Singapore-based new material technology startup Alterpacks has closed its first round of $1 million Pre-Seed funding led by Plug and Play APAC, SEEDS Capital to further its commercialization drive.

Alterpacks said in a statement on last Friday that the round also saw participation from Earth Venture Capital and angel investor Alice Foo.

According to the statement, The fund raised will speed-ramp AlterPacks’ food containers production and supply across key markets in Asia, Australia and Europe.

“The genesis of AlterPacks lies in garbage. As countries look at producing more food, we turn our attention to what is being left behind and thrown out with the food waste and loss, and use that as a raw material to replace plastic packaging,” said AlterPacks Founder and Chief Executive Officer Karen Cheah.

AlterPacks was founded in 2019 to combat one of the most challenging problems today – single used plastics.

Using their proprietary technology, the start-up upcycles food loss in manufacturing to create a biodegradable and home compostable material to replace plastic food containers.

The startup supported by Temasek Foundation and incubated under Singapore Management University’s Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s Business Innovation Generator.

The start-up has collaborated with the United Nations Development Programme to combat plastic pollution in Indonesia, having emerged winners of the End Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge (EPPIC) 2021.

The team also won the Enterprise Singapore Sustainability Open Innovation Challenge in sustainable packaging.

In 2022, AlterPacks piloted their food containers at the Motor GP Event in Mandalika, Indonesia and in Vietnam, with Pizza 4P’s – a popular F&B brand with over 26 restaurants across the country.

AlterPacks is working with different F&B businesses, converters and manufacturers to create tailor-made, sustainable packaging solutions at scale.

Meanwhile, the firm provides new economic value to spent grains, a by-product of the food manufacturing process, after malted drinks are produced, such as milo or beer.

The grains are currently used as animal feed, turned into fertilizer or disposed in landfills. By upcycling the material into food containers that can be molded into any shape, the new products return to the supply chain, combating the dependence on plastic use today.

Alterpacks containers are 100 percent organic and go from freezer to microwave.

The start-up is also working on creating bio-pellets to replace petroleum-based resins used in standard manufacturing machines today and changing out the raw material with other forms of agricultural waste.

“We got to know AlterPacks while sourcing for relevant startups for the Alliance to End Plastic Waste Innovation Program and they have gained significant interest from the members of the Alliance, which is naturally a signal for us to do further due diligence for investments,” said Jupe Tan, Managing Partner of Plug and Play Asia Pacific (APAC).

“We are glad that we managed to tap into our partnership with SEEDS Capital to co-lead and invest in our very first sustainability startup in APAC and we hope this will be first of many other sustainability investments with SEEDS Capital,” he added.

Plug and Play is a global innovation platform. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, the firm has built accelerator programs, corporate innovation services and an in-house venture capital to make technological advancement progress faster.

Its APAC headquarters was launched in Singapore in 2010 and since then it has expanded into Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

The firm has accelerated over 500 startups across various programs and invested in more than 70 startups from Southeast Asia.

“The environmental burden caused by widespread usage of plastic is increasingly a concern for consumers and businesses alike. Alterpacks’ new technology upcycles spent grains into food containers and other foodware products, providing a more sustainable option for producers worldwide,

“SEEDS Capital looks forward to accelerating Alterpacks’ expansion plans to scale up its biodegradable resin production to reach more partners and markets to address this pain point,” said Tan Kaixin, General Manager of SEEDS Capital.

As the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore, SEEDS Capital catalyses smart investments into innovative Singapore-based early-stage startups with strong intellectual content and global market potential.

The firm focuses its investments into emerging and strategic sectors aligned with national priorities, including manufacturing, trade and connectivity, human health and potential, urban solutions and
sustainability, and smart nation and digital economy.

“The story of Alterpacks is the story of endless trials towards the most painful truth of our modern world: plastic reliance. We are impressed with the dedication, concentration and innovation of the team,” said Tien Nguyen, General Partner of Earth Venture Capital.

“The long-term and huge problem of plastic needs more innovative solutions. And we are so pumped to back Alterpacks in this brave journey of replacing the plastic food containers and scalable solutions that will not only leverage the circular economy but also take advantage of the abundance of raw materials availability in South East Asia,” he added.

Earth Venture Capital is a global venture firm investing in climate-tech solutions, with a focus on the Southeast Asia region.

The firm invests in Seed to Series A startups in artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, internet of things, new materials, and new energy that serve the goals of switching to renewable energy, abandoning fossil fuel, and increasing the level of carbon storage.

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