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From indoor farming to renewable energy, these tech startups are working towards saving the world

Startups saving the world

Recently, climate change and sustainability have become a more pervasive issue. The environment we live in has always needed caretaking and consumers have started developing awareness of these issues. Realising this, businesses are not only chasing profit but also trying to accomplish something good.

Though not all businesses work towards harming the earth, their impact does the harm even without their knowledge. As the need for net-zero increases, many startups across industries are envisioning environmentalism as the forefront of their business.

Here, TFN has listed a number of startups that are trying to save the world. These startups have found solutions to global environmental problems including indoor farming to renewable energy.

Image credits: Solivus

Solivus (UK)

Founder/s: Jo Parker-Swift
Founded year: 2017
Total funding: $3.5M

Based in London, solartech pioneer Solivus creates a new way to install solar energy in users’ homes and offices. Its ground-breaking ultra-thin solar film replaces the clunky, rooftop-solar panels. These films wrap around billions of square feet of roof space on offices, warehouses, stadiums and arenas.

Solivus Arc is a redesign of home solar and uses an organic solar film in a fully recyclable structure to provide enough energy to power up homes or cars for two decades. What’s interesting is that this is portable and can be taken wherever you go. Helping the UK realise a net-zero future, Solivus is working with Cotswolds airport to decarbonise its operations by covering the airport’s roof with its solar film.

Late in 2020, Solivus secured over $2.1m in funding through an equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs. The funding surpassed its target by 300%!

Image credits: Oxwash

Oxwash (UK)

Founder/s: Kyle C Grant, Tom Wilton
Founded year: 2018
Total funding: $8M

An on-demand home and commercial laundry service provider, Oxwash revolutionises the laundry industry. Based in Oxford, the startup lets users book the services and schedule the pickup and delivery of the clothes via an app. It combines next-generation cleaning and logistics platforms to address the ever-increasing on-demand hospitality industries.

In November 2021, Oxwash picked up £500k in equity investment round through a public crowdfunder. Of this, £250k came from angel investors including Magnus Rausing, Kal Patel and Vala Capital. The other £250k was pumped by 318 public Crowdcube investors.

Oxford Endovascular
Image credits: Oxford Endovascular

Oxford Endovascular (UK)

Founder/s: Mike Karim
Founded year: 2015
Total funding: $16.5M

Oxford Endovascular, a spin-out from Oxford University works to prevent brain haemorrhage. It does this by developing technology that will prevent the condition. The company has developed OxiFlow, a micro stent that uses Origami engineering. It can be inserted into the brain blood vessels via minimal invasive groin access. It lies across the base of the aneurysm and causes it to shrink and heal.

Oxford Endovascular, a spin-out from Oxford University and is working to prevent brain haemorrhage by developing technology to stop it from happening. The company has developed a micro stent called OxiFlow, which utilises ‘Origami’ engineering. This can be inserted into the brain blood vessels via minimally invasive groin access. It lies across the base of the aneurysm and causes it to shrink and heal.

In April 2021, the medtech secured $10 million in a Series A funding round led by Vulpes Investment Management, existing investors and private individuals.

Image credits: PredictImmune

PredictImmune (UK)

Founder/s: Eoin McKinney, Kenneth Smith, Paul Lyons
Founded year: 2017
Total funding: $24.1M

UK-based Predictimmune is a molecular diagnostics company, which develops pioneering tools for guiding treatment options in immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. It develops prognostic tests to guide treatment options and improve patient outcomes for immune-mediated diseases including inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, and lupus.

In 2019, the spin-out of Cambridge University raised €11 million in Series B funding. The investment was pumped by existing investors Parkwalk and Cambridge Enterprise, and new investors including BGF and Cambridge Innovation Capital.

LettUs Grow
Image credits: LettUs Grow

LettUs Grow (UK)

Founder/s: Ben Crowther, Charlie Guy, Jack Farmer
Founded year: 2015
Total funding: $4.5M

The vertical and indoor farming startup LettUs Grow designs irrigation and control technology for indoor farms, which makes them efficient, sustainable and simple. Its aeroponic technology delivers high yields for vertical and glasshouse farms in an air/mist environment without soil. Also, it uses software and data services to optimise performance for individual plant species.

In late 2020, the Bristol-based agritech startup secured £2.35 million in seed funding. The investment round was led by Longwall Venture Partners LLP.

Image credits: Cheesecake

Cheesecake Energy (UK)

Founder/s: Michael Simpson
Founded year: 2016
Total funding: $1.3M

Nottingham-based Cheesecake Energy is an energy storage startup that works towards lowering the cost of long-duration energy storage by using renewable energy sources such as wind and solar into reliable, on-demand power. It develops a green energy storage technology known as eTanker that stores electricity in the form of compressed air and heat. It can be deployed in a modular, containerised package, thereby making it suitable for a range of terrains and applications.

Cheesecake Energy raised £1 million in seed funding in a round led by Imperial College Innovation Fund alongside prominent investors including Perivoli Innovations, former Jaguar Chairman, Sir John Egan and other angel investors.

Blue Tap
Image credits: Blue Tap

Blue Tap (UK)

Founder/s: Francesca O’Hanlon
Founded year: 2017
Total funding: NA

A 3D printing startup spun out from Cambridge University, Blue Tap develops affordable water treatment technology for households, schools, health centres and communities in low-income and emerging economies. It works with the mission to make tap water drinkable everywhere.

Image credits: Birdie

Birdie (UK)

Founder/s: Max Parmentier, Abeed Mohamed, Gwen Le Calvez, Rajiv Tanna
Founded year: 2017
Total funding: $22M

Headquartered in London, Birdie is a caretech startup, which reinvents elderly care at home. The startup’s mission is to enable older people to live vibrant and happy lives as they age. Its intuitive app-based solution is the operating system for the care community to deliver more coordinated, personalised and preventative care. It is committed to care for their team, society and planet.

In May last year, Birdie pocketed £8.2 million funding in a round led by Index Ventures, an international VC firm along with Kamet Ventures.

Battery Resources
Image credits: Battery Resources

Battery Resources (US)

Founder/s: Eric Gratz, Diran Apelian
Founded year: 2015
Total funding: $90M

Based on technology from Professor Wang’s group at WPI, Battery Resourcers, is committed to changing the dynamics for processing end-of-life lithium-ion batteries. Battery Resourcers is revolutionising the production of lithium-ion battery materials by establishing a clean and sustainable supply chain using recycled feedstock.

In September last year, the startup from Worcester, Massachusetts picked up $70 million from new investor Hitachi Ventures and existing investors Orbia Ventures, Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion Ventures, Doral Energy, At One Ventures, TDK Ventures and Trumpf Ventures.

Image credits: Circulor

Circulor (UK)

Founder/s: Veera Johnsonand Douglas Johnson-Poensgen
Founded year: 2017
Total funding: $19.5M

London startup Circulor is a provider of supply chain traceability and dynamic CO2 tracking using blockchain and AI. Its pioneer customers include car manufacturers, EV battery manufacturers, commodity traders, and miners who collectively want to pioneer more effective approaches to responsible sourcing.

In June last year, Circulor closed $14 million in Series A funding to accelerate the company’s rapid growth. The funds came from Westly Group, Salesforce Ventures, BHP Ventures, Future Positive Capital, 24Haymarket and Sky Ocean Ventures alongside existing investors.

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