Top 10 Promising Sustainable Startups to Watch In 2021

Victoria Faal

Victoria Faal

Victoria is a BSc International Business student at Saxion University of Applied Sciences and 2021-2022 Brand Director at DSIF. She is responsible for online/offline marketing and is one of the decision-makers when it comes to investing.

Global warming, which poses a serious threat to the environment, has made many investors and companies realise the need for sustainable business practices. Currently, there are several startups that are doing their best to meet environmental obligations. We have listed ten high-rated startups that are making great strides in the field of sustainability and circularity.

Betolar is a Finnish materials technology company founded in 2016. The company embarked on a bold experiment to replace cement used as a raw material for concrete with a material based on side streams. It was clear from the start that something big could be achieved with this technique that would change the way raw materials will be used in the future. The Finnish startup closed an impressive 2 million euro financing round in 2020, led by Voima Ventures and together with Taaleri Sijoitus Oy and Valve Ventures.

Today, Betolar has grown into a pioneering partner helping the construction industry build a new and more sustainable future. They help to reduce CO2 emissions and the use of fossil resources to achieve the climate goals in practice.

OXIS Energy is a unique tech startup that develops batteries that can hold up to 5 times more energy than regular batteries. The startup develops lithium-sulfur batteries instead of the original lithium-ion batteries. They are located in the Culham Science Center in the United Kingdom, where the first lithium-ion batteries were created and prototyped. 

They believe that by lowering material prices and extending product life, this will revolutionize rechargeable energy. Oxis Energy thinks that its technology will be “instrumental” in enabling electric airplanes and advancing the status of electric vehicles. The batteries have also been evaluated for water pressure resistance in marine boats, which may be a significant step forward for cross-industry collaboration. They have a large number of patents in their patent portfolio which shows that they work hard and fast to make it happen – the company has 214 patents granted and 106 pending.

EcoFoote is a Hong Kong-based startup that connects people and businesses through a multifaceted approach to sustainable solutions. The user is taken on a journey to measure and reduce its environmental impact through its web application platform. The user is then rewarded for reducing their EcoFooteprint and can use these rewards to buy sustainable products that improve both life and the environment. 

Recycleye is a British startup that was founded in 2019 and is doing well in the field of a circular economy. Recycleye’s innovative technology is positioned to completely change the waste management industry. Their team consists of 15 technologists and creatives who use computer vision algorithms to mimic the power of human vision. Each item in the waste stream can thus be identified and then broken down into material, object and even brand. This technology provides transparency and traceability for the recycling industry.

The company has raised over €1.3 million from a funding round led by MMC Ventures and Playfair Capital, as well as grants from Innovate UK and the EU.

Cleanhub is a startup based in Berlin that was founded in 2019. Cleanhub is a platform that makes it possible to collect plastic waste in coastal areas. They collect 1kg of plastic before it ends up in the oceans for every product a consumer buys from their sustainable brand partners. Optimal recovery methods are used at every stage of the plastic life cycle to achieve this, as well as a tech-first strategy that lets individuals, businesses, and governments to work together to save our oceans on a global scale. 

Greenly is a French technology company founded in 2019 and has a team of 22 people. Greenly’s mission is to make it easy and rewarding for everyone to minimize their carbon footprint, giving people more options to live sustainably. Their software evaluates the environmental impact of everything you buy and gives you credits when you reduce your emissions to encourage you to adopt better everyday habits. They do this by securely linking to your bank accounts and enriching financial data with environmental data. They also advise their consumers to shift their purchasing behavior towards greener brands that are committed to making the climate transition a success. 

The startup raised €500k from a funding round led by Geoffroy Roux de Bezieux and Guillaume Amblard.

Roll is a Canadian startup founded in 2019 focused on the last-mile transportation market. Roll provides sensible mobility solutions by offering dock-less electric scooters and shared bicycles to cities and campuses. There is a lot of competition in electric scooter industry, but Roll distinguishes itself by putting safety first. They do this by working closely with the University of Toronto, combining exclusive technologies and rider-centric design to promote safer use of e-scooters. 

The startup raised $120k from a funding round led by Techstars and Techstars Toronto Accelerator.

Relicta is an Italian startup that creates a water-soluble, clear, and biodegradable plastic packaging made from industrial fish waste. The Italian startup currently has 5 team members, and their goal is to offer customers a new perspective on sustainability by producing soluble packaging that can be easily thrown away at home by the end-user. Their product is made from a secondary raw material and does not contaminate once melted in water. 

Dimpora creates a new type of fluorine-free, completely microporous membranes that are both breathable and water-resistant. These membranes are then processed into finished products, usually outdoor equipment such as jackets. The company was founded in 2019 as a spin-off of the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. The Swiss startup is on a mission to continually develop and deliver high-performance membranes that protect nature lovers while leaving as little environmental impact as possible. 

The business, which now has a team of seven people, has funded €340k so far to continue developing eco-friendly outdoor clothing.

The Delft startup Swapfiets offers a decent city bike for a fixed amount per month. The lack of gears, hand brakes and a rear luggage rack shows that everything is optimized to remain intact. If something does break, Swapfiets promises to repair or replace the bicycle within 12 hours. This concept ensures that students in particular do not necessarily have to purchase a completely new bicycle, which provides more flexibility and security. The Dutch start-up has experienced enormous growth in recent years and has expanded to various European countries.  

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