Rethinking Materials is dedicated to spotlighting pioneers of sustainable materials and circular solutions. Over the years the event has connected early-stage innovators with brands, investors and producers searching for next generation materials.

Anne Lamp, CEO & Co-Founder
Anne Lamp, CEO & Co-Founder

Traceless has come a long way since pitching during the Technology Showcase at Rethinking Materials in 2022. Towards the end of 2023 the company successfully closed a funding round securing €36.6 Million for the construction of its first industry plant, enabling them to scale the production of  their bio-circular alternative material traceless® on a large scale – replacing thousands of tons of conventional plastics. Anne Lamp, CEO & Co-Founder, recently co-launched the Natural Polymers Group in partnership with other companies which have participated in Rethinking Materials (including Loliware, Notpla and Xampla) with the mission to establish nature-based materials as the mainstream solution to plastic. 

Anne discusses recent successes, driving strategies, and advice for start-ups fundraising in today’s challenging landscape.

Tell us about your key milestones since you spoke at Rethinking Materials in 2022?

Probably our biggest milestone is the completion of a € 36.6 million financing round for the construction of our first industrial plant, which is a major step on our path to technology scale-up. We also launched our first pilot products in stores – made from our innovative natural biomaterial traceless®. These first products helped us to show that although there is still a journey ahead of us, environmentally friendly biomaterials like traceless® really have the potential to replace plastics on the broad market.

What advice would you offer start-ups who are fundraising in today’s challenging economic and regulatory landscape?

Be ambitious, proactive and don’t compromise on your core values! It has been crucial for us to work with funding partners who share our commitment to environmental impact and bring expertise in relevant areas. As for the strong momentum we see in the regulatory landscape, we would encourage everyone to see this as an opportunity: The fossil age has shaped our society’s thinking for many decades, finally it is now the time where we have the chance to shape more future-oriented paths. As young green innovators, we have made it our mission to share our positive vision and help others to see these paths too.

“The fossil age has shaped our society’s thinking for many decades, finally it is now the time where we have the chance to shape more future-oriented paths”

natural biomaterial traceless®
natural biomaterial traceless®

Looking back at the activity the past few years, both regarding market dynamics and your company’s internal development, what is driving your strategy?

So far, it was hard for manufacturers to find holistically material alternatives on the market, especially when it comes to short-lived or hard-to-recycle products. Innovations like traceless® mark the beginning of a novel material generation: 100% natural material substitutes based on natural polymers. With this new material type, manufacturers can cut their emissions and plastic demand, and can ultimately be sure that their products will not pollute the planet. For our strategy, the important add-on to these sustainability benefits was the process-ability of our material granulate in standard machinery – the key to scalability and a broad application spectrum.

What are the main obstacles and challenges you anticipate as you move forward with your start-up? How do you plan to address and overcome them?

While the innovative nature of traceless® is great for marketing, it also means that our team has to move outside the beaten tracks every day: Scaling an innovative process technology, establishing a novel circular value chain, undertaking scientific research, talking to regulators who have never heard of natural polymers… it’s a pioneering journey in many ways. Our strategy is to take an inclusive and collaborative approach and join forces with others. Luckily, there is so many out there that are eager to contribute their passion and expertise – this huge commitment is what will push us to the next level.

How do you view the current fundraising landscape?

Financing capital-intensive start-ups is still unfamiliar to many investors and banks. This makes it a special challenge for industrial manufacturing start-ups like us that are developing the innovative technologies of tomorrow. Quick investment decisions are certainly no longer the rule in our industry. The advantage: you only come together if all sides are really convinced. Given the long-term nature of the collaboration, this can also be seen as an advantage. Furthermore, the opportunities for public fundings are constantly increased. For us, two major grants – both EU and National – significantly contributed to our financing.

“Innovation activity in the industry has increased significantly in recent years, while the field is also becoming much more diverse. Pioneering stakeholders need to act and come together on a global level to create synergies and learn from each other, and Rethinking Materials Summit is a great platform for this.” – Anne Lamp, CEO & Co-Founder, Traceless

Start-ups, apply to pitch in 2024!

Join Rethinking Materials on May 14-15, to meet a community of over 300 materials pioneers for thought-leadership sessions, start-up discovery, investor insights, and targeted networking. Find out more.