UK packaging materials innovator will use latest investment to commercialise its seaweed-based paper-pack coating

Kelpi laboratory pic

Kelpi’s seaweed coating has been in development for three years

Bristol-based sustainable packaging start-up Kelp Industries Ltd (Kelpi) has announced a £4.3 million investment that will enable the firm to scale up production of its proprietary seaweed-based paper-packaging coating.

This latest round of funding will be used to recruit more scientists, engineers and commercial staff to conduct large-scale pilots of Kelpi’s seaweed-based coating, which has been in lab-development for the last three years.

The investment will also help Kelpi build on its packaging partnerships with global cosmetic firms like L’Oréal, as well as UK food and drink businesses such as supermarket Waitrose and its tropical fresh fruit supplier Blue Skies.

Paper and card packaging coated with Kelpi’s seaweed-based polymer can entirely replace plastic packaging, the firm says, and the resulting packaging is recyclable, compostable and marine-safe.

The biomaterial is unique in matching, or even exceeding, the performance of plastic packaging thanks to its strong water barrier and resistance to greasy contents or acidic foods, the firm explains.

“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.”

Kelpi’s funding round was led by Blackfinch Ventures, with funding from Green Angel Ventures, Kadmos Capital, 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,” the Bristol-based firm said.