After a first order of their figurehead product - the best dry ginseng worldwide - in May 2018, Pierre-Antoine Mariage and Paul-Evence Coppée now focus on international growth through some important contracts concluded recently. They are setting up a new vertical farm to cultivate rare plants in Ath. To support this new phase, Botalys (new name of Green2Chem) raised 3 million euros.
VIVES, one of the largest European university investment funds, announces a 3 million euros investment carried out by Botalys, a company specialising in the cultivation of rare plants.
Cutting-edge company Botalys encountered a series of successes in 2018. In May, it recorded its first order at Geneva’s Vitafoods trade fair. HRG80 – Hydroponic Red Ginseng – immediately triggered orders from around the world. This interest from the market confirms the unique character of the expertise of the two founders, who succeeded where the Chinese always failed: devise a hydroponics cultivation method allowing to obtain a consistently high-quality ginseng. The 100% natural process is devoid of pesticides, solvents or enzymes and minimizes the footprint.
“Apart from ginseng, we are steering our research onto other plants. In the long term, we should like to document the beneficial effects of these plants through some pre-clinical tests”, announce Pierre-Antoine Mariage and Paul-Evence Coppée, who are working in that sense with the Centre d’Investigation Clinique en Nutrition (CICN), a new research platform of the Louvain University."
In the stride of this first success, Botalys has just signed 4 major contracts: one with a leading American food supplement company, the other with French-German distributor Natural Origins (Doehler group), which is active at European level, and with 2 Belgian brands Nutrisan et Provera. The latter has just commercialised a food supplement against burnout, stress and fatigue (Vera Sana, Ginseng Premium Adapt +) made using Botalys’ HRG80.
To increase its production and move on to the industrial phase, Botalys moves into a new 2400 square meters factory in the centre of Ath. The aim consists in manufacturing one tonne of dry ginseng in 2019 and to progressively increase production, since the annual capacity of the new factory is of 7 tonnes.
“We have paid careful attention to Botalys progress over the past three years, testifies Philippe Durieux, VIVES CEO. In 2016, we accompanied the company for the construction of a prototype factory. We chose to make another round of funding in 2018 because the sales perspectives, management team and quality of the roundtable are truly exceptional. Moreover, Botalys’ spectre of action falls within the scope of sustainability whilst opening research perspectives in applications supporting well-being. These values are shared by the VIVES shareholders."
This year, the 2 million euros brought in by VIVES and new private shareholders will be completed by 1 million euros via the “SWAN - Seal of Excellence WALLoNia” mechanism. Botalys is one of the first companies to enjoy this new Walloon financial assistance that supports research projects fulfilling European criteria for excellence but that cannot be directly financed by Europe for lack of sufficient budget.
About VIVES (www.vivesfund.com)
VIVES Louvain Technology Fund is a technological investment fund that participates in the spin-offs of the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) and start-ups, both in Belgium and in neighbouring countries. VIVES II is financed for 43 million euros by a dozen of Belgian and European investors, including the European Investment Fund (EIF), SFPI-FPIM, BNP Paribas, BPI France, ING Belgium, Sofina, AXA Belgium, Belfius, IRD (France), Nivelinvest, Région Bruxelles Capitale and Sopartec (UCLouvain).
VIVES has invested in 17 companies that together reaped more than 264 million euros through public and private financing. VIVES has already concluded four releases.
About BOTALYS (www.botalys.com)
Botalys is a Belgian producer of rare plants and ingredients that are beneficial to health whilst minimising the ecological impact on the planet. Botalys developed a unique technology in the world based on vertical cultivation hydroponics, which allows producing natural and highly efficient ingredients such as the HRG80®, the market’s premium ginseng. No pesticides, solvents or enzymes are used during production. Botalys’ clients include key players of the nutraceutic, cosmetic, food and medical markets wanting to offer their consumers the purity and force of nature, ethically.
Created in 2011 under the name Green2Chem, Botalys currently employs 9 collaborators and will double its staff before end 2019.
About the Centre d’Investigation Clinique en Nutrition (www.cicn.be)
The Centre d’Investigation Clinique en Nutrition (CICN) is a platform of the UCLouvain regrouping scientific experts in the area of food behaviour, metabolism, exercise physiology, intestinal microbiota and sensorial analyses. This centralization of competences allows offering a multidisciplinary approach of the studies carried out on humans in the nutrition area.