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University of Cambridge spin-out, Xampla, announced as finalist for Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize by team of global investors

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CREATOR of natural alternatives to single-use plastic, Xampla, has been announced as a finalist for the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize after being given a vote of confidence from global investors.

Senior figures from Encourage Capital, Sky Ocean Ventures, North Equity LLC, ALG Investment Management were amongst the judging panel that chose Xampla from 170 global competitors to be shortlisted after a highly competitive two-year process.

The award recognises world-leading innovators, creating next generation, sustainable alternatives to flexible film plastic that are truly sustainable and scalable by 2025. The potential for this material will now be tested with global fashion and technology customers, such as Dell.

As a University of Cambridge spin-out, Xampla has spent 15 years researching and pioneering the world’s first plant protein polymer for commercial use.   With no other chemical changes made to its plant-based materials, Xampla’s products biodegrade safely at the end of life, leaving nothing behind.

The applications for this technology have the potential to replace plastic across a range of industries, including in food and beverages, the home cleaning products industry and now technology and fashion.

Xampla’s technology has already entered the market through partnerships with leading global brands including meal kit retailer Gousto and soft drinks manufacturer Britvic.  Former White House Climate Change Advisor, Jeff Seabright, joined the firm as Chair in 2020.

The Plastic Innovation Prize was first launched in 2019 by global fashion designer Tom Ford, in partnership with 52HZ,  to identify and support organisations advancing truly biologically degradable plastic alternatives.

The prize winner, to be chosen from the eight finalists and announced in 2023, will receive $1.2 million as well as three years of financial and advisory support. 

As a finalist, Xampla will now focus on how its industry-leading plant-protein material can be applied to single-use polybags.  Over 300 billion polybags, single-use resealable sandwich bags and storage bags are used globally every year.  These products are almost impossible to recycle and end up in landfill, incineration or the natural environment.

Plastic films are estimated to make up five million metric tons of ocean plastic leakage accounting for 46% of the total.

Simon Hombersley, CEO of Xampla, said: “Our material is the result of 15 years of research, bringing together the very best minds in science to create a truly sustainable alternative to single use plastic. We have already brought our innovation to market with global brands such as Gousto and Britvic and the support we have been shown by the team of judges and investors is evidence of the potential of our material to address global pollution. We can’t wait to get started working with Tom Ford’s team.”

Jeff Seabright, former White House Climate Change Adviser and Chair of Xampla, said: “With 175 countries committed to developing a UN plastic pollution treaty by 2024, turning off the plastic tap is now firmly on the global agenda. Alternative materials that naturally biodegrade are key, and we believe Xampla offers a better by design alternative. A key criterion for the Tom Ford judges is how well and how completely the material biodegrades, making this a very welcome endorsement for our technology.  

“We are looking forward to working together with Tom Ford and the team over the coming year, as Xampla partners with leading brands to innovate in the world of fashion and technology as we have already in food and drink.”

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