Toopi Organics, a French biotechnology startup developing plant biostimulants derived from the fermentation of human urine, has been awarded €8.4 million from the EIC Accelerator, Europe’s flagship innovation programme for deeptech startups. Funding includes a €2.4 million non-dilutive grant, as well as €6 million in equity to be invested in 2025. Toopi Organics’ first move will consist in launching 120 agronomic trials in 6 target member states: Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Italy.
Every year, 200 billion litres of urine are flushed away with over 6 trillion litres of drinking water in EU toilets. Concurrently, Europe faces increasingly frequent and severe drought conditions, and remains highly dependent on fertilizer imports (>70% for phosphorus).
“We believe urine is the missing link to close the nutrient loop between consumers and farmers,” said Alexandra Carpentier, CEO of Toopi Organics. “Urine does not contain enough nutrients to feed plants, but it is an excellent medium to cultivate micro-organisms of agronomic interest. These micro-organisms can solubilize soil phosphorus, capture atmospheric nitrogen, or protect crops from drought stress. Upcycling urine is therefore beneficial on many levels: water preservation, fertilizer use and soil quality, as well as carbon footprint and crop productivity.”
In 2023, Toopi Organics collected the urine of almost 2 million EU citizens. The company installed waterless urinals in motorway rest areas, theme parks, and partnered with toilet rental companies to collect urine at music festivals and agricultural events in France, Belgium, Spain, and the Netherlands. The company also launched its first product – the Lactopi Start – in France and Belgium. This urine-based plant biostimulant, aimed at securing early growth and optimizing the uptake of soil phosphorus, is approved for use in organic farming in 5 EU member states. To ramp up production capacity and develop new products, Toopi Organics closed a 16M€ series A in September 2023.
The EIC accelerator funding now opens new perspectives for the company: “Our first full-scale industrial site in France will be up and running in 2025, and a second one will follow in Belgium. With the support of the EIC, we can think bigger. We will explore the needs of both Northern and Southern European countries, test our product on local crops, begin exporting our products, and plan the construction of two additional factories in the EU. Everything will therefore be twice as big: the team, the number of farmers we serve, the volumes of urine to collect, and our impact in terms of water preservation and fertilizer-related CO2 emissions,” added Michael Roes, co-founder and President of Toopi Organics.
In 2023, Toopi Organics launched its first product based on human urine fermentation in France and Belgium: an organic and low-carbon footprint plant biostimulant for the partial replacement of phosphate-based fertilizers (up to 50%). Toopi announced in September 2023 a €16 million Series A aimed at financing the construction of two industrial sites in France and Belgium. Based in Loupiac-de-la-Réole, the company was founded in 2019.
This content was originally published here.