Northern Gritstone invests in bioplastics firm Floreon

Northern Gritstone, the investment business focused on university spin-outs and science and technology-enabled businesses in the North of England, announced a £2 million Series A investment into bioplastics developer Floreon Technology Limited, a spin-out technology from the University of Sheffield.

Based in Hull, Floreon was founded by the entrepreneur Shaun Chatterton in 2011.

CTO Andrew Gill joined in 2013, having completed his PhD and a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Sheffield.

Floreon has developed a range of bioplastics made from plants including corn and sugar cane with performance comparable to Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), the common plastic polymer widely used in automotive, electronics and electrical appliances and toys.

With over 99% of the world’s plastics produced from chemicals sourced from fossil fuels, bioplastics offer a sustainable alternative. The global bioplastics and biopolymers market is projected to reach $27.3 billion by 2027.

Unlike other bio-plastic products, Floreon’s materials have achieved the performance standards required for high-value applications and mass production.

Through using plants to take carbon dioxide directly from the air and convert it into sugars that can be used as feedstock for the material, Floreon’s bioplastics production can reduce carbon emissions by up to 7x compared to traditional oil-based plastics.

Chatterton said: “Everyday oil-based plastics are contributing to the global environmental crisis. Our vision is to offer brands an alternative product and through this transform the global plastics market.

“We are delighted to partner with Northern Gritstone. Their support, experience and investment will enable us to develop our team and deliver our commercial strategy.”

Northern Gritstone CEO Duncan Johnson said: “Floreon has developed an innovative and unique technology that offers producers a genuine route to reducing the environmental impact of their plastic products.

“This truly fits into Northern Gritstone’s ‘Profit with Purpose’ philosophy helping to create the world class businesses of tomorrow from the world class science that exists in the North of England today.”

Northern Gritstone was launched in July 2021 by the Universities of Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield.

The company announced the final close of its initial fundraise at £312 million in October 2023.

Dedicated to financing companies in some of the UK’s fastest growing sectors such as advanced materials, energy, health technology and cognitive computation, it has already made 15 investments in science and technology-enabled businesses.