Why we invested: Uluu

Post on 05 October 2023 by Christian Teichmann, Edwin Mak, Luisa Frank

BPI invests in Australian alternative materials company Uluu  

Uluu, the innovative Australian startup, has a mission rooted in sustainability: to harness the power of ocean-grown seaweed and revolutionize the plastics industry. They’re on a quest to combat plastic pollution (>95% of ever produced fossil-based plastics are still on earth), address climate change, and rejuvenate our ailing oceans. The core of their approach lies in creating an alternative material to traditional plastic that not only matches its functionality but surpasses it while delivering superior sustainability credentials.

At Burda Principal Investments (BPI), our mission has always been to identify and partner with forward-thinking startups that are ready to make a significant positive impact on the world. In the summer of 2023, we were able to close our first investment in Australia and with Uluu, we have found an innovative startup leading the charge against the global plastic crisis.

With their approach of using naturally grown seaweed and technological advancements to produce a comparable, scalable, and sustainable alternative to traditional plastics, Uluu is making a relevant impact towards a better planet.

The innovation is rooted in materials science where Uluu’s polhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) represent a significant breakthrough. Their production process, akin to brewing beer, is both innovative and clean, making use of seaweed sugars, sea water, and saltwater microbes. In a world where sustainable solutions are often complicated by environmental trade-offs, Uluu’s approach stands out as truly groundbreaking.

Building on strong leadership with a vision and under the guidance of Dr. Julia Reisser and Michael Kingsbury, Uluu has a team that perfectly blends scientific expertise with commercial acumen. Dr. Reisser’s research on microplastic pollution and her insights into eco-friendly alternatives provide a strong foundation for Uluu’s mission. On the other hand, Kingsbury’s commercial background ensures the company is positioned for market success.

A large market potential based on the diverse application use-cases given the product’s high versatility is one of the most exciting prospects of Uluu’s PHAs. From fashion to furniture and packaging, the potential applications are vast. With major brands increasingly valuing sustainable alternatives, Uluu is positioned to cater to a rapidly growing demand.

At BPI, we have always been enthusiastic about startups that blend technological innovation with sustainable practices. Uluu’s vision seamlessly aligns with our portfolio of companies working towards a better planet.

Investing in Uluu was more than just a business decision for us, it represents an alignment of values, vision, and faith in a future where our oceans are free from the blight of non-biodegradable plastics. We are proud to be part of Uluu’s journey and eagerly anticipate the transformative changes they will bring to industries and ecosystems alike.

Together with Uluu’s co-founders, Julia and Michael, and fellow investors like Main Sequence, Possible Ventures, Alberts, and Mistletoe, we aspire to weave a world where sustainability isn’t just an option but a standard. Our commitment to supporting Uluu’s mission reflects our dedication to championing a greener future for all.