DePoly closes CHF12.3m oversubscribed seed round30.06.2023
To address the recycling challenge, DePoly is developing a universal chemical recycling process that converts plastics into raw materials without affecting their quality. With the closing of its seed financing round, the startup is now well-positioned to scale up its technology to reduce plastic waste by an additional 500 tonnes annually.
The oversubscribed funding round was co-led by BASF Venture Capital and Wingman Ventures, with the participation of Beiersdorf, Infinity Recycling, CIECH Ventures, Zürcher Kantonalbank, Angel Invest, ACE & Company, and others supporting the startup in its mission to tackle the plastic recycling problem.
Plastics like polyethylene terephthalate (PET) can be found in many of our daily items, such as clothing, packaging, and outdoor equipment. Unfortunately, the high costs and difficulty required for sorting, separating, and cleaning these complex plastic streams, coupled with a lack of globally scaled solutions mean that only so-called perfect (clean, simple composition without other materials mixed) plastics get recycled. While 400 million tonnes of plastic are produced annually, less than 10% are recycled, with the majority entering incineration centers or landfills around the world.
Founded in 2021 by Samantha Anderson (CEO), Bardiya Valizadeh (CTO), and Christopher Ireland (CSO), DePoly addresses the entire waste plastic problem with its chemical recycling technology. Currently, it converts all PET plastics and polyester textiles—originally sourced from fossil fuels—back into their main raw chemical components. The components are then sold back to the industry to make new virgin-quality plastic items, creating a truly sustainable circular plastic economy.
DePoly’s chemical recycling technology operates at room temperature and standard pressure and does not require any pre-washing, pre-sorting, pre-melting, or separating out other plastics or materials, unlike most of the technologies out there. The technology is energy efficient, can be implemented quickly, and is easy to tailor to a customer's specific needs.
Braced to scale
To date, with a team of 13 people, the startup has built and operates a pilot plant that processes a capacity of 50 tonnes per year of these complex PET or polyester plastic streams, showcasing the scope and flexibility of how the technology works for various industries ranging from post-consumer packaging to textiles, fashion, and post-industrial streams. Using the proceeds from its seed round, the company aims to build a new showcase plant with a capacity of 500 tonnes per year to demonstrate the technology at a commercial scale.
Samantha Anderson, CEO and co-founder of DePoly, said, “Plastics are a part of our lives and an existential dilemma facing us all. The plastic market isn’t slowing down, as it’s currently growing at a yearly rate of 5% CAGR and is estimated to be worth over $500B. We believe that to tackle this problem effectively, a simple, scalable solution is required that can treat difficult plastic streams.”