Start-Up Success Stories: From pitching start-up to summit partner, an interview with Mari-Ann Meigo Fonseca, Co-Founder and COO at Gelatex

Mari-Ann GelatexWhy did you take part in Rethinking Materials in 2021, how did you find it?

The concept of Rethinking Materials was immediately interesting for us because it is well aligned with what we believe in at Gelatex. We believe that innovation for so many new products start with materials and in order to make the world a more sustainable and healthier place for all of us we must start from what is around us – materials. Of course, that is expected as we are a materials technology company! The event was very well organized, and it was great to see many big corporations participating. It shows how important the topic is.

What’s new with you? Are there new partnerships, products or funding rounds you would like to shout about? 

During Rethinking Materials we got connected to many companies from various industries and had discussions about the use of nanofibers in their applications. We even got a few pilot projects starting and some paying customers. These collaborations are still in an early phase and we have NDAs signed, so unfortunately I cannot share more right now. However, I can say that Rethinking Materials helped to get the conversations started with these partners. This in turn, also helped us to close our seed round of €1.2M in autumn 2021. We just recently moved to our new office, are actively expanding the team and our production capabilities and are also about to start to implement ISO standards. Part of our R&D team is focused on developing the best cost-effective and scalable scaffolds for tissue engineering and cell-cultured meat, while part is working on customer projects from various fields such as filtration, food, cosmetics, tissue engineering, and more.

It is fantastic to have you back as a partner for the 2022 summit, what are you hoping to get out of the event this year?

The pleasure is ours! We are looking forward to meeting new partners and find synergies with other companies from materials field to collaborate with. First, we would like to meet with new sustainable polymer producers as they could be a potential supplier to us. We met a few last year and are always open to test new raw materials. But more importantly, we are looking to meet companies who we could help. Nanofibers could be used in so many different applications but until now their use has been very limited because of production technologies. Now for the first time we can produce bio-based and biodegradable nanofibrous materials for even up to 90% cheaper compared to what was possible before. This means that products like biodegradable filtration materials, scar-reducing wound care materials, cell-cultured meat that feels and tastes like real meat, highly efficient ultracapacitors and many more could now become accessible for everyone. We want to start conversations and make everyone think what could be possible if production technologies and high prices would not be the limitation.

What’s next for the materials and packaging industries? Have you seen something new you are particularly excited about and do you have any predictions for the future?

Certainly, sustainable solutions in all industries aren’t a temporary trend. Rather, it’s a necessity, born out of the dire situation we put ourselves at. New materials will keep emerging and new solutions will become more and more prevalent as we move forward. Innovative high performance as well as biodegradable materials will be developed thanks to nanotechnology and more cost-effective and scalable production technologies that can enable this future.

Gelatex are returning to Rethinking Materials as Gold Partners for 2022. We look forward to meeting in person with Mari-Ann and the Gelatex team at Rethinking Materials in London on May 4-5. Book your ticket now to join us!

Start-ups, click here to apply to pitch at Rethinking Materials 2022!