What are some of the exciting new opportunities and trends in the growth of the waste, recycling and circular economy sector? How is Green Angel Ventures working to invest in and support this burgeoning sector and what can we expect to see from the sector in the future?
These are some of the questions we posed to Green Angel Ventures’ Investment Manager and long-standing team member, Magali Christensen, in a recent interview which you can watch at the link below:
Investors recognise the potential for growth and returns in the sector
As highlighted in a recent article by Business Green on a recent report published by consulting firm BDO, the UK’s circular economy is attracting increasing levels of investment, with an estimated £1.3bn ($1.8bn) invested in the sector in 2021. As a result, investors are becoming increasingly interested in circular economy entrepreneurs and businesses, which are seen as having the potential to drive innovation and create new value from waste.
This also follows two other significant developments within the sector over the last 12 months, including Google’s recent launch of its start-up accelerator for the circular economy, and HSBC Asset Management’s launch of its circular economy investment fund.
Investors are recognising the powerful growth opportunities in the sector and the potential for continued investment.
Investing in the transition
It is this opportunity for growth in the ongoing transition to a more circular economy that Green Angel Ventures has recognised and continues to have as a central pillar of its portfolio investment strategy in recent years.
As Green Angel Ventures Investment Manager, Magali Christensen commented:
The waste and recycling sector has been attracting more and more investment and attention in recent years from investors who are recognising that addressing the waste problem not only is an environmental emergency as we know, it also has significant financial returns.
Magali discussed how the sector has remained unchanged for a very long time and how it is now primed for innovation and disruption, adding:
Green Angel Ventures is looking for clever solutions and innovations that can be the one step change to how an industry operates, including the processes, technologies and platforms that can transform operations and supply chains downstream.
Several of Green Angel Ventures’ long-standing portfolio companies operate in the sector including:
- Thrift+ – a secondhand clothing online marketplace;
- Dizzie, which provides Zero Waste packaging for grocery deliveries;
- Qualis Flow (QFlow) – the software solution for construction materials and waste management.
This has been further bolstered by the company’s most recent investments in 2023 in two new companies working in the sector – Desccyle and Halocycle – both of which are tackling the challenge of recycling previously difficult-to-recycle waste streams, including e-waste and PVC waste respectively. By retrieving as much material for reuse as possible, results in savings on the use of the materials, energy, and carbon that would be needed to create or acquire these materials across the wider industrial supply chain.
Halocycle has developed a process by which it is able to fully recycle PVC, using much less energy than conventional recycling processes. Prior to now, it has not been possible to recycle PVC. That means that all byproducts of the process are reused, which was not possible at all prior to this. This is not “more effective”, it’s the first time ever that PVC will become possible to recycle in a commercially viable manner, with the aim of all by-products from the process being reused, which prior to this was not possible, and diverting this waste stream away from landfill.
Descycle is addressing the growing mountain of e-waste being generated, having developed a process by which using deep eutectic solvents (DES) at low temperatures and low energy, avoiding high energy pollutive smelters, toxic chemicals, and strong acids, they can recover precious metals from printed circuit boards and battery materials. Early trials by Descycle are very promising, with over 90% of metal recovery being achieved.
What does the future hold for investment in the sector?
The evidence is clear. The waste, recycling and circular economy sector is key to the world’s transition to a low carbon economy and the opportunity for investing in the innovations and disruptive processes and technologies which will enable this transition can only increase in the coming years. This will grow further as more traditional established businesses move to using or developing circular and sustainable inputs, which, according to the BDO report, accounted for 26% of 2022 investments in this sector.
The report also highlights the role of government policy in supporting the circular economy, suggesting that the UK has the potential to become a world leader in the circular economy, but that more needs to be done to encourage investment and innovation in the sector.
The outlook for the sector overall is very positive and it’s clear that investment in the circular economy is continuing to gain momentum in the UK and globally, due to its potential to deliver financial returns, while also promoting sustainable development. Investors are recognising the potential of this emerging sector and directing capital accordingly to these new and highly innovative businesses.
Green Angel Ventures continues to welcome approaches for equity funding from early stage companies working in the waste, recycling and circular economy space and our Investment Team is always happy to discuss the ongoing opportunities for investment which currently include the the group’s EIS/SEIS Green Angel Syndicate Climate Change Fund, which has demonstrated its ability to source exciting investment opportunities.
Learn more about Green Angel Ventures portfolio of investments across the Built Environment and other key sectors, or get in touch with our team to discuss further.
If you are an entrepreneur or company working in waste, recycling and the circular economy sector who is seeking investment, please get in touch with our Deal Flow team to apply.
Round 6 of the Climate Change Fund is currently open for investment from HNWIs and professional investors. Apply to invest today or why not apply to join our next virtual event on Tuesday 4th July at 5:30PM, to learn more about driving carbon impact and register.
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