Team: Ecovia Renewables | Origin: Michigan | Participation: NSF I-Corps, 2013
Founded in 2014 by a faculty member and a Ph.D. graduate of the University of Michigan, Ecovia Renewables is creating bio-based, compostable alternatives to widely-used petrochemical-based superabsorbent polymers commonly found in a variety of products, including disposable diapers and other hygiene products, soil amendments for agriculture, and cosmetic formulations.
At the University of Michigan in 2009, Xiaoxia “Nina” Lin, co-founder and scientific advisor at Ecovia Renewables, received an NSF award to research engineering synthetic microbial communities for next-generation biofuels. Lin then won an NSF CAREER award in 2011 to construct and optimize a community of bacteria and fungi to produce biofuels.
After participating in NSF I-Corps in 2013, Ecovia Renewables received an NSF STTR Phase I award in 2015 for $225,000, an NSF SBIR Phase II grant in 2017 for $750,000, and an NSF SBIR Phase IIB grant in 2018 for $500,000. It also received $100,000 in grant funding from U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2015, and $225,000 from Department of Energy in 2016. In April 2018, Ecovia Renewables raised $1 million of seed funding in connection with a commercial partnership with SEPPIC, a French company that designs and supplies specialty chemical products, in September 2018, it closed a second round of equity funding that included $500,000 from the University of Michigan’s Michigan Invests in New Technology Startups (MINTS) program.