Estonian startup RAIKU, known for developing innovative packaging filling material from wooden springs, has secured a €5.65 million grant from the European Innovation Council (EIC) and €3.15 million in investments from private sector investors. The company’s primary objective with this new funding is to advance its chemical-free and compostable packaging material technology, establish its first factory, and expand production on a global scale.
Initial funding for RAIKU was provided by investors including Kaamos, Vestman, Little Green Fund, as well as numerous private investors from Estonia and Finland. Founded in 2021 by Karl Pärtel and Rain Randsberg, RAIKU specialises in creating sustainable, protective, and entirely natural packaging materials with an exceptionally low CO2 footprint, aimed at addressing the pressing issue of packaging waste ending up in landfills and nature.
While RAIKU’s product appears simple, its complexity lies in industrial production. The material is highly resource-efficient, requiring minimal water, energy, and no chemicals. The unique spring structure enhances shock absorption, setting it apart from traditional packaging materials such as bubble wrap, paper, and cardboard, which consume substantial resources during production.
RAIKU’s ultimate goal is to significantly reduce the consumption of packaging material resources in Europe. The company’s technology aligns with the European Union’s Green Deal goals and offers a valuable solution to the challenge of packaging waste and its environmental impact.
With the support and investment, RAIKU plans to expand its team, engage in further development collaborations, procure necessary equipment, and establish a factory. The company is actively partnering with organisations like AIRE (artificial intelligence and robotics center) and Taltech Wood Laboratory to accelerate its development.
European Innovation Council grants are highly competitive, with only a small percentage of applicants receiving positive responses in the screening process. RAIKU emphasises the importance of a thorough business analysis and recommends seeking advice from other companies and national contact points.
Karl Pärtel, co-founder of RAIKU, sees the EIC funding as an ideal fit for the company’s current economic climate. The support not only provides financial backing but also serves as a valuable quality mark for customers and potential investors. It includes participation in events, trade fairs, and business opportunities facilitated by the EIC.
“Our competitors are bubble wrap, paper and cardboard, all of which require a huge amount of resources for production – including wood, chemicals, an insane amount of water and energy,” said RAIKU co-founder Karl Pärtel.