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Biotech Beauty Firm Arcaea Launches with a $78 Million Series A

November 03, 2021 BeautyMatter
November 03, 2021
Michael Longmire via Unsplash

A new start-up at the intersection of biotech and beauty, Arcaea launched after a two-year incubation period within biotech company Ginkgo Bioworks with $78 million in Series A funding.

WHO: Arcaea was launched on the Ginkgo Bioworks platform with the mission to build a new foundation for the beauty industry through expressive biology. Arcaea sees biology as a valuable creative tool for self-expression. The company will grow new ingredients and product experiences for beauty through technology such as DNA sequencing, biological engineering, fermentation and more. By culturing industry-leading, safe, and sustainable ingredients, Arcaea intends to create a new supply chain for the industry that does not rely on petrochemicals or harvesting and depleting natural resources. By harnessing the power of biology, Arcaea is poised to produce highly sustainable products that can deliver new functionality and performance across skincare, bodycare, haircare, and aesthetics.

Ginkgo is building a platform to enable customers to program cells as easily as we can program computers. The company’s platform is enabling biotechnology applications across diverse markets, from food and agriculture to industrial chemicals to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo has also actively supported several COVID-19 response efforts, including K-12 pooled testing, vaccine manufacturing optimization, and therapeutics discovery.

WHY: This Series A financing round brings together a mix of expertise across the value chain of the industry. It will enable Arcaea to initiate multiple technical programs across key categories in beauty to develop a pipeline of ingredients and brand launches and create a world of previously unimaginable possibilities in beauty, such as: a fragrance that no one on earth has ever smelled before; proteins that can memorize hair styles; contouring through skincare and not just makeup; and biological filters that protect skin from the elements.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: "Through Arcaea, we see biology as a creative tool that will drive the next generation of products and innovation. We can now access many more molecules on earth ethically and sustainably, and therefore can unlock unlimited and previously unimagined possibilities for beauty," said Jasmina Aganovic, Arcaea founder and CEO. "By bringing together new advances in technology with designers, brand builders, and leaders from every point of the supply chain, we can spark a change across the entire ecosystem to create an industry that is reflective of the future we want to see for the industry."

“One of the most impactful things we can do at Ginkgo is support entrepreneurs and help them accelerate their timelines to make incredible things happen with biology," said Jason Kelly, co-founder and CEO of Ginkgo Bioworks. "We are thrilled to see Arcaea launch and begin its journey to deliver creative solutions to the beauty industry through biology.”

DETAILS:

  • Arcaea closed a $78 million Series A with strategic investment from leading beauty companies including Chanel and Givaudan, with additional financial backing from Wittington Ventures, Viking Global Investors, and Cascade Investment LLC.
  • Arcaea was incubated on the Ginkgo Bioworks platform and formed under the name Kalo Ingredients LLC.
  • Jasmina Aganovic, a chemical and biological engineering graduate from MIT, will lead Arcaea as CEO. She brings more than a decade of industry experience translating innovation in beauty through brands and products at various beauty companies, including Fresh and Living Proof and the innovative microbiome beauty company Mother Dirt.
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