Why We Invested In Cellugy: A Sustainable Solution to Cellulose

Joyance Partners
3 min readMay 23, 2024


Investing in Cellugy aligns perfectly with Joyance’s mission to support companies utilizing science and technology to enhance our lives. Their innovative approach offers an eco-friendly alternative to petrochemicals in daily consumer products, particularly crucial in industries like personal care, food, textiles, and beyond.

The personal care industry is under mounting pressure to source sustainable alternatives to petrochemicals. The environmental impact of traditional methods for cellulose extraction raises significant concerns, including deforestation, water consumption, and hazardous by-products. Moreover, impending regulations, such as the EU ban on synthetic polymer microparticles, underscore the urgency for eco-conscious alternatives.

Cellulose has broad applications that extend well beyond personal care and cosmetics, such as biomedicine, paints, and textiles, signifying a considerably larger market potential. The global cellulose market was USD 40.56 billion in 2022, which will rocket up to USD 93.10 billion by 2030 and is expected to undergo a CAGR of 9.67% from 2023 to 2030.

Cellugy’s technology addresses the demand for a versatile, biodegradable option by providing a scalable way to produce “biocellulose”, a superior and sustainable alternative, notably with its flagship product EcoFLEXY. This product not only replaces petrochemical-based rheology modifiers but also surpasses them in performance metrics, offering benefits like exceptional salt tolerance, high thickening efficiency, and a light sensorial profile. Produced by certain bacterial strains, biocellulose eliminates the need for extensive plant biomass and vastly reduces water usage. It also circumvents the toxicity issues associated with traditional methods, as it doesn’t require the same hazardous chemicals for production. It can be produced in a gel form suitable for applications that require high performance and effortless utilization without redispersion, or in powder form, suitable for more versatile formulation processes.

The Cellugy team is expertly led by Co-founder and CEO Isabel Alvarez-Martos, who has a PhD in Analytical Chemistry and over 12 years of experience in material-technical development and securing public funding. Isabel is a first-time founder, but has surrounded herself with seasoned experts, including Paruntungan Sihombing, Co-founder and COO/CFO, boasting over 20 years of experience in strategy, operations, and finance, including roles at Siemens, Accenture, and Nestle; Thomas Schrøder, VP Commercial, former VP of biorefining commercial and head of biomass conversion at Novozymes; and Andreas Worberg, CTO, with a PhD in Molecular Biology and over 20 years of experience in biomanufacturing and commercialization. Co-founder and CSO Deby Fapyane has a PhD in Nanotechnology and developed the prototype and bioprocess for EcoFLEXY.

The global market potential for biocellulose and its derivatives is substantial, indicating ample opportunities for Cellugy’s growth. Additionally, the shift towards natural products further boosts the company’s prospects, especially in sectors like clean beauty, where consumer demand for bio-compatible materials is on the rise.

Given the novel and unique power of the technology, the potential for application across so many significant sectors, and the highly talented and experienced team, we think Celugy is destined for success. Our investment in Cellugy reflects a commitment to supporting transformative technologies that benefit both humanity and the planet. With its groundbreaking solutions and talented team, Cellugy is poised to revolutionize the personal care industry and beyond, making it an excellent fit for the Joyance thesis.

By Vice President Yang Chen

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Joyance Partners

We invest in companies that use science & tech, to cultivate joy and improve how we live, focusing on the health & consumer sectors from Pre-Seed to Series A.