JUMPSTARTER Global Pitch Competition winner has raised nearly HKD50 million from Alibaba Entrepreneur Fund

Ecoinno, a Hong Kong-based green material company producing sustainable packaging out of plant fibre, won The Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund/HSBC JUMPSTARTER Global Pitch Competition 2020 in the Smart City category.

Meanwhile, the startup has closed a HKD50 million Series A1 funding round in May 2020, led by Alibaba’s Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund and Taiwan Entrepreneurs Fund.

Being one of the partner companies of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks (HKSTP), Ecoinno is co-founded by CEO George Chen and COO Vivian Chang on the premises to create an innovative solution platform with the environment in mind.

Non-toxic alternative solution to replace single-use plastic with natural plant fibre

Consumer has become more eco-conscious in the light of tightening regulations on single-use plastics. Ecoinno has developed a patented Green Composite Material™ (GCM™) and related processing technologies based on natural plant fibre, the most abundant naturally occurring biopolymer that is renewable on Earth.

By recombining the fibres, the GCM™ technology realises the full potential of the remarkable properties of natural fibres, namely: fully biodegradable in soil within 75 days; tolerance to extreme temperatures; water and oil-resistant; high tensile strength; impermeable to oxygen (with a low transmission rate that rivals metal); and toxic free, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Eyeing global development – initiate partnership with global brands to maintain a sustainable planet

As an experienced entrepreneur, George acknowledges that having a successful product launch in the market is key to putting his R&D results on the map, and a well-thought-out development plan is the vehicle to translate ideas into businesses.

George is steadfast on easing plastic pollution, reaching out to clients from Europe in the early R&D stages in order to develop an understanding of what they need. The startup has joint hands with an Italian renowned coffee brand to provide biodegradable coffee capsules made out of natural fibres. The impermeability and sturdiness exhibited in Ecoinno’s GCM™ is the answer to the challenges faced by many coffee brands today.

The entrepreneur also sets eyes on airline catering packaging. Single-use plastic cup, for example, releases hazardous chemicals when exposed to high heat. Replacing plastic with paper eliminates the use of thin plastic resin coating inside the paper cup, while the functional attributes of GCM™ offers excellent sturdiness with lightweight biodegradable materials.

With the collaboration between Ecoinno and major Asian airlines in full swing, passengers will soon be able to enjoy in-flight meals served in fully-compostable dishware.

Innovation sets to bring disruptions to the industry

Ecoinno has secured two rounds of funding from the Innovation and Technology Fund, totaling HKD24 million. This, together with previous fundraising success, mark a significant milestone for the startup in developing biodegradable alternatives that meet market needs.

The company is making headway with delivering breakthrough solutions for global customers and industries. Its research can offset the global dependence on petroleum-based and non-biodegradable bioplastics, providing the “Third Option” from the traditional choice between petroleum-derived plastic and bio-plastic, is a big leap towards a sustainable circular economy.

The founder believes Ecoinno’s research not only helps to curb plastic pollution but also disrupts consumer habits of using disposable plastic products. Furthermore, artificial intelligence has also been adopted in the company’s production lines in order to maintain manufacturing quality.

Hong Kong poised for more tech breakthroughs with local talents

By joining Hong Kong Science Park since 2018, George believes the technology hub offers startups with favourable conditions, from finance to talent, to grow their businesses. The vibrant ecosystem also helps its partner companies to expand business network and accelerate growth.

To date, Ecoinno has a R&D team of 20 personnel in Hong Kong, who are steeped in product design and engineering competencies ranging from material science, mechanics to manufacturing process. George takes pride in his team that shares a common goal to make contributions to the environment.

Starting out as a packaging manufacturer, Ecoinno will step up efforts to bring the benefits of a sustainable circular economy to other fields. George often reminds himself that technology should serve the purpose of tackling global problems, as he believes “standing on eminence and become far-sighted”. At Ecoinno, he envisions to take innovation and technology up a notch, drawing attention to environmental issues with a call to action to protect our planet Earth.

Ecoinno is one of the Top Five Winners in the JUMPSTARTER Global Pitch Competition 2020.

Ecoinno is one of the Top Five Winners in the JUMPSTARTER Global Pitch Competition 2020.

Disposable dishware made of Ecoinno’s proprietary Green Composite Material™.

Disposable dishware made of Ecoinno’s proprietary Green Composite Material™.

Ecoinno provides the biodegradable coffee capsules made out of natural fibres to replace the traditional materials.

Ecoinno provides the biodegradable coffee capsules made out of natural fibres to replace the traditional materials.

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