Plastic waste has been an issue that endangers marine life for years. Therefore, the British media company Sky launched the Sky Ocean Ventures in 2018, supporting a handful of startups and innovators in building up solutions that solve ocean pollution. Last week, they announced to award the winners/ runner-ups of the Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge an aggregate amount of 1.3 million USD (~1.1 million EUR).
Marine life is in danger
According to a recent study by Morgan Stanley, the packaging sector alone takes up 40% of the total demand for plastic in Europe. The overwhelming amount of plastic materials that the packaging sector produces not only generates more plastic waste, but also leads to serious pollution issues that jeopardize the marine ecosystem. Surfers Against Sewage, a British charity working on marine pollution, estimates that there are nearly 270,000 tonnes of plastic floating in the ocean, while approximately 100,000 mammals and turtles are killed because of the plastic wastes every year.
Investments in material startups
The Challenge is part of National Geographic’s initiative, where startups and innovators pitched ideas around Circular Economy, Design, and Data Visualization. “Sky Ocean Ventures and National Geographic launched this competition to find diverse and transformational businesses. Each of the teams has the dedication and commitment to help tackle the ocean plastics crisis. We’re looking forward to working with them to develop their products and get them to market.” says Jamie Rowles, the Head of investments at Sky Ocean Ventures.
The winners of the pitch competition are — Algramo, a Chilean startup provides consumer brands with a low-cost and reusable packaging solution; Qwarzo, a French startup develops a paper technology that can be used as a substitute for plastic; and also #PerpetualPlastic, a German startup generates data sculptures by using flip-flops they collected in Bali. The three winners shared 300,000 USD cash prize to further develop their projects. In addition to that, Sky Ocean Ventures invested another 1M USD (~900,000 EUR) in Algramo and EcoFlexy, the runner-up in the design category that develops a biomaterial for replacing plastic.