What is circular economy?
Our current economy works linear: we take resources from the planet, we make products with them and eventually they end up as waste, when they are no longer being used. Circular economy has a different approach – we eliminate the waste by stopping it from being produced in the first place.
This approach is dictated by three different principles:
- Eliminate waste and pollution
- Circulate products and material
- Regenerate nature
According to the European Union, five tonnes of waste are being produced by an average European each year. Over 60% of waste still goes to landfill in some EU countries, and only 38% of waste in EU is recycled. In March 2020, the European Commission unveiled an action plan for a circular economy that aims to cut waste by better managing resources.
The world’s population is growing and with it the demand for raw materials. However, the supply of crucial raw materials is limited. Limited supplies also means many countries around the globe are dependent on other countries for their raw materials. Circular economy is a resilient system that is not only good for people and environment, but for business as well.
There are a lot of benefits related to switching to circular economy. From reducing pressure on the environment, improving the security of the supply of raw materials to increasing competitiveness, stimulating innovation, boosting economic growth as well as creating jobs. Additionally, consumers will also be provided with more durable and innovative products that will increase the quality of life and in the long term will save them money.
We decided to showcase six startups that drive the circular economy transition forward on the European ground. They range from waste management companies to online platforms focused on refurbishing, reducing, recycling and reusing of products that are already in circulation.
5 European Startups bringing the Circular Economy forward
Berlin-based Grover is a developer of a subscription-based platform, designed to offer pay-as-you-go rental service for consumer electronics. The company came up with their solution to make technology more accessible to anyone, aiming at pioneering a more sustainable, circular way of using tech products. Electronic waste accounts for around 5% of global waste, and companies like Grover are trying to change that. Founded in 2015, Grover raised a total of €2.1B in funding to this date, with their latest investment round valued at €270M in September, 2022.
Founded in 2015, TooGoodToGo is one of the biggest names on the market when it comes to tackling food waste. The company operates a social-impact platform to which everyone can sign up, with an app that allows consumers to buy and collect Magic Bags of food directly from businesses, to prevent it from landing in the garbage. Over 30% of food is lost or wasted each year, and companies like TooGoodToGo are trying to change that. Based in Copenhagen, Denmark TooGoodToGo is a certified B Corporation Company, which so far raised a total of €109M in funding, with their latest investment round of €26.87M in July, 2022.
Refurbed is another startup that tackles the problem of electronic waste, by providing an online platform where consumers can buy refurbished electronics. Their main aim is driving circular economy forward by encouraging people to choose more sustainable options, and reuse what has already been in circulation. Based in Vienna, Austria and founded in 2017, Refurbed’s total investment valuation stands currently at €63.3M, and they secured a €45.88M Series B in 2021. The company claims that since it’s inception, it has so far been able to save more than 54 million kilos of CO₂ with their services.
Based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands is a developer of an open source software platform for resource mapping and analytics, to drive the circular economy forward and “get rid of the concept of waste whatsoever”. Created as a spin-off from the Delft University of Technology, the company offers their solutions to both business and governments. GeoFluxus has been so far supported by Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Port of Amsterdam, Municipality of Amsterdam and Arcadis, just to name a few. They so far have only raised a pre-seed round of funding, but their cutting-edge technology has a lot of potential.
Berlin-based FixFirst drives the circular economy sector with their digital repairing platform that was designed for maintenance of large household appliances. Founded in 2019, FixFirst partners and is supported by organizations such as World Economic Forum, Climate-KIC, GreenTech Alliance and Impact Hub. How the company operates is that through their SaaS-enabled B2B platform they connect service providers, brands and product users by providing Software and Repair Management as a Service. According to FixFirst, their solution will enable to save up to 14GT of Co2 by 2030.
Here at Storm4, we are passionate about all things GreenTech and Circular Economy, as we believe that CE system builds sustainability, generates new business opportunities and helps reverse the consequences of the ongoing climate crisis.
We pride ourselves on working with the best talent in GreenTech, which can come in crucial when it comes to hiring needs of any Circular Economy accelerator. If you need the talent to drive your circularity mission, get in touch. As experts in GreenTech recruitment, we have an extensive pool of specialist, senior GreenTech professionals, and are dedicated to helping connect talent to innovative businesses creating a more sustainable tomorrow.