The Blue Iodine project, developed by the University of Madeira (UMa) and the Biochemistry Unit of Madeira (UBQ II), a company based in the Autonomous Region of Madeira, especially dedicated to the blue economy, obtained a financing of 100 thousand euros, within the scope of call INNOV-ID, under a venture capital fund managed by Portugal Ventures, in partnership with ANI - Agência Nacional de Inovação, PME Investimentos, Sociedade de Investimento and Startup Portugal.
The financing will help in obtaining national and international patents, in the purchase of industrial equipment, in the creation of two to three jobs, in the development of the product's commercial strategy (image development, namely packaging, labeling, branding in general) and , subsequently, in the transfer to the market of iodine capsules, as a food supplement.
Iodine deficiency is one of the main nutritional deficiencies in the world. The disorders caused by this insufficiency are practically transversal to all individuals, being particularly harmful in children, pregnant and lactating women, and in the elderly.
Thus, UMa and UQB II joined forces and developed bio-extracts of marine macroalgae to combat iodine deficiency in the world population. The research has borne fruit and originated several prototypes of food products, with the incorporation of seaweed, such as spices and others of added value to existing products such as flour, bread and pasta, and, above all, a food supplement, namely extract capsules rich in iodine.
These capsules are a natural extract, which, in addition to iodine, provide a diverse range of nutrients, vitamins and minerals beneficial to human metabolism, namely iron, calcium, magnesium and proteins, among others. The proteins of the marine macroalgae used in this product have a high content of essential amino acids, guaranteeing the stability of iodine during assimilation.
The working team responsible for submitting the application to Portugal Ventures is composed of Eduardo Leite, professor at the Higher School of Technologies and Management at UMa and national coordinator of Poliempreende - university entrepreneurship program, by Miguel Ângelo Carvalho, professor at the Faculty of Science at Vida and coordinator and researcher at ISOPlexis - UMa's Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Technology; by Nuno Nunes, PhD student, and by Sónia Alves, research fellow at ISOPlexis.
This team also includes Danny de Sousa, Maria Miguel Leite and Helena Pinho, respectively, manager, general and administrative coordinator of UBQ II. This team responded to the challenge launched by StartUp Madeira and the Vice-Dean for UMa's area of entrepreneurship.
Portugal Ventures is a public venture capital fund management company dedicated to supporting the development of innovative projects with an impact on national competitiveness and with an internationalization capacity.
To support Portuguese startups and the entrepreneurship ecosystem to overcome the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Company launched three financing instruments, among which the call INNOV-ID stands out. This call aims to promote access to venture capital financing for scientific and technological projects, in the Pre-Seed, Seed or Early-Stage phases, which have developed technology, but which are still in the prototype, proof of concept or in product-market-fit validation. In Madeira, the promotion is guaranteed by Startup Madeira, the official partner of Portugal Ventures.