for the next industrial-scale plant.
Founded in 2016, Innomost aims to build a production facility capable of producing 20 tonnes of birch bark products per year by 2023.
The majority of cosmetics ingredients and packaging materials used today are still made from fossil fuels, plastic, or palm oil, which are associated with many environmental and ethical issues.
Innomost develops and produces high-value bioactive ingredients from forest industry side streams that enable its customers to make groundbreaking innovations in the cosmetic beauty industry. By using birch bark side streams, Innomost can upcycle naturally occurring raw materials that would normally be used for energy production or other lower value purposes into high-quality products. The products are more environmentally sustainable, as they derive from a renewable carbon source rather than similar fossil fuel-based materials.
Sami Selkälä, the CEO and Founder of Innomost stated: “It’s really a win-win situation. The raw materials for Innomost’s products are available in large volumes at a feasible cost. Our raw material originates from Nordic forests, not from lands that could be used for food or feed. We are on top of the new beauty trend for upcycling, zero waste and full-cycle natural cosmetics. We are very grateful to our investors for seeing the potential in our innovation. We have several other industries in our sights that can all replace negative impact products and materials, including pharmaceutical, technochemical, textile, and nutraceutical industries.
Innomost’s current product portfolio consists of birch charcoal powder, birch bark powder, betulin, suberin and azelaic acid. These ingredients are well suited for innovation in all cosmetic product categories including skincare, haircare, body care, decorative cosmetics, and oral care. Azelaic acid, for example, is an effective solution for acne, which has exploded as a skin problem with the daily usage of face masks. Birch bark powder provides deep cleansing for skin and hair, replacing extremely problematic microplastics.
Innovestor Partner Myron Seto commented: “The market potential, particularly in cosmetics, is very sizable, and Innomost has developed a new industrial technology that can disrupt the global market supply. We look forward to tracking Innomost’s growth as they scale up production with its new pilot plant, displacing non-eco-friendly products with the use of natural betulin.”