The story of Lignopure
Taking the power of innovation to create a sustainable bioeconomy
From a very young age, our founder Joana Gil knew and understood the principles of reuse and recycle, and the inherent value of natural resources, taught to her by her family for whom respect for nature and getting the maximum benefit from available resources were fundamental principles in life. Keeping these principles to heart, she later decided to explore opportunities in waste valorization and the transformation of residue and byproduct from manufacturing into valuable materials for different industries; in particular, the food and cosmetic industries.
While working on her PhD at the Hamburg University of Technology, Joana Gil discovered that lignin, an organic polymer in plant cells, was an amazing material, the potential of which was not being fully exploited, although it was produced in large amounts by the industrial processes as a byproduct of paper and ethanol. These early studies and research into lignin and its potential form the core technology and main applications used at Lignopure today.
A little later on, Joana Gil met Lignopure’s co-founders, Wienke Reynolds and Daniela Arango, and together the three business partners developed the concept of reusing the lignin resource further, combining science, innovation and entrepreneurship to bring lignin-based solutions to market. Their mission was to preserve environmental sustainability while maintaining a background of strong scientific research in their products.
It was from this initial concept and with a clear and structured vision that Joana Gil, Wienke Reynolds and Daniela Arango co-founded the business that Lignopure is today.
2018 – The amazing potential of lignin
Our founder Joana Gil and co-founders Wienke Reynolds and Daniela Arango created the concept of a company that is able to transform the natural properties of lignin into highly valuable solutions for the cosmetic and food industries, and in the long-term, for the pharmaceutical industry as well.
2019 – a business concept for the future
Each founding member has their own area of specialty within Lignopure: Joana Gil has developed the core science and technology, Wienke Reynolds is responsible for scaling up the technology and Daniela Arango has set out the grounds for the business concept for the new company, Lignopure.
2019 – first funding via IFB Hamburg of 150,000€
With the full potential of the Lignopure’s business model now visible externally, the development bank of the city of Hamburg, IFB, awarded Lignopure with a grant provided by the InnoRampUp funding project in 2019, only a month after the company was first registered. Currently InnoRampUp focus on supporting green businesses and companies that can bring the city of Hamburg’s sustainability vision forward, and Lignopure were recognized as such by the institution. The InnoRampUp program allowed the founding team to prove their business concept and develop at speed, so that the business idea was investor-ready by the end of 2020.
2020 – investment of 2.2 million euros
Lignopure’s founders, Joana Gil, Wienke Reynolds and Daniela Arango found that their extensive research, hard work and dedication to their business was beginning to pay off: in 2020 they secured significant investment in the company that allowed them to scale up the technology, grow the team and obtain the certification needed for Lignopure’s flagship product, LignoBase, to reach its target markets.
2021 – Lignopure’s portfolio and team evolve
Maintaining the speed of growth that our company has enjoyed since its conception, in 2021 the Lignopure team welcomed new members to develop innovation and production as well as creating a high-quality marketing and sales strategy.
2021 – INCI complete
In 2021 Lignopure obtained the internationally recognized INCI registration and the product classification number needed for commercial use in the cosmetic sector and the team are currently working on expanding the application portfolio.
2022 – Lignopure’s first production plant
By 2022 Lignopure set up and opened their first production plant in Germany to provide the high-quality products and materials that our customers need. Lignopure is now on the way to achieving its ambitious goal of being a leading company in the production of lignin-based solutions for a multitude of valuable industrial applications.
2nd place 2019
Future Hamburg Award “Start-Up category”
Science 4 Life Venture Cup “Best idea for a business in life science category”
Global Blockchain Challenge “Best solution for SDG 14 in the startup category” in
collaboration with Ballejo Sunscreen
StartGreen Award “Founding concept category”
KfW Award Gründen for the state of Hamburg