Uluu has created a plastic-free polymer from seaweed! The company hopes to reduce the amount of plastic waste going into the ocean, by harnessing a biodegradable element coming out of the ocean.
The startup has raised an $8 million seed round led by CSIRO’s VC fund, Mainstream Ventures. Other investment funds on the roster include Alberts, Possible Ventures and Mistletoe.
A number of celebrity investors have all offered their support including WA-born Kevin Parker (front-man for Tame Impala), model Karlie Kloss and chef Neil Perry.
“We’re thrilled to see the expanding group of backers and creatives behind team ULUU.” says Emily Albert, Alberts Executive Director & Head of Impact.
“The ULUU team are true pioneers – producing a material to not only tackle plastic pollution and decouple our polymer economy from fossil fuels but, in sequestering carbon, has the doubled potential to benefit the world. Since we first backed Michael and Julia they have made significant progress and we are excited about what the future holds. Dare we dream of a post-plastic world!”
Uluu was founded in WA by Dr. Julia Reisser and Michael Kingsbury. Its breakthrough technology involves producing a ‘PHA’ polymer through a fermentation process that’s similar to brewing beer.
The company claims the process is carbon negative, as it sequesters more carbon than it produces. But the key benefit is that it’s as durable as plastic, while also being biodegradable.
As an ocean-based crop it requires only seawater and sunlight to grow, and harvesting is sustainable as it involves trimming the tops off the plant, so it can continue to grow.
This means it doesn’t have the same negative externalities as other crop-based solutions that may displace food sources or take over large swathes of land.
The company has had early success in turning the powdered form of the polymer into a transparent and flexible film. The next step is to scale up production, and then partner with manufacturers to identify key commercial applications.
Having global celebrities like Karlie Kloss on their register will help in building relationships in the fashion industry.
Phil Morle, from Main Sequence, will sit on the board.