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School of Engineering

Tufts alums secure funding

Thursday, April 1, 2021
ZwitterCo, a wastewater treatment solutions provider with Tufts roots, received $5.9 million in financing to scale its innovative filtration membrane.
Tufts alumni CEO Alex Rappaport
Alex Rappaport, E17, MSIM18, examines membranes in his lab at the Greentown Labs incubator. Photo: Alonso Nichols/Tufts University

ZwitterCo, an innovative membrane technologies provider first launched by students at Tufts University, recently announced financing of $5.9 million to scale its water treatment and advanced separations solutions. The funding round was led by Mann+Hummel Corporate Ventures in collaboration with R-Cubed Capital Partners, with additional support from Burnt Island Ventures and individual investors.

The ZwitterCo team utilizes a zwitterionic polymer invented by Ayse Asatekin, Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and the Steve and Kristen Remondi Fellow, to create fouling- or clog-resistant membranes that filter wastewater that is rich with fats, oils, proteins, and other hard-to-remove organic compounds. The innovative polymer allows the membrane to be effective in bioprocessing, agricultural waste treatment, food and beverage, and other industries where standard membranes quickly degrade.

The new funding will support the company as it completes testing in key markets, expands commercial production, and continues to support its clients.

ZwitterCo was spun out of students’ experiences in the Tufts Departments of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering, Tufts Gordon Institute’s MS in Innovation and Management program, and the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center. The company is led by Tufts alumni CEO Alex Rappaport, E17, EG18, CTO Christopher Drover, EG18, and CFO Greg Fisichelli, A89, working with fellow Jumbos like chemical engineer Trang Ngo, E19, and supply chain coordinator Abigail Klotz, E20. Asatekin and alum Steve Remondi, E87, are among the company’s advisors and board members.

The ZwitterCo team tied for first place in the 2018 Tufts $100k New Ventures Competition and has previously received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, and the National Science Foundation, among others.

Read ZwitterCo’s announcement here, and read more about ZwitterCo’s early days at Tufts