Green leather startup bags £3,000 prize

Six start-ups took part in a virtual pitching session last week, selling their ideas to an expert panel to celebrate World IP Day.

It was organised By the IP firm Mathys & Squire who offered a £3000 prize which was won by Mira Nameth, founder of Biophilica, which transforms green waste into a plant-based leather alternative that is compostable, recyclable and estimated carbon-neutral.

The theme was ‘IP and SMEs: Taking your ideas to market’ and came on the back of a recent study that found that companies that own at least one patent, registered design or trade mark generate 55 per cent higher revenue per employee than companies that do not own IP rights.

The six companies were shortlisted from a larger group of applicants, which presented to a panel including Roderick Beer, Managing Director at UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA); Fernanda Almanza, Senior Investment Manager at Raising Partners; Angus Baker, Senior Programme Manager at Enterprise Hub – Royal Academy of Engineering; and Mathys & Squire partners Andrew White and Anna Gregson.

Mira Nameth’s pitch centred on Biophilica’s journey in producing its first material, Treekind, which offers a circular alternative to leather and its synthetic competitors to support the transition to manufacturing and consumption that is local, carbon zero, and sustainable.

Mathys & Squire partner, Andrew White said: “Biophilica stood out to all the judges as not only a strong business opportunity, with potential for patent protection, but also a direct response to current consumer concerns relating to sustainability – particularly in the fashion industry.”