2 min read
10 Aug 2023

Industry: biotech

At Syntalgae, we create biotechnology from chemical compounds of microalgae that can substitute oil-based products and help to usher in a more eco-friendly and health-focused economy.

Syntalgae’s founders, Anja Dullius and Giseli Buffon, became friends during their doctoral studies. Their mutual academic background in biotechnology and sustainability drove their interest in the potential uses of microalgae. After two years of laborious work, they amassed a collection of 250 different microalgae strains, which now serve as a library for developing countless products. To optimize the production of microalgae in their lab, they also created their own algae-growth technology with a photobioreactor, AI and a mixotrophic process. This allows Syntalgae to keep a sustainable production line with minimal interference to its local ecosystem and to maintain the company’s commitment to algae as not only an alternative to oil-based products but also an eco-friendly substitute that is free from antibiotics, fungicides and insecticides, and is also CO2-neutral and water saving. 

— Photo by Aladus Marketing e Design

The starting point for investment was a challenging period for Syntalgae, as the seed phase required the most significant investment to fully undergo scientific trials and technological development. This was solved through a combination of local angel investors, university partnerships and governmental incentives. Today, Syntalgae works with companies across the business spectrum in Brazil, helping to substitute oil-based elements in the production of medication, food supplements, cosmetics and agribusiness, and continuing to expand its product use across fields. Together with a local university in Lajeado, it has developed production further. Investments from health insurance company Unimed allowed Syntalgae to expand nationally. It hopes to continue production internationally, having already received significant interest at last year’s Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal.

— Photo by Aladus Marketing e Design

Anja Dullius and Giseli Buffon met while getting their doctorates in microbiology and plant physiology respectively. Motivated by what they saw as a political crisis in environmental protection, they turned their research to the potential of microalgae. With their great passion for their local community, they decided to base their business in Lajeado, creating a team of local scientists and investors to help give back to the community that first hosted them as researchers. As a woman-led and -founded STEM startup, they are very conscious of the impact they can have by inspiring other fellow academics to change the business landscape in Brazil. They feel a deep-rooted sense of purpose to developing a more sustainable production alternative to many different products and to highlighting the importance of funding young women in STEM as innovators.

— Photo by Aladus Marketing e Design


  • Incorporating with a tax number in 2020 and receiving angel investment to build up the laboratory.  
  • Winning the Pro_move Lajeado, a prize for standout startups in the region.
  • Receiving investments from the private health insurance company Unimed in 2021, allowing Syntalgae to fulfill a pilot plan by 2024. 
  • Receiving funding from government entities like the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development.