Breakthrough for an Alternative to Crude Oil & Palm Oil: COLIPI Receives €1.8 Million Seed Funding for Further Development of CO2-Neutral Climate OilTM

January 31, 2024

  • The global annual demand for oil is staggering, with 4400 million tons of fossil oil and 210 million tons of vegetable oil, often sourced from palms. It is increasing, exacerbating the threat of global warming that poses a significant risk to humanity
  • The Hamburg-based startup COLIPI addresses this challenge with a patented Carbon Capturing & Biotransformation technology that will convert CO2 into Climate Oil. This Climate Oil is intended to have broad applications in the cosmetics and other consumer goods industries, as well as in alternative feedstock to Sustainable Aviation Fuels production.
  • COLIPI successfully completes a €1.8 million Seed financing round, led by venture capital firm HTGF along with Innovationsstarter Fonds Hamburg, Nidobirds, and business angel Stefan De Loecker. Grants totaling €4.3 million complement the funding that will be used to enter the market with Climate Oil and scale precision fermentation processes to 10 cubic meters the pilot scale.

Hamburg, January 31, 2024 – The conclusion of the Seed funding round marks a significant success for the Hamburg-based deep-tech startup COLIPI GmbH as it embarks on the year 2024. Investors include the High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF), the Innovationsstarter Fonds Hamburg (IFH), Nidobirds Ventures GmbH, and Stefan De Loecker. With this, COLIPI moves a significant step closer to its vision of “Fermenting Renewable Carbon For Generational Life Quality”.

“Laboratory experiments provide compelling evidence that our gas fermentation process represents a breakthrough in bioprocesses, offering significant potential to produce biomaterials, including oils, on a large scale at competitive prices and with minimal environmental impact. Climate Oil aims to emerge as a carbon-neutral alternative to palm and crude oil, facilitating industries in meeting climate goals more effortlessly by reducing GHG Scope 3 emissions and safeguarding the environment. Our ongoing communication with Stefan De Loecker, HTGF, Innovationsstarter Fonds Hamburg, and Nidobirds, partially dating back to 2021, has been instrumental, and we are thrilled to have identified them as the ideal partners for our upcoming endeavors.”

Maximilian Webers, Co-Founder & CEO of COLIPI

The start-up founded in 2022, a spin-off from the Technical University of Hamburg, supported by the EXIST Research Transfer Program (German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action) and the InnoRampUp Program (IFB Innovationsstarter GmbH), is revolutionizing the way oil is produced.

COLIPI is, in a sense, a brewery for oils. Carbon is sourced or filtered from the air rather than pumped from the ground. CO2-containing industrial emissions and organic by-products, for example, from the agricultural industry, are converted by microorganisms through fermentations into valuable biomaterials like Climate Oil. The oil is more sustainable than crude oil and palm oil, considering the CO2 footprint and its impact on biodiversity. It is enabled by a patented bioprocess, a combination of a specially designed gas fermentation bioreactor and the world’s fastest CO2-consuming bacteria.

Industrial partners offering products such as cosmetics based on Climate Oil will be able to significantly reduce their corporate CO2 footprint. The founders, Philipp Arbeiter, Tyll Utesch, Jonas Heuer, and Maximilian Webers, aim to produce many millions of tons of Climate Oil annually by 2039, avoiding multiples of that amount in CO2 emissions. This will be an active contribution to climate protection and, consequently, humanity’s well-being. The recently completed Seed financing is another milestone for the young company. The capital will be utilized to expand the team, test the market with products manufactured by partners, and scale the technology.

The founders of COLIPI, with their high technical expertise in biotechnology and truly innovative approaches to sustainable solutions for a significant challenge, serve as a prime example of the potential of the bioeconomy.

Dr. Nik Raupp, Senior Investment Manager at HTGF

I look forward to future collaboration with the team at COLIPI. This technology has the potential to replace a mass-produced product at an acceptable price, thereby making a real impact.

Dörte Bunge, Principal at Innovationsstarter Fonds

Technology transfer from universities occurs not only through direct industry collaborations, publications, patents, and graduates but also via startups. Technological solutions, such as those developed by COLIPI, are essential to mitigate climate change. We are pleased that, as a founding university, we have been able to lead a series of successful startups in green technologies through our startup hub, Startup Port @ TUHH. We extend our heartfelt congratulations to COLIPI on this additional funding and are happy to accompany them on their continued journey!

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andreas Timm-Giel, President at TU Hamburg

The innovation from COLIPI can make a significant contribution to climate protection, especially because the economic viability of the technology is attractive. This issue has been close to my heart for years, and the enthusiasm of the COLIPI team is contagious.

Stefan De Loecker

COLIPI aligns perfectly with our value investing philosophy. For us, the quality of the founding team always takes precedence, and this team has convinced us.

Nicholas Keuper, Managing Director at Nidobirds Ventures

from left Erich Müller, Dr. Philipp Arbter, Dr. Tyll Utesch, Jonas Heuer, Maximilian Webers, Maëlle Grimault, Dr. Jan Herzog and Arjun Krishnakumar (Picture: COLIPI)

Hamburg-based COLIPI is developing an industrial biotechnological process that transforms climate-damaging CO2 and carbon-containing industrial waste into Climate Oil. This product serves as a sustainable and climate-neutral alternative to palm oil and crude oil. A patented bioreactor system is the key differentiator. The solution has the potential to become the world’s fastest and, consequently, the most cost-effective CO2-transforming bioprocess. Some of the founders had initial exposure to the technology a decade ago. Since 2021, the project has been supported by EXIST, and in 2022, Philipp Arbter, Tyll Utesch, Jonas Heuer, and Maximilian Webers spun off COLIPI from the Technical University of Hamburg.

Maximilian Webers, Co-founder & CEO
T.:  +49 40 76629 3740 

About Innovationsstarter Fonds Hamburg
The Innovationsstarter Fonds Hamburg GmbH invests venture capital in young, innovative companies to strengthen the startup scene in Hamburg and contribute to the development of promising businesses. The fund provides open participations of up to a maximum of EUR 1.5 million per company. Investors in the fund include the city of Hamburg and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The fund is managed by IFB Innovationsstarter GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Hamburg Investment and Development Bank. For more information, visit

IFB Innovationsstarter GmbH
Dörte Bunge
Besenbinderhof 31, 20097 Hamburg
T.: +49 40 6579805 95

About Nidobirds Ventures
Nidobirds invests in startups in the seed phase. As value investors, we establish long-term relationships with companies that have strong founding teams and differentiated products. Our investments are located in Germany and the United Kingdom.

Nidobirds Ventures GmbH
Sven Kirkerup
Ferdinandstraße 29-33
T.: +49 40 999 997 100

About High-Tech Gründerfonds
The seed investor High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) finances tech start-ups with growth potential and has supported more than 700 start-ups since 2005. With the launch of its fourth fund, HTGF now has about 1.4 billion euros under management. Its team of experienced investment managers and start-up experts support young companies with expertise, entrepreneurial spirit and passion. HTGF’s focus is on high-tech start-ups in the fields of digital tech, industrial tech, life sciences, chemistry and related business areas. To date, external investors have injected about 5 billion euros of capital into the HTGF portfolio via more than 2,000 follow-on financing rounds. In addition, HTGF has already successfully sold shares in more than 170 companies.
Fund investors in this public-private partnership include the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, KfW Capital and 45 companies from a wide range of industries.  

Media contact
Tobias Jacob, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager  
T.: +49 228 82300 121

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