Tallinn-based startup Gelatex is selected as one of 10 startups to join The Heritage Group Accelerator Powered by Techstars, a new US-based startup accelerator focused on reinventing traditional industries.
Gelatex, a materials science startup which develops eco-friendly textiles which are both non-toxic and chemically identical to leather, was selected as one of 10 startups for the inaugural class of The Heritage Group Accelerator Powered by Techstars. The 3-month startup accelerator is based in Indianapolis, USA and aims to support companies seeking to disrupt traditional industries, spanning advanced materials, chemicals, construction, infrastructure, and environmental services. In addition to Estonia, the program also has companies representing the United States, Canada and Germany.
Gelatex joined the Techstars program to gain wider exposure to players in the fashion industry, and gain access to US investors. “We have developed our technology over the past 3 years and have gained considerable traction: several global luxury brands are interested in using our textiles. We feel that now is the time to accelerate our activities to bring the product to market faster,” comments Gelatex co-founder Mari-Ann Meigo Fonseca. “The US is at the forefront of bringing disruptive innovations to market, and we believe that participating in the accelerator will help us to do the same.”
Gelatex co-founder and CTO Märt-Erik Martens adds that Gelatex will benefit tremendously from industry connections with The Heritage Group, a privately held portfolio of companies involved traditional industries. “Besides gaining the tools to develop sales and attract investment, we hope the program will be able to dramatically accelerate our product development through partnerships via this global company,” says Martens. Finally, the accelerator program also offers Gelatex an initial investment of 120 000 USD to expand product development and operations.
Gelatex is a materials science startup founded in 2016 in Tallinn, Estonia, with the mission to make eco-friendly materials accessible to everyone. Namely, they aim to manufacture textiles that are affordable, scalable, and chemical-free.
Gelatex is currently tackling the problem that 95% of all leather today is made with toxic chemicals and eco-friendly solutions are not scalable. It has developed the first non-toxic, eco-friendly textile that is chemically identical to leather and easy produce in mass-scale. The material is made from gelatin derived from the waste material from the leather and meat industry, adding value for the an abundant waste material. Material is chemically identical to leather but comes in rolls, it is made using no toxic chemicals and its production is fast and environmentally friendly.
Gelatex has been supported until now by Estonian Ministry of Environment, Climate-KIC, Prototron, Enterprise Estonia, Archimedes, Horizon2020 SME Instrument and others.
About The Heritage Group Accelerator Powered by Techstars
The Heritage Group Accelerator Powered by Techstars is a mentorship-driven accelerator which supports companies that aim to reinvent traditional industries. The accelerator was founded as a partnership between The Heritage Group (THG), and seed-stage accelerator Techstars. It will take place at The Center, THG’s purpose-built facility in Indianapolis that is also home to HG Ventures, THG’s venture capital arm, and Heritage Research Group , THG’s central research and development laboratory.
Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneurs succeed. Techstars founders connect with other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporations to grow their companies. Techstars operates three divisions: Techstars Startup Programs, Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs, and Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships.
Techstars accelerator portfolio includes more than 1,900 companies with a market cap of $23 Billion. Less than 1% of applicants are accepted.