News

January 8, 2021

Next gen plastic startup Xampla raises £6m

Xampla wants to replace single-use plastics with an alternative made entirely from plant proteins


Freya Pratty

2 min read

Underwater pollution:- A discarded plastic carrier bag drifting in a tropical, blue water ocean

British startup Xampla, a spin-out from the University of Cambridge, has raised £6.2m in seed funding to expand its natural plant-protein alternative to plastic. 

The funding, led by Horizon Ventures — the private investment arm of Li Kashing, which has previously backed Zoom, Facebook, Spotify and DeepMind — follows a £2m investment round in April.

Xampla wants to replace microplastics and single-use plastics with an alternative made entirely from plant proteins, meaning the material can decompose naturally. 

Advertisement

This will be used to replace things like flexible packaging films and sachets, as well as the microplastics used in liquids and lotions. 

“Plastic pollution is a global problem which has a viable solution in Xampla’s plant-protein alternative,” said Amelia Armour, partner at Amadeus Capital Partners, who backed the startup alongside Horizon.

There are several startups in Europe working on compostable alternatives to plastics, including Finnish company Sulapac, which makes biodegradable straws, and Vegware, from Scotland, which makes plant-based food packaging. 

The products made by Sulapac and Vegware are cardboard-like in structure, whereas Xampla’s plastic is clear, so designed to replace the flexible films used in things like food packaging. 

Xampla, which is chaired by Jeff Seabright, former chief sustainability officer at Unilever, is the first university spin-out in the UK to secure B Corp accreditation —  a marker that a company abides by certain social and environmental criteria. 

Bart Swanson, from Horizon Ventures, said the firm believes Xampla can provide a replacement for plastic that could be rolled out globally.

“We invest in highly innovative companies in Asia, Europe and the US with the potential to disrupt on a global scale,” Swanson said.

“Xampla’s excellent core science and strong commercial advantages set it apart in the race for a replacement to plastic.” 

Freya Pratty

Freya Pratty is a senior reporter at Sifted. She covers climate tech, writes our weekly Climate Tech newsletter and works on investigations. Follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn