Biodegradable Plastics Startup RWDC Raises US$133 Million

RWDC Industries Ltd will use the US$133 million series B funding to expand the production capacity by building a new facility in Athens, Georgia.

AsianScientist (May 8, 2020)RWDC Industries Limited, a Singapore-based biotech start-up hoping to solve the world’s single-use plastic crisis, has secured US$133 million in Series B funding.

“RWDC was founded by myself and [CEO] Dr. Daniel Carraway in 2015,” shared executive chairman Mr. Roland Wee. “After meeting, Carraway and I realized our shared vision of improving people’s lives while also lessening our impact on the environment.”

They decided to pursue their passion by providing safe, sustainable alternatives for single-use petroleum-based plastics. Specifically, RWDC develops innovative and cost-effective biopolymer material solutions—including polyhydroxyalkanoates or PHAs. PHAs are naturally produced by microbial fermentation of plant-based oils or sugar and are recognized as the only commercially viable biodegradable bioplastic. Produced primarily from used cooking oil, RWDC’s PHA is fully biodegradable in soil, water and marine conditions, leaving no toxic residue.

“With Carraway’s expertise in biopolymer and natural plant chemistry and my experience building large-scale industrial facilities, we have developed a highly efficient production system to produce PHA,” said Wee.

In 2018, RWDC’s proposal to use PHA to start replacing single-use plastics won the inaugural Liveability Challenge, presented by Temasek Foundation. Their PHA product, known as Solon, has a variety of applications, ranging from food-grade products like drinking straws and disposable utensils to barrier coatings for paper and packaging films.

“We are grateful and excited to have the support of world-class investors who share our urgent mission of solving the global challenge of single-use plastic,” said Carraway. “This investment will help us significantly increase our production capacity so that we can meet needs of brand owners who want to improve the lives of their customers by offering materials that have a positive effect on human health while improving environmental stewardship.”

“For many years, we’ve been headed toward an existential threat to our individual health and our planet due to pervasive and mounting plastic pollution,” added Wee. “It must be addressed immediately and with a solution at industrial scale.”

The new investment was co-led by Vickers Venture Partners, Flint Hills Resources, CPV/CAP Pensionskasse Coop and International SA. Other participating investors include existing investors Eversource Retirement Plan Master Trust and WI Harper Group.

“RWDC exemplifies the kind of company we support—passionate about problem solving and creating positive social impact. We believe RWDC has the potential to make an enormous difference in solving the global plastics problem, and we’re proud to continue supporting the company and its leadership,” said Dr. Finian Tan, founder and chairman of Vickers Venture Partners.

RWDC will use the funding to meet growing demand for PHA, including by expanding the company’s production capacity with a new facility in Athens, Georgia. RWDC will also use the new funds to conduct further research and development.


Source: RWDC Industries Ltd; Photo: Shutterstock.
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