JeNaCell specializes in biotechnology-derived nanocellulose and possesses a unique manufacturing process in this area. With seed financing from High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) and the Thuringian Technology, Innovation and Research Foundation (STIFT) in 2012, the spin-off from Friedrich Schiller University in Jena was able to build an automated production facility for high performance biomaterials as well as implement a quality management program pursuant to DIN EN ISO 13485.
Now, JeNaCell has closed a series‑A financing round with the renowned industrial corporation Evonik Industries, bm|t (beteiligungsmanagement thüringen GmbH) and Sparkasse Jena. Existing investors HTGF and STIFT also participated in the financing round. The capital will be used for the expansion of production capacity at its Jena site and the intensification of marketing and sales activities.
“We have observed the company with interest for some time,” said Udo Werner, Managing Director of bm|t in Erfurt. “We were convinced not only by the biomaterial technology and the group of investors, but also by the representation of women in the management team. JeNaCell is part of the successful business development environment here in Thuringia.”
Dr. Nadine Hessler, founder and CEO of JeNaCell, said of the transaction, “We are glad to have a strong Thuringian partner in bm|t that will accompany us in the growth phase of our business development. In addition, we have gained a strategic investor in Evonik; their extensive expertise in the development and operations of biotech production facilities and support us with market access will be invaluable.”
Due to its exceptional properties, JeNaCell’s biomaterial is excellent not only for the treatment of slow-healing wounds and burns but also in spa products; additionally, the material shows great promise in technical applications.
“JeNaCell is great strategic fit Evonik. Their technology complements our expertise in both the fields of biotechnology and transport systems for medical agents,” said Dr. Bernhard Mohr, Head of Venture Capital at Evonik, of the partnership.
“We believe that JeNaCell, with its innovative platform technology and know-how particularly in the field of interactive wound management, is a compelling partner for established suppliers in the market. This is clearly underscored by the participation of Evonik, who are simultaneously invested in High-Tech Gründerfonds,” said Dr. Martin Pfister, Investment Manager at High-Tech Gründerfonds.
About Jena Cell GmbH
JeNaCell, founded in 2012, is a specialist in the development and manufacture of biotechnology-derived nanocellulose (BNC) with a defined shape and controllable structure design. A spin-off from Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, JeNaCell offers a globally unique continuous-production method for highly effective biomaterials for use in innovative and pioneering applications in the fields of medicine and cosmetics. Their comprehensive expertise with adapting the material properties during biosynthesis enables customer-specific product development.
Dr. Antje Mark, Marketing Manager
Tel.: +49 3641 508 459
Evonik, the creative industrial corporation from Germany, is one of the world’s leading specialty chemicals companies. Profitable growth and a sustained increase in corporate value are the focus of the corporate strategy. Evonik’s activities are focused on key megatrends in health, nutrition, resource efficiency and globalization. Evonik benefits from its innovative prowess and integrated technology platforms. Evonik is active in over 100 countries with more than 33,000 employees; the corporation generated revenue of around €12.9 billion and an operating profit (adjusted EBITDA) of about €1.9 billion in 2014.
Silke Linneweber, Corporate Press
Tel.: +49 201 17 73 389
Erfurt-based bm|t (beteiligungsmanagement thüringen GmbH) is a subsidiary of the Thuringia Development Bank and the premier partner for investments in Thuringia. bm|t currently administers six funds with a total volume of around €250 million. bm|t invests in innovative companies from all high-yield sectors and in all stages of a company’s life cycle, from start-up to IPO or MBO.
Katrin Uschmann, Investment Manager
Tel.: +49 361 74 47 610
About High-Tech Gründerfonds
High-Tech Gründerfonds invests in young, high potential high-tech start-ups. The seed financing provided is designed to enable start-ups to take an idea through prototyping and to market launch. Typically, High-Tech Gründerfonds invests up to €500,000 in the seed stage, with the potential for up to a total of €2 million per portfolio company in follow-on financing. Investors in this public/private partnership include the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy, the KfW Banking Group, and strategic corporate investors including ALTANA, BASF, Bayer, B. Braun, Robert Bosch, CEWE, Daimler, Deutsche Post DHL, Deutsche Telekom, Evonik, Lanxess, media + more venture Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, METRO, Qiagen, RWE Innogy, SAP, Tengelmann and Carl Zeiss. High-Tech Gründerfonds has about €576 million under management in two funds (€272 million HTGF I, €304 million HTGF II).
Via the Thuringian Network for the Formation of Innovative Companies (ThEx Innovativ), STIFT supports newly established technology-oriented and innovative companies. Furthermore, STIFT acts as side investor in the early-phase financing of high-tech companies. The concept’s degree of innovation and entrepreneurial potential are deciding factors for an investment from STIFT, without any focus on specific business areas. STIFT investments focus on the region of Thuringia.
About Sparkasse Jena
For more than 185 years, Sparkasse Jena-Saale-Holzland has been a strong and reliable partner in the Jena and Saale-Holzland region. Thanks to its large branch network, consultants are available for their clients in the immediate vicinity, allowing important decisions to be made quickly and locally. Sparkasse offers everything in one place, from checking accounts to real estate brokerage, and construction finance to commercial and corporate lending. As a public institution, Sparkasse is committed to the common good and economic development of the Jena-Saale-Holzland region and people who live there.