18 October 2023
Ahead of the incoming Global Plastics Treaty in 2024, a radical new investment strategy is launched today to bring to market the next generation of burgeoning AI and new tech companies recycling problematic plastics, and support the global drive for a Circular Economy in plastics.
The Circular Plastics Accelerator is launched via the Accelerating Growth Fund, a subsidiary of international climate action NGO WRAP, in partnership with Archipelago Ventures. The Circular Plastics Accelerator is an LLP with a five-to-ten-year investment horizon, and unique in not only providing financial support to early-growth companies to take them to the next stage in their growth, but in giving critical expert support and guidance necessary to move towards commercialisation and scaling up at speed.
Claire Shrewsbury, Director of Insights and Innovation at WRAP (AGF’s parent company) said, “We are at a critical point in global actions to tackle plastic pollution, and it’s imperative that we spot and support the technologies that will be key to dealing with our plastic problem. New technologies will be crucial in the fight against climate change, and the Circular Plastics Accelerator will help spot these solutions and make them mainstream.”
Lucy Mortimer, Co-Founder of Archipelago Ventures said, “At a time when startups face a challenging economic outlook and urgently need engaged, active investment and support from their investors, the Circular Plastics Accelerator is an important new model that will help emerging ideas flourish and develop the sector into a more attractive proposition for investors. By shining a light on new transformative technologies, the Accelerator will help increase investor confidence in the sector for the benefit our future innovators - and ultimately the sector.”
The Circular Plastics Accelerator will invest in early-growth stage companies developing solutions for a Circular Economy for plastics, helping stimulate innovation and new business models. It will support businesses at or around Series A that are working to commercialise and scale their solutions, and will support a range of innovative technologies focused on the reduction or reuse of plastic, or increasing the amount of plastic that is collected, sorted and recycled.
Investment at Series A allows targeted companies to scale and grow across a variety of sectors, materials, and geographies, and will help catalyse wider investor confidence. The Accelerator will make several investments over the next 12 months, as well as bringing technical and market expertise into the businesses. Key investment objectives include reducing the need for new virgin plastic and the carbon emissions associated with virgin production, as well as driving greater capture of plastics by creating value within waste streams.
An estimated 15%* of all global plastic is used within textile manufacture – making it the third largest use of plastic after packaging and construction - and close to 0% of plastic is recovered and recycled from textiles. The Accelerator will cover the whole lifecycle of a range of plastic materials including those within the textiles and clothing sector where a lack of investment has kept recycling solutions from being commercialised.
Notes to Editor
Notes to Editors
- Both Claire Shrewsbury and Lucy Mortimer are available to discuss the Circular Plastics Accelerator and the importance of the circular economy of plastics.
- Interested companies should contact: [email protected]
- Circular Plastics Accelerator (registered as Circular Plastics – Accelerating Growth LLP) is a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) wholly owned by Accelerating Growth Fund Ltd and supported by Archipelago Ventures Ltd. Accelerating Growth Fund is the sole investor and this structure does not constitute a collective investment scheme. The Accelerator is planned as the first in a series of investment strategies being developed in partnership with Archipelago Ventures, with the intention of supporting increased investment in Circular Economy solutions at an early stage of the growth cycle.
- Accelerating Growth Fund Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of WRAP, established to hold their investments in circular economy businesses and funds. WRAP is a climate action NGO working around the globe to tackle the causes of the climate crisis and give the planet a sustainable future. Its vision is a thriving world in which climate change is no longer a problem and it brings together and work with governments, businesses, and individuals to ensure that the world’s natural resources are used more sustainably.
- Archipelago Ventures Ltd is a Circular Economy specialist providing support to investors focused on investment into new and novel technologies within the Circular Economy, with a particular focus on plastics and textiles. Through its sister company, Archipelago Eco Investors Ltd, it is also developing a new impact investment fund, the Future of Plastics Fund, to support both UK, European and International startups developing IP-led solutions able to avoid plastic entering the economy or bring it back into the circular economy at the end of its useful life.
- Case study: Greyparrot AI is a cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence Waste Recognition System and Analytics Platform into which AGF made an investment in 2022 warehoused on behalf of the Future of Plastics Fund (an impact fund being developed by Archipelago). Greyparrot AI has developed a system to better sort plastics and other waste streams, providing valuable data to industry to drive innovation, and enabling the valorisation of more of the plastic waste stream. Greyparrot’s AI is unique in its ability to identify characteristics such as mass, brand, emissions potential and much more across over 67 material categories at 95%+ accuracy: as precise as a human sorter. The success of the investment into Greyparrot informed the development of the Circular Plastics Accelerator. The company would be happy to discuss their operation.
- *See ODI (2020) Phasing out plastics Available at: https://oceanconservancy.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/odi-et-cp-synthesis-report-sep20-proof02_final2.pdf and International Energy Agency (2018) The future of petrochemicals at: https://www.iea.org/reports/the-future-of-petrochemicals