Press Release

Montreal-based CleanTech startup Dispersa to decarbonize chemicals

Dispersa Team April 11, 2021

Early-Stage Montreal-Based Startup Delivering Natural Palm-Free Alternatives to Synthetic Chemicals

Montreal, QC, April 11, 2021 – Chemicals are integrated in our everyday lives. There is a specific type of chemical, called surfactants, found at the heart of hand soaps, cleaning products, cosmetics, and many more applications. The surfactant industry represents a $70B market which continues to grow due to its vitality in consumer-based products and industrial processes. These chemicals however are synthetic and derived from petroleum-based (or palm-based) sources which make them unfavourable towards the environment. With current shifts towards sustainability and advancing a green economy amidst the pandemic, there is a greater need for natural alternatives.

Launched in 2019, Dispersa is an early-stage CleanTech startup on a mission to revitalize the surfactant industry. Through their proprietary BioEterna fermentation process, the company harnesses the power of microbes to deliver palm-free – biodegradable – and cost-effective alternatives to synthetic surfactants on the market. Unlike chemical manufacturing processes which contribute heavily to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Dispersa’s sustainable biosurfactant production platform will allow for significant reduction of GHG output.

Surfactants are a key ingredient in soapy products during the pandemic – enabling the breakdown of the outer lipid layer of certain viruses, such as COVID-19. Given that Dispersa products a natural palm-free alternative to the surfactants currently used in these soaps, the startup has strengthened the scope of their development. Dispersa has been awarded a $120,000 Mitacs COVID-19 grant so far and will be scaling up production this year. The startup hopes to work together with end user soap manufacturers in delivering natural solutions during the pandemic.

Dispersa is an early-stage Montreal-based CleanTech startup that focuses on delivering a platform of palm-free, biodegradable, and cost-effective alternative to synthetic surfactants. The startup is composed of a seven-member team with a female-majority representation. The technology at the heart of Dispersa first sprouted from CEO/Founder, Nivatha Balendra’s, science fair project at the age of 17. Nivatha was the recipient of the 2020 ARISTA award in the Young Entrepreneur category, presented by the Youth Chamber of Commerce of Montreal. She is also one of six national finalists, and sole Quebec representative, in the government-led Women in CleanTech Challenge powered by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) and MaRS Discovery District (MaRSDD).

Since inception in 2019, the startup has secured over $1.5 million in funding from federal & provincial government partners to help accelerate the development of their innovative biosurfactant technology. More recently, Dispersa was awarded the Plug and Play Fall Summit 2020 New Materials & Packaging Award, being one of four start-ups chosen amongst 100+ start-ups globally in the program. Dispersa’s mission is to contribute to a sustainable and circular economy by advancing nature-based solutions one microbe a time.

To learn more about Dispersa and recent developments, please contact Anthony Gentile at (514) 929-8019 or via email at