New Plastics Economy Investor Forum – Meeting Point for Innovations
Frankfurt, 7 December 2018 –The first New Plastics Economy Investor Forum welcomed over 120 international investors, innovators and industry representatives. During the course of the event, attendees took part in networking activities and listened to inspiring start-up pitches and discussion panels centred on advancing new business models, designs and technologies that keep plastics in the economy and prevent them from becoming waste.
The Investor Forum has been organized by the circular economy platform Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the innovation accelerator Think Beyond Plastic and the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3), a new independent institution developing and promoting sustainable chemistry solutions worldwide, with its Innovation Hub hosted by DECHEMA.
During the Investor Forum, the ISC3 and Think Beyond Plastic sealed their cooperation by signing a Memorandum of Understanding. The event was the first of its kind organised by the ISC3 Innovation Hub in the frames of its ISC3 Global Start-up Service. The newly launched Service targets innovators along the entire innovation chain and accompanies them on the journey from discovering an innovation to creating marketable value and expanding their business. The service will provide both general and customised support to innovators and promote Sustainable Chemistry entrepreneurs through events such as the Investor Forum. One of the flagship initiatives of the Global Start-up Service, the ISC3 Innovation Challenge, kicks off in early 2019 and will call for innovations in the field of Sustainable Building and Living.
The event started with welcome notes from Daniella Russo, CEO of Think Beyond Plastic, Rob Opsomer, Lead of Systemic Initiatives at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Andreas Förster, Director of the ISC3 Innovation Hub. “Through the Investor Forum, the ISC3 Innovation Hub promotes sustainable chemistry start-ups and helps them grow by connecting them with valuable partners and investors” said Andreas Förster. After an inspiring keynote speech on the transformative power of innovation given by Wendy Schmidt, American philanthropist and president of The Schmidt Family Foundation, expert discussion panels started. International investors, start-ups and leaders from the consumer goods and plastic value chain discussed the critical topic of plastic pollution and the role of innovation in accelerating the transition towards circular economy for plastics. The panels were complemented by pitches of innovators presenting cutting-edge innovations in the plastic space.
A highlight of the event were innovation showcases, during which 32 start-ups introduced their ideas in the areas of new product delivery models, sustainable chemistry and new materials for circular economy in front of top-tier investors.
One of the start-ups, mobius, aims to eliminate plastic waste by converting lignin (a waste product of the paper and biofuel industries) to biodegradable and compostable plastics for use in agriculture, food service packaging and beyond. “At mobius, our vision is to create a world where There’s Wonder in Waste. We’re focused on combining sustainable chemistry, biology, and engineering with a social and environment-centric business model to do our part driving towards a circular economy” said Tony Bova, co-founder and CEO of mobius. “The Investor Forum will allow us to connect with the mission-aligned partners that want to help us craft a truly circular future”.
The event concluded with a 1-on-1 ‘Speed Dating’ at which founders had the chance to personally pitch their ideas to potential partners.