Unleashing Dormant Fermentation Capacity

January 2, 2024
5 min read
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What is biocapacity and why is it generating a massive problem to solve within the Synthetic Biology industry?

  • How broad is the impact of fermentation on current biomanufacturing?
  • Do VCs help support their Founders in finding additional talent?

Today, we're featuring a deeper dive into the world of fermentation with the Co-Founder and CTO of Izote Biosciences, Victor Reyes-Umaña. Victor shared his journey from meeting his Co-Founder Sam at a café to developing the cutting-edge anaerobic fermentation technology that Izote is known for today. If you're curious about the future of bioprocessing and sustainable fermentation, or if any of the above questions piqued your curiosity, keep reading and watch his video below!

"Lastly, the 3rd wave of this new movement are the catalyzers. These include infrastructure and computational tools needed to optimize production through better recipes, and the facilities and the know-how needed to scale up at competitive costs."

Kira Noodleman - Partner, Bee Partners

Read more about this industry's anticipated challenges in our Synthetic Biology Insight Paper or more about the mission and vision of Izote on their website.


Victor describes how his network brought him and his Co-Founder Sam together to start Izote, a company focused on anaerobic fermentation using sustainable practices. He shares his passion for fermentation and synthetic biology, highlighting the benefits of anaerobic fermentation over traditional aerobic fermentation.

Izote's technology allows for simpler and faster scale-up processes, aiming to lead the way in fermentation and biomanufacturing. Izote plans to expand its technology's application and utilize dormant capacity in the U.S. Ethanol industry, ultimately reimagining and revolutionizing the production of various products through anaerobic fermentation.

Victor Reyes-Umaña: Sustainable Production

From Café Meetup to Co-Founders

Coffee & Croissants

In a bustling cafe in San Francisco, a serendipitous encounter between Victor and Sam sparked the beginning of an extraordinary journey that would ultimately lead to the founding of Izote. Their passion for innovation and biotechnology laid the foundation for the development of a groundbreaking approach to bioprocess and fermentation. As we delve into the world of Izote, we unravel the fascinating story of how their pioneering anaerobic fermentation technology is reshaping the landscape of sustainable product production.

Upon their morning meeting, Victor shared his extensive background in technology and bioprocess development with Sam. After a series of conversations, they joined forces and embarked on a mission to revolutionize bioprocess through Izote. Victor's journey, which began with a fascination with fermentation back in 2010, has culminated in the creation of Izote–a testament to his dedication and passion for this field. His academic pursuits at UC Berkeley and profound interest in understanding different metabolisms set the stage for the emergence of the groundbreaking Izote technology.

The Fascinating World of Anaerobic Fermentation

Izote's core innovation lies in its utilization of anaerobic fermentation, a game-changing approach that diverges from conventional aerobic fermentation. Victor explains that anaerobic fermentation marks a significant departure from traditional methods, as it eliminates the challenges associated with oxygen-related parameters during the scale-up process. By harnessing alternative metabolisms and applying them in bioprocess and fermentation, Izote has unleashed the potential for sustainable and eco-friendly production of various products.

Unlocking the Potential of Synthetic Biology

One of the pivotal aspects of Izote's innovation is its emphasis on synthetic biology, enabling the engineering of organisms to produce a wide array of products using biological methods. This approach revolutionizes the production of flavorings, colorings, and food dyes, offering a sustainable alternative to conventional practices. By leveraging synthetic biology, Izote is reshaping the landscape of product development, ushering in a new era of environmentally conscious and ethically sourced ingredients.

Did you know that fermentation deals not only with kombucha or beer but also with our medicines, alternative proteins, and other small molecules? It's vital to a diverse plethora of consumer products!

Scale-Up Simplified: Anaerobic Fermentation's Advantages

Victor delineates the advantages of anaerobic fermentation, particularly in the context of scaling up production. Unlike aerobic fermentation, where meticulous control of oxygen-related parameters is imperative, anaerobic fermentation streamlines the scaling process. The seamless translation of processes from pilot-scale to commercial-scale signifies a monumental breakthrough, simplifying and accelerating the scale-up process. This newfound efficiency holds the promise of transforming the landscape of biomanufacturing, enabling Izote to lead the charge in redefining fermentation practices.

Looking ahead, Izote's vision extends beyond incremental progress; it aims to reshape the very fabric of bioprocess and fermentation on a global scale. By deploying anaerobic fermentation technology in diverse applications and industries, Izote seeks to emerge as a frontrunner in transforming fermentation practices. The ambition to unlock dormant fermentation capacity in the United States and propel the ethanol industry into a new era reflects Izote's unwavering commitment to sustainable and scalable biomanufacturing.

Conclusion: Charting the Path Forward

The captivating journey of Izote is a testament to the transformative power of innovation and perseverance. Through the convergence of cutting-edge technology, synthetic biology, and the boundless potential of anaerobic fermentation, Izote is carving a path toward a sustainable and efficient future for bioprocess and fermentation. As we witness the remarkable strides made by Izote, it becomes evident that their pioneering spirit is poised to drive a paradigm shift in the realm of biomanufacturing, promising a future where sustainable, eco-friendly production is not just a possibility but a reality.

3 Key Takeaways:

  • Potential Partnerships Can Come From Anywhere: Victor met his Co-Founder at a café in San Francisco after being recommended by Kira here at Bee Partners. Never underestimate the strength of a quality network, and actively nurture both yours and/or the business's.
  • Building More Biocapacity Is Not The Long-Term Solution: Anaerobic fermentation, particularly the type utilized by Izote, simplifies and speeds up the scaling-up process compared to traditional aerobic fermentation due to reduced consideration of oxygen-related parameters. With the extreme capital costs to build bioreactors, the industry needs to become more efficient with what it has.
  • "What You See" Is Not Always "What You Get": Most of us naturally assume that fermentation primarily deals with fermented products, but it is so much more than that. Never be afraid to ask one question deeper because that is where Izote found its venture-backable problem to solve.

Victor and Sam came through our fourth fund, and since the investment, the team has continued to grow its service and personnel. Click here to learn more about the Company and Team, or here if you are a Founder innovating in any of our three vectors.

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