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Our planet is facing a multitude of challenges, from climate change to food insecurity and air pollution. And solving these big issues is going to require big ideas. IndieBio, one of the world’s best-known biotech accelerators, was set up to support these planet-changing ideas.
IndieBio recently welcomed a bunch of new companies for its 11th cohort, and six of them in particular have caught our eye. These startups’ solutions range across industries, from transport to food and even sustainable beauty. We’re super excited about these innovations so without further ado, let’s take a look.
Lypid is a San Francisco food tech that makes vegan fat. Fat is the component that makes some of our favourite animal foods taste delicious—think marbled steak or streaky bacon. So if we’re going to get consumers to choose plant-based alternatives, we need to find a substitute that can perform just like animal fat. That’s why Lypid is working on creating a 100% plant-based fat that can give a “rich meaty mouthfeel” to elevate vegan alternatives.
2. Capra Biosciences
Based in Manassas, Virginia, Capra Biosciences is making zero-emissions engine lubricants. We do have more eco-friendly alternatives to fossil fuels like fermentation-derived biofuels. The problem is, the market isn’t using them because they use huge amounts of water and steel. Capra is solving this very problem with their biofilm-based bioreactor that can make these bio-derived products competitive with petrochemicals.
3. Aja Labs
Aja Labs makes “superhuman hair” to fight plastic pollution and waste associated with conventional hair extensions. Headquartered in Houston, the startup has engineered a biodegradable alternative derived from plant fibres. They’re taking clean beauty to another level.
Over in Durham, North Carolina, Avalo.ai is breeding climate-resilient crops. A number of our favourite foods are already at risk from unpredictable rainfall patterns and rising temperatures, from bananas to coffee. Avalo’s agritech solution uses machine learning, gene discovery and predictive data to solve this problem and help our favourite crops (such as rice) to weather climate change.
5. Sundial Foods
Sundial Foods is a food tech making clean label vegan meat. They’re saying goodbye to heavy processing and synthetic ingredients, thanks to their innovative protein structuring tech. With it, the Berkeley-based startup is able to make America’s favourite meat—crispy chicken—using just 8 ingredients. Their analogue isn’t just healthier. According to Sundial, it’s just as delicious and has the flaky skin and meaty texture that people crave.
6. California Cultured
The chocolate industry is facing a litany of issues, from human rights and child labour to its role in driving deforestation in West Africa. That’s why California Cultured is working to grow chocolate in labs. They’ve managed to produce sustainable and ethical chocolate alternatives directly from plant stem cells. Plus, using cell-ag means they can it to increase the natural functional compounds and make it less bitter—which means less sugar and a healthier bar.
Lead image courtesy of Sundial Foods.