Hollywood stars’ investment funds back Bristol firm on a mission to clean up microplastic pollution

August 11, 2023

A Bristol tech firm developing a way of capturing and recycling microplastics before they can pollute the world’s oceans has received funding of $10m (£7.88m) from investment vehicles backed by movie actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Ashton Kutcher.

Matter, which was founded in 2017 by former Dyson engineer and keen scuba diver Adam Root, will use the finance to scale its microplastic filtration technology.

When Adam, pictured, discovered that 5.25trillion particles of plastic are currently in the world’s oceans he set about using his skills and experience to engineer a solution to stop them reaching the ocean in the first place, then recycling them.

Most microplastics are generated by clothes washing. Modern clothing tends to contain plastics, such as polyester, nylon, acrylic and polyamide, meaning a staggering 700,000 microfibres are released into the ocean after every machine wash.

Matter’s tech captures the microfibres straight after washing and reusing them – so creating a truly closed loop system.

The latest investment will accelerate Matter’s development of its commercial and industrial applications.

The Series A round was led by S2G Ventures, a direct investment team for ‘impact platform’ Builders Vision, and SOUNDwaves, the sustainability-focused investment vehicle backed by What Happens in Vegas star Ashton Kutcher and Guy Oseary, who manages Madonna and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Additional investment came from Academy Award winner Leonardo DiCaprio-backed Consumer ClimateTech fund Regeneration.VC, and Katapult Ocean, which has made a significant follow-on investment, along with a small number of strategic investors.

Adam Root said: “Matter’s vision is to live in a world without micropollutants. We knew from the start that as a small company intent on tackling this global problem, we’d need to work with partners who have the scale, vision, and resources to help us deliver our technology as quickly and effectively as possible.

“The combined support and expertise of our investors enables us to accelerate our work, moving beyond laundry into industrial-scale applications of our technology, and drive globally meaningful reductions in micropollutant emissions with confidence and speed.

S2G Ventures managing director Kate Danaher added: “As established partners of Matter, we’ve been impressed by the relentless determination and speed at which they’ve been able to develop innovative solutions and demonstrate an instant impact on the industry.

“Continued investment in solutions like the ones Matter provides are critical, if not essential, to ensuring the long-term health of our oceans, and subsequently, the overall health of our planet.”

SOUNDwaves managing partner Katherine Keating described Matter’s micro-filtration technology as “class-leading” and said it represented “a crucial defence against the continuous flow of microplastic pollution from our homes, workplaces and built environments”.

She added: “Legislation is inevitable given the ecological and health impacts of microplastic pollution that are becoming better understood every day, and we are already working with Matter to realise the commercial relationships required to bring this impact to industrial scales, mitigating thousands of tonnes of plastic materials entering our environment every year from textile production and industrial wastewater processes.”

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