31 May 24

Kelpi lands £4.3m to take seaweed packaging to market


Funds will enable the scale-up and roll-out of water-resistant coating for paper and card to replace fossil fuel plastics in packaging for food, drink and toiletries.

Sustainable packaging innovator and Science Creates’ member Kelpi has secured more than £4.3 million in investment to take its pioneering biomaterial technology to market. The recently announced funding round will enable the company to deploy seaweed-based coatings in recyclable paper and card packaging for the food and drink and cosmetics and personal care sectors, replacing single-use fossil fuel plastics that take hundreds of years to decompose.

Kelpi’s 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. The company uses only renewable feedstocks, sourcing seaweed farmed sustainably, 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.

Kelpi, who in 2023 secured £3m in seed funding led by SCVC—Science Creates’ VC arm—to conduct manufacturing pilots for seaweed-based coating for paper and card, will use the funds to continue advancing manufacturing pilots and gain regulatory approval for their proprietary coatings. The new round will also allow them to continue commercial roll-out which has already seen them win R&D contracts with global leaders like L’Oréal, Diageo and UK supermarket Waitrose together with their tropical fresh fruit supplier Blue Skies.

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. “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 Catherine Fletcher, SCVC Principal, commented: “Kelpi’s product offer is being recognised by key industry players, validating the value of their underlying technology–which always stood out to us as having a distinct potential to solve a very complex commercial challenge using deep tech. We are excited to see them take their technology to the next round of investment–and more crucially a step closer to delivering solutions to the single-use plastics problem into people’s hands.”

Kelpi’s funding round was led by Blackfinch Ventures, with funding from Green Angel Ventures, Kadmos Partners, 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. Having initially sought £3m in equity investment, raising £4.35m (US $5.5m) constitutes a significant success for the Bristol-based firm.

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Science Creates Ventures LLP “trading as SCVC” (FRN: 933134) is an Appointed Representative of Kin Capital Partners LLP “KCP”, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN: 656789).