FLAVOR-ON-DEMAND – Startup 4GENE receives 7-digit Seed-Funding
January 24, 2019
Germany’s largest seed investor High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), VC Fonds BW, Mittelständische Beteiligungsgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg GmbH and Goldmann International GmbH have acquired stakes in 4GENE GmbH. The young company, based in Heilbronn with office and production facilities in Freising and Stuttgart, develops and distributes activatable flavor and fragrance precursors for cosmetics, food and industrial fragrance warning systems to its customers worldwide. The investment enables the 4GENE team to create the necessary resources in laboratory, production and team. This will enable the upscaling of products to be developed further, the biotechnological process for the production of aroma glucosides to be optimized further and market entry to be accelerated.
With the “FLAVOR-ON-DEMAND” platform, 4GENE has developed a technology for its customers, the manufacturers of consumer goods, which solves a multitude of challenges in the processing and application of flavorings. In contrast to free flavors, 4GENE products are non-volatile, chemically more stable, more soluble in water and can be activated when needed. The 4GENE technology can be used for both natural and synthetically produced flavors. The biotechnological process developed for the industrial production of aroma glucosides makes it possible for the first time to use these products in consumer products in an economically viable way.
In a skin cream, for example, free aroma substances are only noticeable for approx. three hours because of their volatility. Later most people will no longer perceive, or only with great difficulty, the fragrances. Through the use of bound aroma substances in the form of 4GENE Aroma Glucosides, the perceptible fragrances are very slowly cleaved by the microbiome of the skin and released over a much longer period of time. This noticeably prolongs the effect of the fragrance in the skin cream and multiplies the time of perceptibility of the fragrance.
In addition to the use of positively smelling fragrances and aromas, 4GENE offers an industrial solution in which conspicuously smelling fragrances are used as a warning signal. The industrial solution will be presented to the public for the first time at the Hannover Fair in April 2019.
The current product portfolio comprises 26 fragrances and flavoring glucosides. In addition, 4GENE offers its customers and interested parties the development of customer-specific Aroma Glucosides as well as support in their application in product development.
Dr. Anke Caßing from High-Tech Gründerfonds: “The team has developed a novel technology that enables manufacturers of consumer goods to develop exciting new products – a deodorant that releases fragrances when they are most needed, a chewing gum that unfolds its taste over time. Many applications are conceivable, even cables that produce an early warning smell when overheated.”
About 4GENE GmbH
4GENE offers its FLAVOR-ON-DEMAND technology platform of activatable flavor and fragrance glucosides to its Customers in the Cosmetics, Food and Industrial Application Market Segments. 4GENE is a biotech start-up company founded at the Department for Biotechnology of Natural Products led by Prof. Dr. Wilfried Schwab at the Technical University Munich. During the EXIST Funding Program 4GENE cooperated with Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ralf Takors, Head of the Institute for Biotechnical Engineering at the University of Stuttgart to provide the Proof-of-Concept for the production of flavor glucosides. Today the company has 6 Employees and operates from Offices in Freising and Stuttgart in Germany and serves its customers worldwide.
About High-Tech Gründerfonds
High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) is a seed investor that finances high-potential, tech-driven startups. With EUR 892.5 million in total investment volume across three funds and an international network of partners, HTGF has already helped forge more than 500 startups since 2005. Driven by their expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion, its team of experienced investment managers and startup experts help guide the development of young companies. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech startups in a range of sectors, including software, media, internet, hardware, automation, health care, chemicals and life sciences.
To date, external investors have injected over EUR 1.9 billion into the HTGF portfolio via about 1,400 follow-on financing rounds. HTGF has also successfully sold interests in more than 100 companies. Investors in this public-private partnership include the Federal Ministry For Economic Affairs and Energy, the KfW Banking Group, and Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft e.V., as well as the companies ALTANA, BASF, BAYER, B.Braun, Boehringer Ingelheim, Robert Bosch, BÜFA, CEWE, Deutsche Post DHL, Dräger, Drillisch AG, EVONIK, EWE AG, Haniel, Hettich, Knauf, Körber, LANXESS, media + more venture Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, PHOENIX CONTACT, Postbank, QIAGEN, RWE Generation SE, SAP, Schufa, Schwarz Gruppe, STIHL, Thüga, Vector Informatik, WACKER and Wilh. Werhahn KG.