MyBlueCity is going digital | Interview #9 | Lusalgae
Lusalgae – Beauty products from the sea, and more!
Ana Ferreira (BioMarine Community Manager)
Lusalgae is a marine biotechnology company based in Portugal, that is exploring the potential of seaweed through its production and integration of extracts in cosmetics. Based on sustainable approaches, the company is now advancing for exciting projects and we talked to Tiago Morais, one of the company founders, to know all about them!
After extensive research…Lusalgae was born!
Tiago Morais and João Cotas were both biotechnology students working in the potential of macroalgae and their extracts, under the supervision of Dr. Leonel Pereira at the Marine Algae Laboratory (MARE UC), Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra (Portugal), when they realized the results obtained could have practical outputs. With this, and as Tiago explained “we were challenged by our supervisor, who has a keen eye for applied sciences (bridging science to a more practical application), to create a business case”. After participating in entrepreneurial programmes to test the business case and have the chance to build a more solid business model, Lusalgae was finally created to provide biotechnology solutions based on seaweeds.
Sealgae® – showing the potential of seaweeds
Sealgae® was the first brand created by Lusalgae, precisely to showcase the potential of seaweeds and their extracts. The brand commercializes, although still in a small and local scale, products directed at the Thalassotherapy market (just in case you’re wondering, thalassotherapy uses the sea and its resources for a myriad of therapies to improve overall health, tackle skin problems, etc). Among such products, you can find exfoliating gels, corporal masks, bath salts and hydrating cream, all enriched with seaweed extracts.
Seaweed production is now one of the main focus for Lusalgae
Faced with a growing need for raw material (seaweeds), the company decided to focus on their production. As Tiago explained “after talking with people from different industries, we realized that the actual need relies on getting enough raw material. This is, in fact, the main bottleneck”. Now, the team is using the acquired experience in the lab to produce seaweeds (mainly Ulva sp. and Codium sp.) to launch a pilot station with an in-shore facility to increase the scale of production. Tiago explained: “The pilot station will allow us to start providing these seaweeds to the market in progressively growing quantities”. In the future, they aim to produce considerable quantities and extend the seaweed portfolio, introducing Fucus sp.
2018 was a crucial year to re-position Lusalgae
During 2018, Lusalgae got the opportunity to participate in the BlueBio Value acceleration programme and on the BioMarine Business Convention, which gave the company a unique opportunity to perfect their business model and have access to experienced professionals for feedback and support. Tiago shares his experience: “We got the chance to better position Lusalgae in the market and define the message we want to convey. In the BioMarine Business Convention we were able to apply the knowledge acquired and talk with professionals from different industries about their needs and potential partnerships. This was crucial for the company to adjust his offer and focus”.
The plans for 2019 and beyond
During 2019, Lusalgae aims to implement their pilot station and optimize production at a larger scale. Once established, the team aims to “provide seaweeds to the market between 2019 and 2020, starting with local restaurants (for example), and grow from there”. The next step for the company will be increasing their production capacity and species portfolio.
Want to know more info about Lusalgae?
Click HERE or contact the team through the BioMarine Community!
Follow Lusalgae on Linkedin!