Start-Up Success Story: Pre-Summit interview with Chee Hau Teoh, CEO & Co-Founder of Nfinite Nanotechnology
We were keen to catch up with Nfinite Nanotechnology ahead of Rethinking Materials on May 4-5 after hearing that last year’s summit had a profound impact on their business direction and ongoing strategy. Learn more about this fascinating start-up before meeting them in London.
How does your nanocoating technology help advance the performance of sustainable packaging?
Packaging is one of the most critical industries of our time. It touches everything that we use. Today, packaging is challenging to recycle by design because of its multilayer structure to keep products fresh. With customers demanding more sustainable products and governments mandating the reduction of the use of plastics, CPG companies are pressured to pursue new solutions to address the problem. New solutions with novel packaging designs that are easily and fully recycled or composted are needed.
Developed at the University of Waterloo, Nfinite revolutionized nanocoatings to redefine barrier performance and enable the use of truly sustainable packaging at a commercial scale. Nfinite’s nanocoating is a solvent-free, sustainable, metal-oxide barrier coating that is applied at low temperature in open air (which eliminates the need for a vacuum chamber or plasma) via Spatial Atomic Layer Deposition (SALD) nanocoating technology.
Nfinite’s nanocoatings have been proven to meet superior barrier performance, enabling the use of sustainable packaging materials such as recyclable plastics (PE and PP), compostable biopolymers (PLA), and papers in consumer goods packaging while maintaining their recyclability or compostability. The nanocoating is transparent, allowing consumers to assess contents before purchasing and giving brand owners the ability to stand out on shelves. Furthermore, Nfinite’s nanocoatings can be integrated directly into customers’ manufacturing lines.
What have you been up to since Rethinking Materials 2021? Are there new partnerships, products or funding rounds you would like to shout about?
Last year, we attended the Rethinking Materials packaging conference and received an exceptional amount of interest from potential customers from >50 interviews that we conducted. Large consumer packaged goods companies are being pressured by new regulations to significantly reduce single-use plastics by 2030 but they lack suitable barrier solutions for sustainable packaging alternatives. Hence, solving the barrier problem on sustainable packaging meant that we could finally replace multilayer packaging which is key to combating the plastic pollution we are facing. Since Rethinking Materials 2021, we decided to double down on the sustainable packaging market.
We are currently working with 4 customers (a mix of CPG and packaging producer) through paid POC and have 5 customers in the proposal phase. We are excited to work with brand owners and packaging producers to rethink and redefine their packaging design for a circular economy. We plan to raise a seed round this Fall to launch our coating solutions into customers’ pilot lines next year.
Why is the Rethinking Materials summit an important date in your diary? Who are you looking forward to meeting?
The shift towards a circular economy with sustainable infrastructure requires the involvement of all players along the value chain to collaborate, to innovate, and to introduce new solutions. We see Rethinking Materials Summit as a collaborative platform that brings all players together. We are excited to meet the industry experts (e.g. PA Consulting), brand owners (e.g. Avery Dennison, Beiersdorf, Kraft Heinz), packaging producers (e.g. Amcor, Berry Global, Thai Wah), and many other innovators to explore how we can collaborate to revolutionize the design of packaging.
Nfinite Nanotechnology is a Silver partner for Rethinking Materials 2022. Co-Founders Chee Hau Teoh (CEO) and Jhi Yong Loke (CTO) will host a roundtable at the summit in London on May 4 titled ‘Is Nanocoating the Future of High-Performance Sustainable Packaging?’. See the full agenda here.