Edinburgh University spin-out powers up with 'milestone' funding injection

A University of Edinburgh spin-out that turns difficult-to-recycle paper waste into a product that boosts green energy production has secured “milestone” funding as part of an ambitious growth plan.

Carbogenics co-founder and CEO Dr Jan Mumme with samples of CreChar at the UK Biochar Research Centre, University of Edinburgh. Picture: Contributed
Carbogenics co-founder and CEO Dr Jan Mumme with samples of CreChar at the UK Biochar Research Centre, University of Edinburgh. Picture: Contributed

Carbogenics, which was launched by co-founders Jan Mumme, Franziska Srocke and Lidia Krzynowek, has raised nearly £500,000 in an investment led by Techstart Ventures.

Techstart is joined in the seed investment round by Old College Capital, the university’s venture fund, as well as private investors.

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The fledgling business takes low-value paper waste and turns it a proprietary carbon-rich porous material, branded CreChar.

Carbogenics co-founders Dr Jan Mumme and Lidia Krzynowek. Picture: Contributed

The company’s first application of its product adds CreChar to the feed material of anaerobic digestion plants. This is said to significantly increases the plant’s output and can reduce feedstock costs.

At the end of its life, the material is returned to the soil to work as fertiliser and lock away carbon for hundreds of years, offering significant carbon savings, Carbogenics added.

The firm said that variants of CreChar targeted at other applications would be launched during the course of 2020. Its fundraising supports the first phase of a growth plan that will see the venture build a pilot production facility in Perthshire, seek to prove its first product in industrial anaerobic digestion plants and expand its team.


Mumme, who is the firm’s chief executive, said: “The seed investment is a major milestone for Carbogenics. We will now accelerate our progress towards launching CreChar on the anaerobic digestion market and we look forward to growing our team and product range over the next year.

“There are billions of tonnes of waste out there that our technology can turn into new sustainable carbon products to create value for our clients and the environment.”

Carbogenics marks the ninth investment from Techstart’s new Scottish fund, which was launched earlier this year.

Robert Richmond, investment director at Techstart Ventures, said: “Carbogenics’ ambition is to be the market leader in carbon upcycling.

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“We’re excited about the scale of this opportunity and have enjoyed working with the Carbogenics team, the university, Edinburgh Innovations, Old College Capital and the other investors at this round.”

Old College Capital is managed by Edinburgh Innovations (EI), the university’s commercialisation service.

George Baxter, chief executive of Edinburgh Innovations, said it was the first time EI had worked alongside Techstart.

“The investment shows our joint confidence that Carbogenics holds great promise for carbon sequestration and green power generation, and is the latest affirmation of the credibility of the innovations pipeline from the University of Edinburgh,” he added.

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