Updated: Mar 13
From its inception, Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC) has focused on sustainable chemistry innovation in the pursuit of supporting businesses across southern Ontario with critical investment, strategic advice, and services to advance commercialization and accelerate new sustainable chemistry products and bio-based innovations.
BIC’s work is having positive impacts on the sustainable chemistry and clean tech sectors across the province, giving companies access to two diverse cluster sites with a wider range of expertise and resources. This means more innovative companies are developing products that reduce environmental impacts.
In early 2011, Renix was identified as one of those companies when Executive Director Sandy Marshall first observed their innovative ion exchange technology and recognized that it could be a gamechanger in separation and purification of resources.
Sandy explained, “I had experience with traditional fixed bed ion-exchange technology through my various engineering roles in the polymers and chemicals industry. I recognized immediately that this steady-state process technology had the potential to greatly increase efficiency and open up new applications. I was confident that Renix had a winning technology. BIC enthusiastically invested and then worked closely with Renix to accelerate commercialization and build a viable business.”
Ion exchange is a powerful chemistry-based tool with proven success separating dissolved compounds such as metals, minerals, salts, or contaminants out of liquids like water, acids or bases, or biomass-based ingredients. This type of technology aligned with the BIC mission and vision in numerous ways, making it an attractive fit for critical, strategic investment from BIC in all areas of financial investment, advice, and services to foster organizational growth in a comprehensive way.
Renix began a 3-stage process of a thorough due diligence review through BIC’s Sustainable Chemistry Alliance (SCA) Fund. This review process has been designed to confirm potential investments are an aligned fit for BIC’s mission of working with business developers of clean, green, and sustainable technologies. All potential BIC investments go through this process that has supported 32 companies to date, and Renix did turn out to be one of them.
In the world of resource processing, providers face escalating challenges of overlapping and lower grade sources, sustainability imperatives, and demanding customers. New processes that maximize efficiency and minimize environmental and social impact are essential for the sustainable use of the world’s diminishing resources. Renix’s RenixUIX™ is a transformational chemistry platform that solves emerging challenges, helping companies and their communities thrive together.
One difference maker in what sets BIC apart in the business accelerator space is their comprehensive approach to investing in early-stage companies. Beyond the financial investment are the human resources available to companies that partner with BIC. The BIC team is rich with experience ranging from skilled engineering expertise, operations, and project management experience to sharp business acumen, all of which help to identify areas of opportunity for companies to establish strong roots from which they can scale and thrive.
Renix has done all of the above since the first SCA investment in 2012 alongside the South West Ontario Angel Group (SWOAG), now SWO Angels. This seed funding is what helped Renix jumpstart the commercialization process that they’ve been building onto ever since.
“The SWO Angels and I personally are extremely pleased with the success of Renix and look forward to its future growth and the contributions it will make to our local economy in SW Ontario as well as eventually becoming a global player in the resource processing space. The SWO Angels recognize the critical role BIC played in development of the technology and growth of the company through its financial support as well as technical and business development advice. It was a pleasure working alongside in partnership with the people at BIC,” says Carmen Gicante of SWO Angels.
Collaboration with organizations like SWO Angels who have a vision that is in alignment with BIC’s has been a critical component in investment success. The Renix path was premised on strong collaborations with its funding partners. As such, members of the investment group were actively engaged in providing advice and guidance to Renix in financial, technical, operational and marketing matters. This included member engagement via advisory groups as well as individual members providing expertise and support to staff at Renix on an as needed basis. In addition, both BIC and SWO Angels, respectively, had an active member on the Board of Directors since the initial investment.
Four years after the initial SCA Fund investment was made, BIC and SWO Angels invested again in January 2016. BIC’s investment into Renix didn’t stop here, though. Two years later, with a breakthrough product on its way to the marketplace, it was time for the world to learn more about Renix and the capabilities of their technology. At the core of BIC’s strategy is removing barriers to and support the commercialization of clean, green and sustainable technologies. One pillar of this strategy is providing services to early-stage companies like Renix. In this case, the services came in the form of marketing media and website design support.
