Thanks to backing from the Scottish Investment Bank and investment from international French-based venture capital funds FPCI CapAgro Innovation and Sofinnova Partners, CelluComp’s patented nano-fibre is finding a host of new uses and markets.
When materials scientists Dr David Hepworth and Dr Eric Whale first realised the industrial potential of cellulose nano-fibre extracted from root vegetables, they went on to consider new applications. The first of these was an award-winning, super-strong, super-light fishing rod that could harness the material’s unique properties.
Nano-fibre finds new uses
This unique material attracted the attention from international investors, who saw the global potential of their Curran (Gaelic for ‘carrot’) nano-fibre. Twelve years on, and several rounds of investment later, Curran – which is twice as strong as carbon-fibre – is finding a host of new applications. It can be used in paints and coatings, paper production, home and personal care products, the oil industry, food, drilling fluids and in the manufacture of concrete and composites.
Scottish Enterprise has been with us from the start, offering advice and guidance on the company’s formation, innovation and organisational support, as well as support to help us get ready to raise investment.
Christian Kemp-Griffin, CEO of CelluComp
Throughout this journey, Scottish Enterprise has been alongside the company, supporting R&D and marketing activities and helping to secure appropriate investment from the Scottish Investment Bank at the seed, growth and international expansion stages.
Growth leads to new bio-refinery
CelluComp now operate from a state of the art manufacturing facility in Glenrothes, Fife where they are able to increase production and satisfy demand for this high tech and sustainable composite product.
The company now has the potential to make up to 400 tonnes of Curran a year, and is planning to upscale production to 10,000 tonnes per year within three years.
“It’s taken a long time for the company to reach this point, where we have a product on the market,” said CelluComp CEO Christian Kemp-Griffin. ”But now we’re here, we’ll accelerate growth very quickly.” He added: “We could become a billion-pound company.”
A low carbon footprint and no emissions
CelluComp is contributing to Scotland’s sustainable manufacturing processes by using materials otherwise discarded by the animal feed industry. Compared to existing materials used as rheology (thickening) additives, Curran has a low carbon footprint, uses fewer fossil fuel-based chemicals and is emission free.
Securing international investment
With the backing of SIB, the company raised £3.7 million of investment in 2016. The money has come from FPCI CapAgro Innovation (a French venture capital fund), Paris-based Sofinnova Partners, angel investors and SIB.
“This round of financing with such important partners was very important for us,” said Christian.
“Scottish Enterprise has been with us from the start, offering advice and guidance on the company’s formation, innovation and organisational support, as well as support to help us get ready to raise investment.
“We also benefitted from international support through Scottish Development International (SDI) and access to Scottish Enterprise’s GlobalScots network has also allowed us to make key contacts in overseas markets and gain valuable advice on doing business in these markets.
“We couldn’t have made it this far without partners such as Scottish Enterprise, and we look forward to broadening our offer even further.”
CelluComp is an example of an ambitious and innovative company that has successfully secured international investment, and which has benefitted from the networks and expertise of these investors.
All of the Scottish Investment Bank’s funds and activities are designed to encourage increased investment into Scotland’s most ambitious companies.
Under the new Scottish-European Growth Co-Investment Programme, Scottish Enterprise and the European Investment Fund (EIF) will provide co-investment alongside private fund managers accredited by the EIF looking to raise (primarily) equity finance of scale, to support the growth and expansion of Scottish companies.
Find out more about our interventions, including the recently launched Scottish-European Growth Co-Investment Programme:
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