Startup Uses Genetically-Engineered Algae To Create Pigments, Protein And More

Biomedical engineer Elliot Roth’s long-time entrepreneurial passion has been to find environmentally friendly ways to address people’s basic needs. Five years ago, that mission led him to found Spira, an LA-based startup that uses an algae called spirulina to make carbon-negative raw materials. Of spirulina, Roth says, “It’s like manna.”

“We’re trying to create materials that help people and the planet,” he says.

The company also just won first prize in Tata Consultancy Service’s TCS Pitch for Purpose competition.

The company’s first products are pigments, with protein for food in the works. The goal: to create a decentralized, localized way of producing raw materials that don’t use petrochemicals

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