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In The News: vegan collagen for hair care, new leadership in polymers and in biotech, B Corp beauty

Geltor launches NuColl, Aveda earns B Corp certification, Covestro US brings in a new President, AS Beauty Group buys Bliss, & Green Bioactives picks up funding and grows executive team.

Photo by Crystal Huff on Unsplash

🧬Protein Power

This month, California-based biodesign company Geltor launched its latest vegan, Halal ingredient. Geltor specializes in proteins and just announced the addition of NuColl to its portfolio. This particular collagen was developed to meet the needs and expectations of hair care and hair styling product formulators.

“It’s a vegan collagen that makes your hair look gorgeous,” writes Geltor Co-Founder and CEO Alex Lorestani, in a LinkedIn post sharing news of the launch. “The interdisciplinary science and care that went into this first step towards biodesign x hair/scalp care is what I’m most proud of,” he says.

“NuColl is manufactured using a proprietary precision fermentation process with consciously sourced, plant-based inputs. Compared to traditional marine collagen,” emphasizes Geltor the recent press release, “NuColl delivers superior purity, quality, and consistency, with a traceable and transparent supply chain.” And, the new powder ingredient is available globally to beauty makers of every size.

🌱💋Aveda’s Achievement

Estée Lauder’s eco-chic hair care, skincare, and body care brand made headlines this month as a Certified B Corp. “The rigorous and extensive B Corp process takes into careful consideration a company's impact on people and planet,” explains Lindsey Wilson, Associate Director of Community Growth at B Lab, in a recent Aveda media release.

“Aveda has a sterling reputation,” she says “for its decades-long commitment to maintaining a purpose-led business and I am thrilled to welcome the brand to our community of over 5,000 B Corps around the world….and look forward to supporting the brand on its continued mission to care for the world we live in.”

The conventional economic system results in, what B Lab calls “negative impacts…across societies and cultures: structural social and economic inequality; environmental degradation and resource extraction; and the decline of individual well-being and loss of social cohesion.”

By incentivizing an alternative system of economics with its thorough, and increasingly in-demand, certification, the globally active B Lab organization is “[working] toward a world where business is a force for good, and plays a leading role in positively impacting and transforming the global economy into a more inclusive, equitable, and regenerative system.” (quoting the organization’s website)

According to Melissa Chelminiak, Director of Mission Partnerships and Engagement at Aveda, the brand sees this certification as further validation of its founding principles: “A pioneer in sustainability since the founding of Aveda in 1978, achieving B Corp Certification affirms, through an incredibly rigorous process, that Aveda adheres to the highest levels of social and environmental performance," she says in this month’s media release from the brand. “Aveda,” adds Chelminiak, “is proud to join a community of like-minded organizations who are driving a global movement of business as a force for good.”

As a Certified B Corp, Aveda will go through a recertification process every 3 years to ensure the beauty brand’s business practices continue to meet the requirements of certification.

♻🧪A Vision for Circular Chemistry

As 2023 gets underway, beauty ingredient maker Covestro announces a change in leadership. Six months from now, at the start of July, Samir Hifri will step into the roles of Chairman and President of Covestro US.

Hifri has been with the company since 1998 and presently fills two positions: SVP and Managing Director of Covestro Hong Kong, as well as Head of Supply Chain & Logistics in the Asia Pacific region.

Haakan Jonsson currently holds the role of Chairman and President of Covestro US, and has since the start of 2020, which of course means that he led the region’s operations through the first 3 years of the covid-19 pandemic. At the end of June, he will retire. “I've been fortunate to have led a long, fulfilling career with Covestro, which culminated in the ultimate privilege of leading the first-class team here in the US,” Jonsson tells the press. “As my own Covestro journey comes to a close, I am confident that the US organization will continue to grow and thrive under Samir's capable leadership.”

That leadership will involve making progress toward the company-wide objective of circularity. As incoming Chairman and President of Covestro US Samir Hifri affirms in his own remarks to the press, “I'm both humbled and grateful for the opportunity to lead and work alongside the talented U.S. team, as we continue to advance the company's vision of becoming fully circular.” 🔗♻🧪find a PDF with details on the company’s approach to circularity here.

💰🧴Buying into Skincare

Midway through January, AS Beauty Group announced its first brand acquisition in the skincare category. The company founded in 2019 by two father-son duos Victor and Ralph Azrak, and Alan and Joey Shamah (of e.l.f. cosmetics fame), recently announced the acquisition of Bliss.

“The acquisition of Bliss marks the next phase of growth for AS Beauty,” says Ralph Azrak, Chief Operating Officer of AS Beauty, in a press release circulated by the company. And he notes, “our approach to business development has allowed us to find exponential success in growing brands in the mass and traditional beauty space, and we are excited to use our resources and strategies to break into the skincare category and take this business to even greater heights.”

"It is very exciting for the Bliss brand to enter its next chapter of growth with AS Beauty,” says Meri Baregamian, CEO of Bliss, in her remarks to the press, “their operational excellence, and strong digital expertise will accelerate the brand growth and mission of making the Bliss brand accessible to all.”

🍃💋Making Molecules

Scotland-based biotech startup Green Bioactives picked up over £2.5m in seed funding late last year. According to a press release the company issued in December, “The funding round was led by Eos Advisory LLP and included investments from London-based Regenerate Ventures' Agtech Fund, London and Singapore co-headquartered Milltrust International Group, and Scottish Enterprise, which also provided the company with advisory support.”

Now this month, Green Bioactives has brought in a new Chief Business Officer—Chris Meaney—and a new Head of Operations—Dr Andy Hall-Ponselé.

Green Bioactives works with plant vascular stem cells to effectively ‘manufacture’ biomolecules of value in food, pharma, ag, and of course, beauty. As the biotech startup’s website explains it, “plant vascular stem cells (VSCs) have the potential to differentiate into functionally and structurally distinct primary plant tissues. With the appropriate external chemical elicitation, plant vascular stem cells can be cultured to produce target bioactive molecules which are produced naturally in whole plants.” And this is Green Bioactives specialty.

This month’s leadership appointments bring significant experience and knowhow to Green Bioactives. “Chris [Meaney] spent 12 years at Cambridge Nutraceuticals from company formation through to business maturity in marketing and as Head of Business Development, and was heavily involved in the creation of many product formulations,” notes a press release the company circulated this month. “Chris joins GBL from Primal Nutrition Solutions, a global vitamin and mineral manufacturer and supplier, where he served as European Head of Business Development, responsible for launching the business into the European market.”

And among Dr Hall-Ponselé’s credentials: “In 2015, Andy co-founded Biotangents Ltd based on his synthetic biology expertise and DNA assembly technology. Andy led the company as CEO in its first 18 months, secured funding and led its business strategy before becoming Director of Operations, playing a key role in determining the company's product development and commercialisation strategies and growing the company to 23 FTEs.”

With the new funding and new team members, Green Bioactives intends to scale its molecule-making biotech platform, establish partnerships, and secure IP.

“I'm extremely pleased with the strength and depth of the management team that we are assembling to capitalise on Green Bioactives' recent successes,” says David McElroy, CEO of Green Bioactives, in remarks to the press, adding that, “Our unique offering has already attracted significant interest from business partners, and Chris' and Andy's proven track records of performance and leadership in biotechnology start-ups will allow us to leverage this potential and achieve our goal of becoming the world's leading supplier of safe, natural and sustainably-sourced plant-derived products.”


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