It was also time to support the building and validating something more tangible – Renix’s commercial Demonstration Unit.
A third investment from both BIC and SWO Angels in March 2018 helped to do just that. A key tool in engaging with the company’s client-base, the RenixUIX™ Demonstration Unit provides a fully automated, remote-controllable, site-integrated system. It can be packaged and transported around the world, having been deployed to client sites in Canada and Europe. This allows the Renix team to perform live demonstration and analysis at client sites, often side-by-side with conventional alternatives. The RenixUIX™ Demo accelerates adoption of the technology by allowing validation of the technology directly with clients in their production environment.
In 2020/2021, Renix installed and commissioned the first production scale system for use in food ingredient processing, and in January 2022 the company announced a strategic investment with Ireland-based ClonBio Group Ltd, a Market Leader and Large-Scale Producer of Renewable Energy and Animal Nutrition in Europe.
“ClonBio is committed to a vision of dramatic change to methods and sources of production in the agri-food business,” says Christine Haas, founder and President & CEO of Renix. “They have a seasoned team with a very successful commercialization record. We look forward to working together to transform processes and bring sustainable products to market.”
Haas adds, “We’re grateful for the financial, mentoring, and other support provided by BIC over the years; it was instrumental to Renix’s development.”
With the beginning of this new partnership came the exit of BIC’s investment and strategic involvement. Renix’s growth as a ClonBio Group company is a natural next step in their pursuit to scale their business, which BIC applauds.
For more information please contact:
A.J. (Sandy) Marshall Executive Director Bioindustrial Innovation Canada Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 1.519.402.3441
Meg Jackson Marketing and Communications Manager
Bioindustrial Innovation Canada
Tel: 1.226.778.0020 ext. 249
About Renix Inc.
Based in London, Ontario, Renix is a cleantech company inspired to use new technology to purify many of the materials we use every day, from the food we eat to the metals we use to the water we need. Our company offers value recovery through our separation and purification technology, RenixUIX™. With Renix’s advanced applications know-how and patented technology, the company is poised to tackle global resource processing challenges. For more information, please visit the Renix website at www.renix.ca.
About Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC): Creating jobs and economic value sustainably for Canada is the vision driven by Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC). BIC is a not-for-profit business accelerator for sustainable chemistry, who has created a successful foundation to support an emerging hybrid chemistry cluster in Sarnia-Lambton, Ontario. BIC recognizes that the expansion and development of the bioeconomy in Sarnia-Lambton can grow alongside the petrochemical industry. BIC further focuses on critical strategic capital investment in SME’s with compelling business plans where innovation in science and engineering can bring about major advances in sustainable chemistry. Sustainable chemistry is playing an important role in the development of solutions to the impacts of climate change, peak oil, energy security, the need for safe water, and the use of scarce natural resources. The increasing global demand for green and safer products offers the opportunity to create thousands of new jobs for Canadians.
In February 2020, BIC received a contribution of $15 million from the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, to create the Ontario Bioindustrial Innovation Network, a second hybrid chemistry cluster in the St. Lawrence Corridor, in Brockville, to support innovative companies in sustainable chemistry and clean technologies to commercialize, while reducing environmental impacts. BIC’s proven approach for clean, green and sustainable chemistry-based companies offers an ideal platform for the investment necessary to advance hybrid chemistry value chains, providing not only regional economic development and job benefits, but access to global markets.
About FedDev Ontario
For more than 12 years, the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, has worked to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support innovation and growth in Canada’s most populous region. The Agency has delivered impressive results, which can be seen in southern Ontario businesses that are creating innovative technologies, improving their productivity, growing their revenues, and in the economic advancement of communities across the region. Learn more about the impacts the Agency is having in southern Ontario by exploring our pivotal projects.