Cambridge trio join Tech Nation for Net Zero programme
Tech Nation’s new Net Zero 2.0 cohort for the East of England features three Cambridge companies.
Xampla, Better Origin and Unicorn Technologies are joined by Peterborough-based Solar Polar for the second cohort of the Tech Nation growth programme, which supports the UK’s most promising climate tech companies.
Xampla makes a replacement for specific microplastics and single-use film packaging, targeting three launch applications with a patented, next generation material: plant protein. The company’s success is based on engineered the world’s first natural alternative material that acts like plastic but is made from plant proteins. The next-generation material has similar properties to synthetic plastics but breaks down without harming the environment – as food for sea creatures.
Xampla founders Marc Rodríguez Garcia and Simon Hombersley said: “It’s really exciting to be part of such a dynamic and driven programme, which aligns fantastically with our drive here at Xampla to help address environmental challenges through the effective scaling of breakthrough technology.”
Better Origin develops and operates insect bioconversion solutions that allow farmers and food producers to turn food and agricultural waste into valuable nutrients through insects. Launched in 2018 by Fotis Fotiadisand fellow University of Cambridge graduate Miha Pipan, Better Origin aims to tackle the twin challenges of food security and food waste simultaneously, cutting carbon emissions along the way. By democratising access to insect farming, agriculture’s environmental footprint gets lighter
Better Origin founders Fotis Fotiadis and Miha Pipan said: “We are thrilled to be part of the Tech Nation Net Zero 2.0 cohort. Coming together with like-minded start-ups to fight climate change is exactly what the industry needs. We can’t wait to see what comes out of such an experience.”
Unicorn Biotechnologies, whose seed fundraising round has just commenced, provides a clear path to take cellular agriculture products to industrial scales, helping drive the transition to animal-free agriculture. Its fully automated manufacturing platform enables cellular agriculture producers to seamlessly scale products from the lab bench to supermarket shelves. The tem of four is headquartered in Cambridge, with labs in Sheffield.
Unicorn Biotechnologies’ founders Jack Reid and Adam Glen said: “Creating and scaling tangibly impactful sustainability solutions is one of the greatest challenges, and opportunities, of our time. Joining the Net Zero programme is the ideal next step on our journey to accelerate our growth, scale our solutions and to drive the transition to animal-free agriculture.”
Jack, a Texan who initially arrived in Cambridge for an MPhil in the History and Philosophy of Science, added: “It’s next-generation bio-manufacturing: we’ve gone back to basics, developing fit-for-purpose animal cells at industrial scale. We’re aiming to be the Foxconn of cellular agriculture.”
A Net Zero spokesperson said the programme offers “unparalleled access to long-term investment opportunities, education, talent, press opportunities and a platform with which to influence green policies and create the optimum conditions for growth”.
Sammy Fry, Net Zero lead at Tech Nation, said: “With Europe recording its highest ever temperature on record this summer, and the latest IPCC report published last month, there isn’t a more urgent time to act on decarbonising our atmosphere.
“Every successful Net Zero scaleup is another leap closer to decarbonising the world. I’m proud to say that in the run-up to COP26, our pioneering Net Zero growth programme gives these ambitious, high-growth climate tech scaleups the access they need to investors, insights, education, networks, and practical support, enabling the UK to lead our transition to a green economy as quickly as possible.”
The Net Zero programme runs for six months.