Lam’on, the Bulgarian startup that aims to reduce plastics in the printing industry, went successfully through the Chivas The Venture acceleration program in London, and is now one of the 20 participants running for a share of the $1M funding, provided by the whiskey brand. The first step towards the big finale in May is online voting between April 9 and 30. Based on these results, the participants will receive a share of the first $100K.
The Bulgarian impact startup, that has developed a biodegradable laminating film, needs $230K to set up its own production site – rent the space, buy machinery, and build up the team. In the meantime co-founders Gergana Stancheva, Angela Ivanova and Philip Ublekov, continue negotiating with potential clients – print houses and publishers to refine their models and kick start deployments.
“Our recent conversations and interest from Germany and other European markets led us to the conclusion that we shouldn’t postpone anything, so we are now looking for other investments that are not related to the contest,” tells us Ivanova.
Materials for the Printing Industry
Lam’on was started in 2017 as part of the idea of the stage acceleration program ClimateLaunchpad for green businesses and then they also received their first funding of €15K to develop the idea. Its product is a laminating film made of polylactic acid (cornstarch) which is stuck to the paper with a special, also developed by the company, water-soluble glue that would make the separation of paper and laminating film easy. In 2018, the biodegradable laminating film of Lam’on was already out of the lab and the team is already running tests together with a local producer.
“The great thing about this product is that it could be produced in normal production sites where the conventional laminating film is made too,” explains Stancheva. Being well connected in the printing industry in Bulgaria, helped Ivanova and Stancheva to quickly find partners and start testing the application of the film. Once the company finishes the pilots and effectively starts operations, it will need own production site.
Biodegradable materials that could replace plastics are a hot topic recently, especially in packaging ever since the Single Use Directive of the EU was issued. The product of Lam’on could also be used in the packaging sector, which has been experiencing a shift towards more eco-friendly materials recently.
The Other CEE participants
Among the 20 participants that come mostly from Europe and Latin America, there are four CEE companies. Besides Lam’on, the region is represented by a Romanian, Greek and Slovakian projects.
Romanian Human Link uses GPS technology to provide the geographical location of dementia sufferers to their loved ones. Slovakian Save The Bees is a social enterprise using technology to empower beekeepers and improve the environment (two years ago there was a Bulgarian participant that introduced similar model and technology – ed.n.). Ingredio is app educating consumers on the contents of food and cosmetics products without complex chemical jargon.