Aquaculture for all

Seaweed packaging startup lands £4.35 million investment

Biotechnology Climate change Technology & equipment +5 more

Kelpi, a startup that's developing seaweed-based packaging as an alternative to plastic, has recently secured a £4.35 million investment.

A woman examining a sample in a laboratory.
Kelpi's laboratory

The startup is based at the Science Creates incubator in central Bristol, UK © Kelpi

The funding round, announced at the end of May, will be used to expand operations, grow the team and run scale-up pilots on the pathway to commercial launch.

The round, which exceeds the original target of £3, was led by Blackfinch Ventures, with funding from Green Angel Ventures, Kadmos Capital, QantX, Evenlode Foundation and the South West Investment Fund as well as follow-on investment from Bristol Private Equity Club (BPEC), One Planet Capital and private angel investors.

According to Kelpi, the funds will be used to advance manufacturing pilots and gain regulatory approval for its proprietary coatings for paper and card as well as continue a commercial roll-out which has already seen it win R&D contracts with L’Oréal, Diageo and Waitrose.

According to Kelpi its bio-material “is unique in matching or even exceeding the performance of plastic, in particular with a strong water barrier and resistance to greasy contents or acidic foods”.

Kelpi says that it uses only sustainable farmed seaweed, ensuring a positive impact upon the environment as seaweed sequesters huge amounts of carbon dioxide as it grows, deacidifying the ocean and providing a rich environment for fish.

“This landmark investment enables Kelpi to scale up our pioneering work and take to market our world-leading packaging material that is already being chosen by clients,” said Kelpi CEO Neil Morris, in a press release.

“Kelpi can now play a key role in ending our dependence on fossil fuels to create single-use packaging and so eliminating a major source of plastic pollution. We’re delighted to receive this backing from investors like Blackfinch and Green Angel Ventures to allow us to accelerate our pioneering work.”

Dr Reuben Wilcock, head of ventures at Blackfinch, said: “Kelpi stood out to us as a strong combination of world-leading scientific innovation with extensive entrepreneurial experience. Their technology has immense commercial potential and we’re excited to be backing the company to scale up and go to market.”

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