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Clean Growth Fund invests in Holiferm to decarbonise a wide range of personal and home care products


  • Holiferm’s pioneering work will put an end to everyday household products using fossil fuel petrochemicals and tropical oils ingredients.
  • Holiferm’s technology allows, for the first time, the production of clean and natural cleaning ingredients at a scale that makes them widely available to all consumers.

Manchester & London: The Clean Growth Fund, the UK venture capital fund, has invested in Holiferm, the award-winning University of Manchester biotech spin out. The investment will help the company bring eco-friendly ingredients to the mass market that will end the use of fossil fuels and tropical oils in the manufacture of consumer products such as shampoo, detergents, laundry power and shower gels.

It is the Clean Growth Fund’s first investment in the UK biotech sector since it was established in May 2020 with investment from CCLA, one of the UK’s largest fund managers, the UK Government (Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy) and Strathclyde Local Authority Pension Fund.  The Clean Growth Fund has invested UK£1.8m in Holiferm alongside US-based Rhapsody Venture Partners and Netherlands-based ICOS Capital to complete a UK£6.9m round.

The Clean Growth Fund was set up to invest in the UK’s most promising early stage “clean growth” companies that are pioneering carbon reduction across the economy.

Jonathan Tudor, Investment Partner at the Clean Growth Fund, said: “Holiferm’s work to replace fossil-fuels with biobased and biodegradable ingredients in everyday consumer products is a world-beater – removing the need for petrochemicals and tropical oils, both of which cause significant environmental damage, in the manufacture of everyday, mass-market consumer products.”

“By supplying FMCG companies worldwide that are committed to reducing their carbon footprint and switching to bio-based ingredients, the environmental and economic potential of Holiferm’s “HoneySurf” ingredients are immense.”

While eco-friendly ingredients in this sector do exist, including other biosurfactants, they use a costly batch fermentation process. Holiferm’s “HoneySurf” ingredient is produced by fermentation using a naturally occurring yeast found in honey. The process enables the delivery of green products to the mass market at a competitive price.

The investments made by Rhapsody Venture Partners, ICOS Capital and the Clean Growth Fund will support Holiferm to open a new commercial production plant – planned to be at Wallasey, Merseyside – that will employ 30 people. It will produce over 1,000 tonnes of biosurfactants a year for global supply, including for Holiferm’s existing customers and distributors, such as MixCleanGreen, Starbrands, Azelis and Eurosyn.  The new investments will also support the launch of new biosurfactant products and the company’s R&D work with BASF.

Ben Dolman, Holiferm’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Long-term, with the valuable support of the Clean Growth Fund, Rhapsody Venture Partners and ICOS Capital, and our work with BASF and other partners, we want HoneySurf and our range of green biosurfactants to remove the global market’s dependency on petrochemicals.  The new investment will enable Holiferm to build a world-leading biosurfactant manufacturing facility and fully commercialise our sustainable manufacturing process.”

Richard Lock, Managing Director of Holiferm, said: “At Holiferm, we’re trying to redefine what chemical manufacturing means. There’s a great misconception that it has to entail huge power stations and industrial plants. We use a process that is completely green. We are working with a molecule that has been designed not by humans, but by nature, which will bring biosurfactants to the mass market.”

Notes to Editors:
Holiferm (www.holiferm.comis a purpose-led company that aims to accelerate the transition to a circular economy by developing and supplying sustainable, non-fossil based, fermentation-derived ingredients for industrial and consumer products. Holiferm transforms existing biosurfactant and lipid production processes by taking traditional and expensive batch fermentation and developing commercially viable, continuous manufacturing processes to deliver green products to the mass market at the correct volumes and price points.