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Plant-based algae textile company Algaeing, led by CEO Renana Krebs, has won top prize at VWS Pathfinder, the world’s first global competition dedicated to female vegan founders. Taking home the winner’s reward package valued at over US$50,000, Krebs says that the startup will continue to accelerate the development of algae-powered sustainable solutions to green the textile industry.
VWS Pathfinder, organised by the Vegan Women Summit (VWS), took place virtually on Saturday (December 5), featuring 46 founders, investors and industry figures hailing from over 20 countries globally. Five finalists were handpicked among over 800 applications from 31 countries, including 60% women of colour entrepreneurs and more than a quarter of Black founders, to showcase their innovative plant-based solutions, ranging from food to fashion.
At Algaeing, we’ve patented a unique algae-based method to create and dye textiles, actively enabling sustainable manufacturing.Renana Krebs, Co-Founder & CEO of Algaeing
Renana Krebs, CEO of Tel Aviv-based Algaeing, a firm developing algae-based sustainable bio-fibres in a 100% closed loop system, took home the winner’s prize. Valued at over US$50,000, it includes a US$10,000 cash reward sponsored by Purple Orange Ventures, US$35,000 worth of branding services from Evolution Bureau and more perks such as a global membership to WeWork office space.
Commenting on the win, Krebs said: “As an entrepreneur and a mother, I am honoured and thrilled that Algaeing has been selected the winner of the VWS Pathfinder Pitch Competition. At Algaeing, we’ve patented a unique algae-based method to create and dye textiles, actively enabling sustainable manufacturing.”
“We believe in being a force for good and are so excited to have the support of VWS Pathfinder so we can continue creating groundbreaking plant-based innovation solutions for a healthy environment for us and future generations,” Krebs added.
The other four finalists that Krebs competed against at the live pitch competition included Whistler-based Aki Kaltenbach, founder and CEO of plant-based seafood brand Save Da Sea Foods; Astrid Prajogo, founder and CEO of Shanghai’s peanut protein chicken startup HaoFood; Courtney Blagrove, co-founder of Whipped Urban Dessert Lab in New York; and Isabella Iglesias-Musachio, co-founder of Berlin-based mycelium alternative meat company Kinoko Labs.
The plant-based revolution is here — and it is being led by women. We are thrilled to announce Renana and Algaeing as our first VWS Pathfinder winner.Jennifer Stojkovic, Founder, VWS
VWS Pathfinder also featured a keynote speech led by Miyoko Schinner, the founder and CEO of famed plant-based dairy brand Miyoko’s Creamery, together with Shama Sukul Lee, CEO of New Zealand-based vegan meat alternative startup Sunfed.
Other industry figures including Matilda Ho of China food tech venture fund Bits x Bites, actress and co-founder of Kinder Beauty Daniella Monet, and Denise Woodward of Partake Foods also participated in the event, alongside top investors and funds like Stray Dog Capital, VegInvest, KBW Ventures and Big Idea Ventures.
Speaking about hosting the world’s first vegan founder pitch competition, Jennifer Stojkovic, founder of VWS, said: “The plant-based revolution is here — and it is being led by women. We are thrilled to announce Renana and Algaeing as our first VWS Pathfinder winner. Algaeing represents an exciting new area of innovation for plant-based founders. We received over 800 applications from 31 countries for this pitch competition and we can certainly say that the future of algae is very bright with pitches from many algae-based products ranging from fabrics to yogurts.”
Lead image courtesy of H&M Foundation / Algalife.