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Debut Raises $34 Million in Series B Funding Led by L'Oréal

Published June 1, 2023
Published June 1, 2023

Debut, a vertically integrated synthetic biology company spearheading the creation of innovative and novel high-performing active ingredients in beauty, raised $34 million in a Series B funding round led by BOLD, the venture capital fund of L'Oréal.

WHO: Debut is an unconventional innovation company that aims to set a new standard for the next generation of beauty. With breakthrough biotechnology, a team of expert scientists work to develop novel bioactive skincare ingredients at unprecedented rates through their scalable creation model. Debut is the only player in the biotech space with full vertical integration capabilities incorporating ingredient discovery, finished clinically backed scalable ingredients, and brands on shelf, all delivered at unprecedented speed.

Debut's proprietary Bio2Consumer platform spans ingredient discovery, cell-free biofermentation, formulation, clinical trials, and brand creation. The platform utilizes cell-free and advanced fermentation approaches such as continuous biomanufacturing to overcome the limitations of traditional methods, dramatically reducing the need for space, water, and expensive and unsustainable inputs.

In addition to producing rare, high-value, and novel compounds, Debut's technology also improves traditional ingredient manufacturing. The platform comprises a proprietary database of over 3.8 million pre-clinical data points to find and discover new ingredients that address beauty consumer needs. By overcoming the limitations of cell-based fermentation, Debut can produce high-value ingredients rapidly and more sustainably.

WHY: The partnership with BOLD, L'Oréal's venture capital fund, will enable Debut to bring novel bioactive cosmetic ingredients and products to consumers worldwide. As part of the strategic partnership with L'Oréal's venture capital fund BOLD, Debut will develop a wide variety of novel ingredients and beauty and personal care products using its proprietary cell-free and biotechnology model, with a view to accelerating the commercialization of this technology across the entire beauty industry.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: "Debut exists to set a new standard in beauty by developing novel active ingredients that herald a new era with regard to performance, sustainability, scalability and cost, and we are thrilled to be partnering with L'Oréal's BOLD, the beauty world leader that is as invested in this industry's future as we are," said Debut founder and CEO Joshua Britton, PhD. "Every day, we are leveraging our team's groundbreaking technology, scientific research and unbridled creativity to lead the biological revolution that will transform beauty as we know it. We harness synthetic biology to create novel and higher-performing ingredients that are not accessible by other means in order to advance product benefits and target unmet consumer needs." 

"Debut addresses one of the beauty world's fundamental challenges: driving innovation without the resource-intensity and environmental impact that comes with relying on traditional manufacturing alone," said Barbara Lavernos, Deputy Chief Executive Officer in charge of Research, Innovation and Technology at L'Oréal. "Cell-free biomanufacturing is not science fiction: it is here. We could not be more excited to be the first beauty leader to invest in Debut and partner with them to create stand-out active beauty innovations while protecting the planet's resources."

"What science allows us to do is understand how nature makes it, and then translate that to an industrially scalable system to provide the exact same molecules that are found in trace amounts in nature using synthetic biology," said Britton.


  • Debut raised a $34 million Series B funding round led by L'Oréal's BOLD venture capital fund with participation from Fine Structure Ventures, Material Impact, GS Futures, Cavallo Ventures, Cultivian Sandbox Ventures, ACVC Partners, and others. 
  • The company closed a $22.6 million Series A in August 2021, led by Material Impact who helped scale its ingredient development model, establish its in-house brand incubator, and grow into its 26,000-square-foot facility in San Diego.

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