Stellenbosch University spin-out behind award-winning nanofibre skincare product

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A Stellenbosch University spin-out company is behind a nanofibre cosmetics product which was selected by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Best Inventions of 2019.

The Stellenbosch Nanofiber Company has revealed that it is working with Taiki USA, a global leader in skincare and makeup tools, to bring US company Artis’s Artis Phantom Cleansing Silks, which was last year selected by Time Magazine as one of the 100 Best Inventions of 2019, to market.

Artis — which has developed the product and has been selling it since last year, mainly online — describes it as the “Face Wash of the Future” and is one of only five beauty inventions that made the Time magazine list.

The product transforms a traditional three-step process — oil cleansing, foam cleansing, and gentle exfoliation — into one graceful, meditative and effective beauty ritual.

The Stellenbosch Nanofiber Company is working with two US companies to produce a nanofibre cosmetics product

The “silks” or small oval patches utilise a unique combination of biodegradable, dissolving nanofibre textiles and ingredients like jojoba oil and vitamin E.

Since the product doesn’t activate until it touches water, there is no need for excess preservatives to stabilise the ingredients as is the case in conventional cleansing gel, cream or foam.

Set up in 2011

The Stellenbosch Nanofiber Company was set up in 2011 as a spin-out from Stellenbosch University’s technology transfer and commercialisation office Innovus.

The company has developed various cutting-edge medical nanofibre products, ranging from wound dressings that help burn wounds heal faster, to resorbable tissue scaffolds for generating replacement parts for the human eye.

According to the company’s website Stellenbosch Nanofiber Company CEO Eugene Smit has a PhD in polymer science and is a co-inventor on 29 granted patents and that he was a co-founder of three previous tech startups.

The company’s chairman is listed as Capitec bank chairman and co-founder Michiel Le Roux.

Smit told Ventureburn in a call yesterday that he and the university established the company to commercialise the nanofibre technology that he had developed for his PhD.

The company’s shareholders include himself, two managers at the company, Stellenbosch University and PSG Alpha (which is part of the PSG Group), he said.

He declined to disclose how much in funding the company had netted since inception and what share each of the shareholders has in the company.



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