Onboarding interview with Ínclita Seaweed Solutions


1. Can you tell us something about your company?

Ínclita Seaweed Solutions (ISS) is a marine biotechnology company born from science and founded in 2018. ISS specializes in developing, producing, and commercializing functional ingredients based on seaweed extracts. ISS's commitment is to sustainability: from working closely with seaweed farmers and harvesters, ensuring a sustainably harvested or produced seaweed biomass, to addressing the cosmetics, nutraceutical, pet care, and food & beverage industries' innovation and sustainability challenges and opportunities.

2. Catarina, the CEO, was first in microalgae, why did you change to seaweeds?

Seaweeds are now at a point where microalgae were 15 or 20 years ago. Microalgae laid the foundation, and now seaweeds are gaining prominence. Portugal, being traditional in seaweed use, influenced her transition. ISS's CEO, Catarina Guedes, has extensive experience in microalgae (PhD and 25 years of experience working in Biotechnology Extraction R&D) but saw the untapped potential in seaweeds. This shift allowed her to merge her expertise with a deep cultural heritage, leading to innovative developments in seaweed biotechnology.

3. What are your main projects at the moment? And in which markets are you most active?

ISS's main projects currently focus on developing bioactive ingredients for cosmetics and nutraceuticals. ISS is also building its own bio-refinery pilot unit to scale production. Additionally, ISS is involved in several co-developed projects in nutraceuticals for humans and animals, supported by European financial initiatives.

ISS is primarily active in the cosmetics and nutraceutical markets. Within these sectors, ISS's can provide scientifically and externally validated seaweed-based ingredients. ISS is also exploring the pet food and functional food and beverage markets.

5. Where does Ínclita Seaweed Solutions stand for?

Ínclita Seaweed Solutions stands for innovation, sustainability, and scientific integrity. ISS harnesses the power of seaweed to create natural solutions for everyday products, ensuring traceability and environmental responsibility throughout its processes. ISS's goal is to make seaweed a staple in various industries by demonstrating its unique benefits and sustainability.

6. What are your biggest achievements and challenges?

ISS's biggest achievement is contributing to the global recognition of seaweed as a valuable resource. ISS has established itself as seaweed experts and has been acknowledged by peers and industry leaders. ISS's challenge lies in differentiating seaweed ingredients from other existing ingredients (plant extracts) and overcoming market resistance due to a lack of knowledge about the potential of seaweed.

7. What are your applications? Which ones are doing well?

ISS collaborates with manufacturers in cosmetics, nutraceuticals, pet care, and functional food and beverages, offering both tailor-made solutions and ready-made bioactive ingredients from its proprietary portfolio. For example, their cosmetic ingredients have powerful properties such as antioxidant capacity, anti-pigmentation, hydration, firmness and even UVA protection. ISS's cosmetic ingredients have gained commercial success due to the relatively straightforward regulatory pathway. ISS is also seeing promising developments in the nutraceutical sector for both human and animal use.

8. What does Ínclita hope to find at North Sea Farmers? Why do you want to join North Sea Farmers?

ISS joined North Sea Farmers to connect with seaweed producers across (Northern) Europe, understand their production processes, and explore the potential of cultivated biomass. Cultivated biomass offers more control and consistency in bioactive compounds compared to wild-harvested seaweed. ISS aims to establish robust partnerships with northern European seaweed farmers to meet its growing biomass needs and to collaborate on development projects within the value chain. ISS is open to collaborate with other North Sea Farmers to join development projects in several markets.

9. What can other North Sea Farmers contact ISS about?

Other North Sea Farmers can contact ISS for collaboration on seaweed extracts, bio-refinery concepts, and upcycling and recycling initiatives. ISS offers expertise in extraction, valorization of products or biomass, and market entry strategies for high premium products. ISS's goal is to create mutually beneficial partnerships that advance the seaweed industry.

10. What are your ambitions/dreams for seaweed?

ISS's ambition is to set a standard for sustainable seaweed-based ingredients that contribute to a more sustainable world. ISS aims to become a reference point for eco-friendly ingredients, driving innovation and environmental stewardship in multiple industries. By leveraging the full potential of seaweed, ISS hopes to play a significant role in addressing global challenges related to sustainability and resource management.