Seed financing round for female-founded circular bioeconomy startup traceless materials
May 3, 2021
The funding lays the foundation to bring an advanced natural material to market that solves the global plastic pollution.
The Hamburg-based, female-founded startup traceless materials has developed a holistically sustainable alternative for plastics and bioplastics that is fully compostable in nature, contributing to solve the global plastic pollution. The circular bioeconomy startup was now able to raise a lower million Euro amount in its first financing round from Planet A, HTGF and b.value AG just seven months after the company’s founding.
85% of all plastics ever produced are still in landfills or swim in our oceans. As they are not compostable, they lead to serious environmental and marine pollution. A declared goal of the EU Plastic Strategy is for all plastic packaging to be recyclable or reusable by 2030 – but for products that easily end up in the environment, we need a material solution that is fully and quickly degradable in nature. traceless materials developed an innovative technology that for the first time allows to use agricultural industry by-products to produce storage-stable films, rigid materials and coatings that provide the beneficial properties of plastics while being fully compostable in the environment.
While bio-based, traceless materials do not compete with food production, thereby preventing land-use-change. In contrast to conventional (bio)plastics, they do not need any harmful additives, solvents or chemicals and have up to 87% lower CO2 emissions. Being neither chemically modified nor synthetically polymerized, traceless materials are expected not to fall under the EU Plastics Directive. Already competitive in quality to conventional plastics and bioplastics, on industrial production scale the materials will also be price competitive to conventional plastics, therefore making traceless a solution for people all over the world, in all demographics and income levels.
The investment will be used to hire traceless’ core team as well as to build the company’s pilot plant, scaling production from laboratory scale to producing sufficient material to bring first pilots to market in early 2022. Companies from the consumer-facing-goods industry as well as packaging and plastic-conversion companies show great interest in the materials. This comes as legislative pressure and customer demand as well as the urgency to stop negative impact on the environment create a unique situation for traceless to disrupt the plastic market.
Based on Planet A’s scientific impact assessment, we are confident that traceless’ unique solution has the potential to make a significant contribution to solving global plastic pollution and disrupt the plastic market.
Tobias Seikel, Co-founder and Partner at Planet A
Dr. Anne Lamp, inventor of the traceless technology and Johanna Baare founded the company together in September of 2020.
We are particularly proud of the support from experienced venture capital investors that share our mission to maximize our positive impact as well as understand the deep tech solution behind it. On the way to scale this technology to industrial production level, their diverse experience will help us to advance quickly. We are planning to bring first products made of traceless materials to market together with our customers in early 2022.
Dr. Anne Lamp & Johanna Baare, Co-Founders of traceless
We evaluated diverse companies developing sustainable plastic alternatives, but none of them have been characterized by this outstanding combination of such a powerful management team, a superior technology with pronounced competitive advantages, a predominant material performance and a holistic sustainability. Therefore, we are glad to support the traceless team with our technical and operational expertise to foster the development of the company and its products.
Cornelia Bähr, Investment Manager at b.value
The close contacts between b.value and the German biotech industry open new doors for the team. For instance, their network and portfolio companies include some of the most innovative German deep tech startups as well as experienced bioeconomy experts. Additionally, High-Tech Gründerfonds has multiple bulk and specialty chemicals enterprises working with polymers and thermoplastic composites invested in their funds. In addition to industry contacts and expertise, the consortium is able to provide substantial follow-on investments in later rounds.
In the field of sustainable plastic alternative materials, we see great interest from the plastics converting industry as well as from consumer-facing goods companies. From our point of view, traceless has the potential to become a technology and market leader in new materials for example for packaging.
Johannes Weber, Investment Manager at HTGF
About traceless materials
traceless materials GmbH is a female-founded circular bioeconomy start-up founded in 2020, offering a holistically sustainable alternative to conventional (bio)plastics solving global plastic pollution. For the first time, agricultural industry by-products are used to produce storage-stable films, rigid materials and coatings that provide the beneficial properties of plastics while being compostable in the environment. While bio-based, traceless materials don’t compete with food production, preventing land-use-change. In contrast to conventional (bio)plastics, they don’t need any harmful additives, solvents or chemicals and have up to 87% lower CO2 emissions. Being neither chemically modified nor synthetically polymerized, traceless materials are expected not to fall under the EU Plastics Directive. Already competitive in quality to conventional plastics and bioplastics, on industrial production scale the materials will also be price competitive to conventional plastics. Be part of the solution – not pollution!
Johanna Baare, COO & Co-Founder
About Planet A
Founded in 2020, Planet A is an impact investment fund targeting for-profit start-ups that have a measurable positive impact on our planet while building scalable businesses. Planet A partners with European early-stage companies having the potential to scale globally. The start-ups have to contribute to significant positive change in at least one of four key areas: climate mitigation, waste reduction, resource savings and/or biodiversity protection. And following the EU taxonomy, Planet A invests in the following six sectors: Energy & Heat; Ag-Tech, Food & Forestry; Manufacturing & Industry; Transportation & Mobility; Buildings & Smart Cities; Water, Sewage & Waste. For its portfolio companies, Planet A offers support with impact measurement (scientific impact assessment, forecasting and visualization), the Planet A Network (a diverse network of experienced German and European entrepreneurs) as well as being a long-term funding partner (early stage investments with interest in follow-on rounds). Doing all this, Planet A’s vision is to make impact investment the new normal.
About b.value AG
As a seed venture capital provider for biotechnology, life sciences and chemistry, b.value AG invests in start-ups in the pre-seed and seed stage in the D-A-CH region. b.value fosters the development of its portfolio companies with its unique “Company Building” approach relying on a high level of technological expertise and operational experience. Thus, the b.value team is characterized by an exceptional scientific and technological specialization. The management team has more than 40 years of experience in the setting up, the developing technology companies, and the commercialization of biotechnology innovations. In addition, b.value AG benefits from the accumulated experience of its supervisory board in various positions in business, R&D and industry as well as a broad network of scientists, executives, investors, policy makers and industrial and academic thought leaders. We believe that our specialization and deep understanding of the industry is the key to success. b.value is expanding its portfolio (currently seven highly attractive investments) continuously.
About High-Tech Gründerfonds
The seed investor High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) finances technology start-ups with growth potential. With a volume of around 900 million euros spread across three funds and an international partner network, HTGF has supported more than 600 start-ups since 2005. Its team of experienced investment managers and start-up experts supports the young companies with know-how, entrepreneurial spirit and passion. The focus is on high-tech start-ups in the fields of digital tech, industrial tech, life sciences, chemicals and related business areas. Nearly €3 billion in capital has been invested in the HTGF portfolio by external investors in more than 1,700 follow-on financing rounds to date. In addition, the fund has already successfully sold shares in more than 120 companies.
Investors in the public-private partnership include the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, KfW Capital, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, as well as ALTANA, BASF, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, B.Braun, Robert Bosch, BÜFA, CEWE, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Post DHL, Dräger, Drillisch AG, EVONIK, EWE AG, FOND OF, Haniel, Hettich, Knauf, Körber, LANXESS, media + more venture Beteiligungs GmbH & Co. KG, PHOENIX CONTACT, QIAGEN, RWE Generation SE, SAP, Schufa, Schwarz Group, STIHL, Thüga, Vector Informatik, WACKER and Wilh. Werhahn KG.
High-Tech Gründerfonds Management GmbH
T: +49 228 – 82300 – 188
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