Lufthansa and Otto are among the first industrial customers to put the granules produced at the traceless pilot plant in Buchholz in der Nordheide (near Hamburg) through their paces. This will then be processed into Lufthansa catering packaging, for example. The protective covers will be tested under real conditions on individual Lufthansa flights before the end of the year. 40 other consumer goods manufacturers and around a dozen partners from the plastics industry, mainly packaging manufacturers and plastics distributors, have already registered their interest with traceless.
Films, coatings, cutlery: traceless materials from Hamburg wants to replace the plastic content in all these products with its own organic granulate "traceless" - a natural material that has the properties of plastic but is fully compostable in nature and also has an excellent eco-balance. For this, the expert jury of the German Founders' Prize nominated the Hamburg-based company in the StartUp 2022 category. Which of the three finalists in each of the "Up-and-Coming" and "StartUp" categories will win the coveted trophy will be revealed at the award ceremony on September 13, 2022, in the ZDF capital city studio in Berlin.
Consumers are putting the consumer goods industry under pressure around the world: In supermarkets and online retail, products that are demonstrably "green" are particularly successful. Corporations are virtually forced to massively reduce the amount of plastic in their products and packaging. Dr. Anne Lamp (31) from Hamburg has declared war on global plastic pollution and is thus recommending herself and her company as a savior in a corporate emergency. The process engineer has invented a substance that can easily replace plastic in many areas of consumer goods production. The traceless granules can be processed in virtually the same way as plastic granules, but are made not from crude oil but from grain waste. For one ton of traceless granulate, one ton less plastic is produced - and that with 1.7 tons lessCO2 emissions.
Dr. Anne Lamp's invention makes the organic dream a reality: A waste product that is itself already organic is processed in an environmentally friendly way and replaces a problem product: leftover grain instead of plastic! Sounds almost too fantastic. And so she was ridiculed by the plastics industry: "Plastic will always be cheap," she was told. Instead of being intimidated by this, she founded her own company: "I was aware of the great potential right from the start." She met co-founder Johanna Baare (33) through a mentoring program. The psychologist and MBA had previously worked as a management consultant for the Business Innovation Consulting Group, among others, where she gained experience in scaling her team and the company. However, it had long been her wish to bring her own wealth of experience to start-ups.
Inseparable from the traceless granules is the traceless technology, the innovative biorefinery process developed by Dr. Lamp that turns grain waste into plastic substitute. "The specific material is not completely new," explains the inventor, "it is the new way in which the molecules, nature's building blocks, can be used and how they get their functionalization that makes the material so similar to plastic when processed. The innovation is the process from waste product of food production to plastic substitute."
The result is simply fascinating: traceless is so sustainably unique in all impact indicators - such asCO2 emissions, bio-base, non-toxicity - that there is not even a certificate for it that traceless customers could print on the packaging as additional information for end consumers. The solution is an "ingredient brand": "Our goal is to make traceless so well known to end customers that a simple reference shows that you can't go wrong with this product," says COO Johanna Baare.
The finalists in the StartUp category, one- to maximum three-year-old companies that have established their business idea particularly successfully on the market, are:
- Additive Drives GmbH, Dresden: Mobility is becoming more and more electric worldwide. With its combination of expertise in electric motors and the ability to 3D print them, Additive Drives has not only solved a demand problem for the global auto industry, but is helping manufacturers improve their products. In addition to all the major German car brands, Ford (USA) and Toyota (Japan) are already among their customers. Next step: the aviation industry.
- Aleph Alpha GmbH, Heidelberg: Like no other artificial intelligence (AI) model, Aleph Alpha's "Luminous" understands logical relationships of text, but also of image content. The answer formulated by the AI is not only precise, fast and transparent, but also linguistically oriented towards humans. Aleph Alpha aims to become the leading European company researching this "next generation AI".
- traceless materials GmbH, Hamburg: Films, coatings, cutlery: the plastic content in all these products is to be replaced in the future by the bio-granulate "traceless" - a natural material that has the properties of plastic, but is fully compostable in nature and also has an excellent eco-balance. traceless makes a bio-dream come true: A waste product that is itself already organic is processed in an environmentally friendly way and replaces a problem product.
The up-and-coming category honors companies that are no more than nine years old and have already achieved extraordinary growth. Nominated this year are:
- Appinio GmbH, Hamburg: "The fastest market research in the world" is turning the industry on its head. Instead of days or weeks, it takes only a few minutes on average for Appinio to have a survey "out in the field", i.e. with the respondents, and to have the results. With a completely new methodology, social media mechanisms and a good dose of entertainment, Appinio obtains better data faster, also because the respondents answer more honestly.
- osapiens Services GmbH, Mannheim: Transparency, predictability and trust along the entire supply chain - with B2B software solutions, osapiens not only protects consumers and globally active companies from product counterfeiting, piracy and smuggling, but also provides the digital basis for more sustainable supply chains. External requirements - such as those imposed by legislators - are much easier to implement because they are automated and AI-supported.
- Schüttflix GmbH, Gütersloh: With its app for bulk materials, transports and disposal, Schüttflix is setting out to modernize the construction industry. Ordering processes and deliveries of gravel, crushed stone and sand are as easy with the app as ordering online on a smartphone. It also reduces empty runs, improving the eco-balance. Schüttflix puts an end to problems that have plagued the construction industry for decades and changes how "construction" is done.
All finalists will receive individualized consulting from Porsche Consulting tailored to their needs. In addition, members of the Board of Trustees of the German Business Founder Award will sponsor each finalist for a period of two years and make their know-how and experience available. The companies also receive media training at ZDF and access to the German Founders' Prize network.
The companies were suggested by the approximately 300 experts of the German Founders' Prize. They come from renowned companies, technology centers, ministries, start-up initiatives and the Sparkassen-Finanzgruppe. The experts have many years of experience with start-ups and very good industry knowledge. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection supports the German Start-up Award.