Estonian startup Gelatex wins Green Alley Award 2019

  • 2019-10-21
  • TBT Staff

This year’s Green Alley Award goes to Estonia: Estonian startup Gelatex Technologies impressed the expert jury during a live pitch evening on 17 October in Berlin, Germany. Its gelatine-based alternative to leather beat off competition from five other startups in the circular economy.

Gelatex Technologies from Estonia has won the Green Alley Award 2019. The winning idea is a gelatine-based eco-friendly textile. The innovative textile is compared to other materials the closest to leather or suede. The jury was particularly impressed with the high level of innovation of the Gelatex Technologies product. The environmentally friendly material is made from gelatine derived from low-value waste from the meat and leather industries. The textile is produced without the use of toxins and the production is easily scalable. The ability to customise the thickness and texture makes Gelatex attractive for both the fashion and automotive industry.

Jan Patrick Schulz, CEO of Landbell Group, is very happy with this year’s winner: ‘We have been organising the Green Alley Award since 2014 and every year we discover unusual circular economy ideas from the startup sector,’ he says. ‘Once again this year, we have seen good concepts and taken away important inspiration. We presented the Green Alley Award to Gelatex Technologies because they have developed an environmentally friendly alternative to leather – a material widely used in the textile and automotive industries. Making a new product from a waste product is fully in line with the circular economy and therefore worthy of the award.’

Märt-Erik Martens, co-founder and CTO of Gelatex Technologies, explains the added value offered by the circular economy idea: ‘With Gelatex we want to offer an alternative to leather that is both more environmentally friendly and more affordable,’ he says. ‘The Green Alley Award endorses our green approach: sustainability plays a key role in the circular economy and we are delighted that we were able to convince the jury with our idea.’

The Green Alley Award is the first European startup prize for the circular economy. Landbell Group has been rewarding startups whose ideas help make the sector more sustainable since 2014. In 2019 it received entries from 274 startups in over 30 countries, with business models in the areas of digital circular economy, recycling and waste prevention. In September this year, Landbell Group nominated six finalists proposing green alternatives to conventional materials, or biodegradable packaging. ‘Startups are important actors in a sector that is increasingly striving for innovation,’ says Schulz. ‘Gelatex Technologies has not only developed an idea, but something with great market potential.’

The Green Alley Award comes with prize money of €25,000 and the option of a crowdfunding campaign with Landbell Group’s partner, Seedmatch.

About the Green Alley Award

The Green Alley Award is Europe’s only prize awarded specifically to startups in the circular economy. Since 2014, prizes have been awarded each year to European startups that use innovative business ideas to drive the waste and recycling industry forward and turn the linear economy into a circular economy. The award is organised by Landbell Group with support from a network of circular economy and European startup experts, including Seedmatch, Germany’s crowdfunding pioneer, Bethnal Green Ventures, a British accelerator programme for startups that use technology to tackle environmental and social problems, and R2Pi, an EU-funded Horizon 2020 project.

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About Landbell Group

Landbell Group is a leading provider of services and consulting for global environmental and chemical compliance. Since 1995, the company has helped 27,000 customers in more than 50 countries implement their extended producer responsibility (EPR) and other product and packaging requirements. In addition, Landbell is a competent partner providing support for manufacturers and retailers on their journey towards a circular economy. Its portfolio covers 35 take-back schemes for various waste streams across Europe, as well as consulting and software solutions. In 2018, Landbell Group generated a turnover of more than €170 million.

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About Gelatex

Gelatex Technologies is a material technology startup founded in 2016 in Tallinn, Estonia by two co-founders - Märt-Erik Martens and Mari-Ann Meigo Fonseca - with the mission to make eco-friendly materials accessible to everyone. Namely, they aim to manufacture textiles that are affordable, scalable, and non-toxic. Gelatex has developed a technology to make nanofibrous material from gelatine - a substance derived from the low value livestock industry waste. The technology is energy efficient, eco-friendly, easily scalable and cheaper than alternative technologies. The material can be used in various applications in medicine, filtration and textile industry, whereas the main focus of the company is now to develop an eco- friendly leather-like textile for fashion and interior. Gelatex has been supported by Techstars, Estonian Ministry of Environment, Climate-KIC, Prototron, Horizon2020 SME Instrument and others.