A 25-year-old’s BRL 250 million wager on collagen

A 25-year-old’s BRL 250 million wager on collagen

André Albuquerque is the main investor in Acquion, a collagen and gelatine industry that has just been launched in Poços de Caldas (MG)

The time and turn of collagen. After the BRL 6.4 billion M&A that marked the purchase of Gelnex from Santa Catarina by the American Darling Ingredients and the BRL 400 million investment by JBS to debut in this market, a 25-year-old Brazilian also wants to compete in this giant market, with an eye on the growing demand from the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and food industries.

André Albuquerque, an entrepreneur who started his career with a window and window cleaning business in the United States and returned to Brazil to found Suplax (an industry specializing in the production of food supplements for third parties), has just launched Acquion.

Built in Poços de Caldas, in the south of Minas Gerais, Acquion is a gelatine and collagen factory – two by-products of leather – which has already consumed investments of approximately R$ 40 million, but this is just the beginning. The new company will invest R$ 250 million in the coming years to become a national and (if everything allows) international reference.

“If there are more than 12 collagen and gelatine industries in the world, that’s a lot. The big companies dominate and have no competition, but they have left the market unattended. They are no longer looking for innovation”, said the founder of Acquion. His ambition is to shake up the industry, changing the quality level of collagen sold on the market.

“We built the factory in a year and we will have the best collagen in terms of protein and purity. All collagens on the market are close to 90%, but ours reaches the market with 99% purity and 98% protein”, assured Albuquerque.

The resources for the construction of the factory came from Albuquerque’s own capital and part of financing. In addition to the young entrepreneur, Acquion has two other partners: Rudye Santos, an experienced chemist in the area (he worked with collagen at Rousselot, a Darling brand); and Guilherme Alves, who was the financial director of the BlueFit gym network for the last six years.

While Rudye will handle the industrial and R&D part, Alves will handle the commercial and financial areas until Acquion sets a CEO. Albuquerque will not have executive roles because he continues to lead the business of Suplax, which is an independent operation of the new company.

In five years, Acquion wants to reach 15% of the world market for collagen and gelatin. The factory starts a production of 3 thousand tons per year, but the forecast is to reach 18 thousand tons per year by 2023 and 30 thousand tons in 2025.

If it manages to make the difference in the technology that promises more purity and protein, Acquion will be ready for bigger flights next year, when it hopes to raise funds with investors to expand internationally, which may include factories in Europe or the United States. .

Source: Value Pipeline

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