Groam wins CHF 150,000 to turn agricultural waste into sustainable foam

Groam’s bio-based and biodegradable foam solutions can be used for disposables such as plant substrate or packaging. The Zurich based-start-up will use the CHF 150,000 to get business expertise on board for a seed round.

Polymeric foam, often used for insulation and shock absorption, causes plastic pollution. Plant-based polymers and compostable solutions are emerging, but these solutions can be up to three times more expensive, lack flexibility and resilience, and cannot be recycled easily. Groam addresses these challenges and enters the growing polymeric foam market - which exceeds USD 115 billion today, with 99% being produced from petrochemicals - to provide people with more lightweight, sturdy, and sustainable materials.

The Zurich-based startup uses biomass waste streams from the agricultural industry such as abundant fruit or cereal sources as a renewable resource and processes them in proprietary materials before mixing them with gas in its patented foaming technology. The resulting sustainable foam products can be used as plant substrates and composted after the harvest. Groam is also testing if its product can be used as fertilizer.

Groam’s core team includes Dr. Zuzana Sediva (founder and CEO) and Sophie Grimm (production responsible). The two have developed a novel propellant for biomaterials, based on a thesis from Sediva, and a reactor for forming it. Groam’s patent-protected technology allows them to adjust the cellular architecture of foamed products.

To bring the product to market, Groam is looking for partners from the agricultural industry and the polymeric foam industry, and the team is talking to end-users of foams across sectors. With this additional expertise and the CHF 150,000 Venture Kick support, Groam will advance business development and product development to attract its first pilots before a planned seed sound.

“Venture Kick forced us to go, instead of ‘out of the garage,’ out of the university laboratory and get to know the industry and existing supply chain. This helped us realize the scale of what we are building and the importance of designing our business case,” said Dr. Zuzana Sediva, Groam founder and CEO.

(Press release / SK)
Photo: Groam’s core team: Dr. Zuzana Sediva (left) and Sophie Grimm (right)