New startups join the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator

Amazon research shows investors reward startups with a firm commitment to sustainability – with more than half of UK investors declining a startup investment opportunity in the last 12 months due to concerns about a company’s sustainability credentials. The news comes as eight startups from the UK are unveiled as participants in the second Amazon Sustainability Accelerator.

UK venture capital and private equity investors say startups with strong sustainability credentials can command a 15% valuation premium, demonstrating the opportunity for entrepreneurs who are building more sustainable products and businesses. Startups with a poor sustainability track record could see their valuation reduce by up to 4%.

This research comes as Amazon and EIT Climate-KIC, Europe’s leading climate innovation hub, and WRAP, a leading UK climate action NGO, announce the 16 startups – eight of which are UK-based – joining the second edition of the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator, following more than 1,500 applications.

In the past 12 months, more than three quarters of investors (81%) have requested more details about the sustainability credentials of startups they are investing in, citing personal values and their own organisation’s ESG (Environmental, Sustainability and Governance) commitments as driving factors.

More than half (56%) of investors have declined a startup investment opportunity in the last 12 months due to concerns about a company’s sustainability credentials. When asked about what startups are lacking, investors cite concerns about the sustainability of their logistics throughout the supply chain and responsible waste management processes.

Seven in 10 (70%) also say the volume of current and upcoming ESG regulation is deterring them from investing in startups focused on sustainability. To take the next step, the vast majority of investors (83%) say startups need better support to embed environmentally-sustainable practices, and 83% say that over half of startups they see lack the right technology and know-how to operate more sustainably.

John Boumphrey, UK Country Manager, Amazon “The Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is the ideal launchpad for high-potential startups, and we are proud to be helping a second cohort of founders scale their businesses to deliver innovative technologies and sustainable products”.

The news comes ahead of the start of the second Amazon Sustainability Accelerator which support 16 startups from across the UK and Europe which develop new recycling technologies or create products with reduced impact on the environment.

“Today’s research highlights the clear premium given to businesses with strong sustainability credentials and illustrates how environmental impact is increasingly guiding investment decisions, as investors seek out solutions to address today’s climate and waste challenges,” said John Boumphrey, UK Country Manager. “The Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is the ideal launchpad for high-potential startups, and we are proud to be helping a second cohort of founders scale their businesses to deliver innovative technologies and sustainable products.”

The Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is a 12-week bespoke programme designed to help founders navigate the challenges of starting and scaling a sustainable business. It will include expert-led virtual and in-person workshops, specialised mentorship, a tailored curriculum, and access to a network of like-minded founders. Amazon and EIT Climate-KIC will work in collaboration to guide Accelerator participants through a Climate Impact Forecast where they will assess their business’ climate impact, and develop strategies to improve their environmental footprint.

They will also get a financial boost with a £10,000 equity-free grant and US$25,000 worth of AWS Activate Credits, to help them access cloud computing services; meet and work with Amazon leaders; and access free office space at Amazon’s headquarters in London and Berlin. Participants in the Consumer Products cohort will also receive free access to Amazon Launchpad for one year.

The two cohorts in the Accelerator include startups who are creating more sustainable consumer products and, for the first time this year, startups developing the technology to help businesses recycle products more effectively and efficiently. They were selected by a panel of experts in the venture capital and sustainability communities, and include:

Recycling Technologies

· Descycle (UK) – a metal processing technology company developing novel and low-impact solutions using revolutionary chemistry

· Induo (FR) – a textile recycling technology company turning used textiles into brand new apparel

· Matoha (UK) – material identification devices that help with efficient waste sorting

· Polyperception (BE) – a platform providing real-time, end-to-end waste flow monitoring to plastics and material recovery facilities

· Sorted (UK) – AI-powered solutions to help waste management companies sort their recyclable materials

· Terrawaste (NL) – a chemical recycling technology turning non-recyclable dry, wet and mixed plastic waste into valuable, carbon-negative materials

Consumer Products

· Bo (UK) – an urban e-scooter company with world-first riding technology, building efficient commuter vehicles

· FUNQ (ES) – a syrup-based soft drink which allows anyone to turn tap water into a delicious beverage, reducing the need to ship water

· Infinite Athletica (ES) – a circular sportswear company turning sport waste into garments for the same sport

· Nimbi (UK)– a compostable razor using revolutionary biomaterials

· Milky Plant (UK) – a device that allows people to create their own plant-based milk from home. reducing the need to ship cartons

· Open Funk (DE) – a sustainable, high-performance, compact kitchen mixer for glass jars

· Papair (DE) – recycled paper bubble wrap providing a sustainable packaging alternative to conventional bubble wrap

· Seep (UK) – plastic-free sponges, cloths and other household essentials

· Tangle (UK) – sustainable dog products such as collars, leashes and toys made from upcycled ghost fishing nets

· We Do Solar (DE) – a smart solar set that can be installed in balconies

“Fundraising is hard as a startup and it’s an issue we continue to face. We were drawn to Amazon’s Sustainability Accelerator because it recognises the value of our product and what it can do for the planet,” said Martin Holicky, Co-Founder and CEO, Matoha Instrumentation (pictured above).

Dr. Kirsten Dunlop, Chief Executive Officer, EIT Climate-KIC “Investors increasingly making decisions based on impact data is an important signal to businesses to embrace an active role in societal transformation. By equipping emerging startups with the tools to measure their climate mitigation potential and supporting their capacity to think systemically, we can foster a critical cultural shift in business mindsets, while helping to build the robust data that can direct investments to transformative and scalable climate solutions. At EIT Climate-KIC we are excited to expand the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator, supporting more entrepreneurs to reach their greatest climate impact potential.”

Harriet Lamb, CEO, WRAP “We are proud to support these early-stage sustainability innovators as they develop and scale their businesses. To be able to provide this cohort of start-ups with expertise and guidance to harness their potential is really exciting. We need just such pioneering product development, and new approaches to recycling infrastructure as we seek to shift away from our wasteful world.

WRAP is thrilled to be part of the accelerator seeking to increase investment in recycling technology and the products of the future, helping to drive advancements in the recycling sector, discovering and supporting cutting edge solutions. We need to leverage in the funds in to catapult forward the new companies reducing waste and helping create a circular economy”.

Following the Accelerator, all startups will have the opportunity to pitch their business to an audience of seasoned investors to help them build connections and raise further funding. Last year’s Accelerator startups raised more than £4.5 million, and increased sales on and off Amazon by an average of more than 250% following their participation in the Accelerator.

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