|Philadelphia, PA (February 20, 2018) — ThruPore, the maker of catalysts for the multi-billion dollar chemical industry, has announced the first close of its $1 million seed round. The $540,000 investment was led by Philadelphia-based angel investor group Robin Hood Ventures alongside Delaware Crossing Investor Group (DCIG), marking ThruPore’s first institutional funding round.
The funds have been earmarked to expand ThruPore’s customer acquisition and product manufacturing efforts. In the coming weeks, the company is expected to close the round at up to $1 million, including funding from angel investors in Alabama where the company was formed.
ThruPore Technologies was cofounded in 2012 at the The University of Alabama by CEO Dr. Franchessa Sayler and Professor Martin Bakker. As a graduate student, Sayler was approached by a staff scientist who was dissatisfied with the performance of current catalysts. She saw an opportunity to apply the technology developed in Bakker’s lab to make a better catalyst. Sayler figured out how to control the pore size of a catalyst’s support structures, creating 50 percent more accessible surface area and producing a catalyst that is six times more active than its competitors.
Though Robin Hood is well known for funding early stage technology companies, the opportunity to support chemical process innovations in this stage is unique. Because such innovations can require large capital expenditures, they are often led by corporations rather than startups. Beyond this, ThruPore boasted a patented innovation and a CEO with unrivaled subject matter expertise.
By investing in ThruPore, Robin Hood Ventures will add to a portfolio of women-owned and female-founded businesses such as Lia Diagnostics and tassl.
“I am excited to see that Robin Hood Ventures has taken the initiative to help close the gender gap in funding for women-led tech ventures,” said Sayler.
Robin Hood first connected with Sayler through one of its members, Glen Gaddy, PhD. Currently Gaddy is the Chair of Mid-Atlantic Diamond Ventures, an organization that helps early-stage technology and innovation-based companies acquire funding and build sustainable businesses. As part of Robin Hood’s mentorship, Gaddy will join ThruPore’s Board.
“Universities are a catalyst for exciting ideas, but it can be a challenge getting their innovations into the industry’s hands,” said Gaddy. “Franchessa has not only the expertise in the chemical process industry, but the product to prove it. Robin Hood has been very impressed by what she has accomplished so far, and is excited to see how this investment will help ThruPore grow.”
“A product that reduces cost and improves yield is a real differentiator,” said Antonio Tedesco, a DCIG member since 2008. “ThruPore’s catalyst sets chemical manufacturers apart from their competitors. DCIG is confident in Franchessa’s ability to drive this value. DCIG is excited to be a part of it and pleased to invest with Robin Hood, a trusted partner.” Antonio led DCIG’s due diligence and joins ThruPore’s Board.
ThruPore also has a long lineage of National Science Foundation (NSF) support, dating back to the original innovation at The University of Alabama in 2008. NSF has invested over $1.1 million in ThruPore through the SBIR and I-Corps Programs. “The National Science Foundation has been critical in de-risking our technology by providing funding to develop and scale-up our innovation,” said Sayler. With the capital raised in this round, ThruPore will also be eligible for a potential two-to-one matching grant through the NSF SBIR Phase IIB Program.
About ThruPore Technologies, Inc.
ThruPore Technologies is an innovative materials company focusing its 1st product in the chemical catalyst industry. ThruPore was founded at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 2012 and was launched in 2014 after winning a National Science Foundation (NSF) SBIR Grant. ThruPore operates labs and has manufacturing in Tuscaloosa, AL and has headquarters in New Castle, DE.
About Robin Hood Ventures
Robin Hood Ventures is a group of angel investors, focused on early-stage, high-growth companies in the Greater Philadelphia region. We help entrepreneurs build great companies, providing capital, mentoring, expertise and connections to help companies reach their potential. Robin Hood generally invests up to $1 million over the lifetime of a company, and collaborates with angels, institutions and VCs in our network. We invest as a single entity in businesses we know and understand, in a way that gets deals done. Since 1999, we have invested in over 65 companies in industries including software, medical devices, biotech, internet and financial technology. For more information on Robin Hood Ventures portfolio companies like ThruPore, visit here.
About Delaware Crossing Investor Group (DCIG)
Delaware Crossing Investor Group DCIG is a network of former and current executives and entrepreneurs who provide counsel and capital to early-stage companies. Over the past 13 years, members have backed entrepreneurs and their companies with investment capital and key domain expertise across a wide array of industries. Most of DCIG’s investments are in the Mid-Atlantic Region and often in conjunction with other Angel groups and early stage venture capitalists. DCIG meets monthly alternating between Doylestown, PA and Princeton, NJ.