Kelpi Secures £4.3M in Oversubscribed Round to Replace Plastic with Seaweed Coating in Food & Cosmetics Packaging

Bristol-based sustainable packaging innovator Kelpi has secured £4.3 million in investment to scale and commercialize its seaweed-based packaging, which can replace single-use fossil fuel plastics in packaging for food, drinks, and personal care products.

The round was led by Blackfinch Ventures, with participation from Green Angel Ventures, Kadmos Partners, QantX, Evenlode Foundation, and the South West Investment Fund. Follow-on investors, including Bristol Private Equity Club (BPEC), One Planet Capital, and private angel investors, backed the material innovator in this round. The company initially sought £3 million and surpassed that target by raising £4.3 million, marking a significant milestone for Kelpi.

“Kelpi can now play a key role in ending our dependence on fossil fuels”  

The funds will be used to advance manufacturing and gain regulatory approval for the bio-based coatings. Additionally, the company will continue its commercial rollout, having already secured partnerships with industry leaders like L’Oréal, Diageo, and Waitrose’s supplier for tropical fresh fruit, Blue Skies. The plan is to launch into the market by 2025. Kelpi is a certified B Corp.

Neil Morris, Kelpi’s CEO, shared, “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. 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.”

Kelpi's team looking at a product in the lab
© Kelpi

Better than plastic

With over three years of R&D, Kelpi has developed a “unique” water, grease, and acidic food-resistant coating that enables paper and board to replace plastic packaging in the F&B and personal care sectors. Moreover, Kelpi says its packaging is recyclable, industrial, and home-compostable, breaking down entirely in months. The coating is said to even exceed the performance of plastic.

Kelpi’s seaweed-based technology has the potential to revolutionize the packaging industry, reducing reliance on harmful plastic and promoting a more environmentally friendly future. To make its flagship product, the company utilizes only renewable feedstock, sourcing seaweed from sustainable farms, contributing to a positive environmental impact. Seaweed sequesters carbon dioxide and promotes healthy ocean ecosystems by deacidifying the ocean and providing a rich environment for fish.

In the latest sustainable developments, the Swedish startup Saveggy raised €1.76 million to commercialize a plant-based alternative to plastic packaging designed to preserve the shelf life of vegetables and fruits and prevent food waste.

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.”

Cam Ross, CEO of Green Angel Ventures, said, “We’ve been consistently impressed with Kelpi’s team and technology, and their pioneering approach to developing biopolymers from renewable feedstocks like seaweed. At scale, the Kelpi approach will play a vital role in reducing fossil fuel dependency, addressing climate change, and impacting plastic pollution.”

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