Tunisian B2B biotech startup WaterSpirit has announced the completion of a fundraising round of $872k. The funding came from a group of undisclosed Tunisian investors and contributors.
WaterSpirit was founded by Mehdi Bhouri in 2018 and obtained its startup label in March 2020. The startup focuses on extracting bioactive chemicals from microalgae, to be marketed to manufacturers of pharmaceutical and cosmetics products.
Astaxanthin is WaterSpirit’s main product. The product targets pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and “cosmeceutical” (cosmetics with therapeutic effects) sectors of the industry.
“During the first cohort, we relocated to the Sidi Thabet technology park following pre-creation incubation with BIATLABS. From 2018 to 2021, we optimized manufacturing processes at the laboratory and pilot levels. Our primary business is cultivating specific strains of microalgae on our own premises in order to extract antioxidants that are classified as among the strongest marketable antioxidants in the world,” Mehdi Bhouri said.
The product’s fundamental purpose is to assist businesses in developing treatments for diseases associated with ageing and oxidation.
“Through collaboration with two public research institutions, which include the National Institute of Sciences and Technologies of the Sea and the Sidi Thabet Higher Institute of Biotechnology, we have mastered the processes of microalgal culture in its various stages and the extraction of molecules of interest from these microalgae,” Mehdi Bhouri stated.
“Water Spirit SA’s milestones would not have been possible without the efforts of its multidisciplinary and talented team, the initial founders, the Business Angels who believed in this project, BIATLABS, INSTM, the ISBST, and the new public and private donors,” he further said.
The investment will enable the establishment of an industrial unit capable of cultivating microalgae on a greater scale and extracting the molecules. The startup is also looking at pursuing export opportunities, most notably in the North American and European markets.