Kelpi laboratory pic.jpg

30th May 2024

2 minutes reading time

Kelpi lands £4.3m funding to take seaweed packaging to market

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

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

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. 

Kelpi will use the funds to advance manufacturing pilots and gain regulatory approval for their proprietary coatings for paper and card as well as continue a 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.

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. 

“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 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 on plastic pollution.”