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Interface Polymers: Changing the face of Polyolefins. Forever

Interface Polymers: Changing the face of Polyolefins. Forever

Interface Polymers is a spin-out from the University of Warwick. Its unique Polarfin® additive technology is able to modify the properties of common plastics to enable them to stick to and mix with other materials. It is set to transform the performance and cost competitiveness of polyolefin-based materials across a wide range of market applications. There is exciting potential to add value across a diverse range of applications in the packaging, construction, agriculture and automotive sectors.

Interface Polymers: Changing the face of Polyolefins. Forever

FACT FILE

Start date: 2015

Website: Visit website

Location: Loughborough

Employees: 14

Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe)

Funding: Grants: £2.2m; Equity: £12.5m

KEY MILESTONES

September 2015

Started on ICURe programme

February 2016

Limited company formed

March 2016

£500k grant funding secured, ICURe

September 2016

Chairman Dominique Fournier joined

March 2017

Closed 1st Angel investment round at £469k

May 2017

Closed 2nd Angel investment round at £780k

August 2017

£483k Innovate UK grant funding secured

September 2017

Closed 3rd Angel investment round at £2.15m

November 2018

Closed 4th Angel investment round at £1.12m

February 2019

£590k Innovate UK grant secured

July 2020

£300k private Angel investment secured

June 2020

£438k Innovate UK continuity grant secured

June 2021

Closed 5th Angel investment round at £871k

January 2022

£438k Innovate UK grant funding secured

September 2022

Closed 6th Angel investment round at £400k

October 2022

Hired Manufacturing Manager in India

December 2022

£32k UKRI grant funding secured

December 2022

Closed 7th round of investment with Industry Strategies at £3.56m

March 2023

Closed 8th round of investment with Industry Strategies at £2.8m

May 2023

Pilot plant construction commenced in India

April 2023

Recruited 4 new staff members in UK

“The ICURe funding enabled me to undertake an intense period of market validation. I spoke to over 100 industrial contacts, that I hadn’t previously known, a significant proportion of whom were very positive about our solutions. Up until that point I had been a junior researcher, inventing and developing Polarfins® in the university lab. ICURe was a big enabler in helping me to take the invention beyond the four walls of the university and to start building a business to commercialise the proposition. It also allowed me to gain a better understanding of how my invention could be developed to satisfy unmet needs in the market.”

“We were awarded the initial Innovate UK grant in 2016– which was a key turning point. In 2017, we secured two significant private investment rounds. We used the funds to scale-up production to an industrial pilot level and to start determining where the additives work most effectively in lab and customer trials. In collaboration with the Universities of Loughborough and Warwick, we also won a second Innovate UK Grant under the Materials and Manufacturing initiative. The aim of this project was to develop a new product variant and production process Polarfin® Green to improve the performance of crop protection coverings.”

“In 2018 we closed our third investment round, took on an additional two hires and won another significant Innovate UK grant to develop additives that allow higher value recycling of mixed plastic waste. We took the material from our first pilot production to customers across a wide range of applications. We then refined that down to the three products that we’re focussing on now: agricultural film applications, recycling of mixed plastics waste and new ways of making our materials more efficiently. The ICURe bootcamp guided us through this process of broadening, refining and repeating this process with the “double diamond” diagram. I still think about this now and it’s heartening to see how this prediction from then has come true for us now.”

“In 2021 We received grant funding to develop a recycling additive to recycle more mixed plastics, particularly packaging film internally, enabling businesses to reuse that packaging back into their production process. This product is now working reliably with customers.”

“A crucial part of our commercial development plan is to build a manufacturing plant. We have pushed our laboratory to its limit as it can still only make kilogram size quantities, which a customer can run for a couple of hours, and so has a low treat rate. The feedback we have had is that customers want a lot more, 25 kilograms minimum. And that is what this our new pilot plant in India will be able to manufacture. Once we have completed proper line trials with customers in our pilot plant, we will build a commercial plant.”

“In March 2023 we secured £6.4m in series A funding from strategic investors. We have four new shareholders, one of them builds chemical plants, and they are now building us a pilot plant. The other three investors are German, American and Thai large chemical firms, who all have an equity stake as well.”

“Our team now stands at 14, as we have hired five new people in the last 6 months.”

Dr Christopher Kay

Dr Christopher Kay, Chief Scientific Officer
Interface Polymers Ltd

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