Impact tech startup Again has secured £2.55m in pre-seed funding led by Eka Ventures.
London-based Again is building a decentralised network of automated, micro-cleaning facilities called CleanCell that will allow brands to reuse packaging using automation and robotics.
Again’s CleanCells gives its users data on packaging inventory and cost savings.
The pre-seed investment will be used to build Again’s CleanCell technology and launch three to five CleanCells in the UK later in the year.
Again claims its CleanCells use 76% less water, 90% less energy whilst being able to clean thousands of packaging each month. Its technology, Again says, also means that it costs the same as single-use packaging for smaller brands.
“Reusable packaging is the future but today it’s prohibitively expensive for brands. We’re in the early stages of building a circular economy and we see our role being the infrastructure that underpins the packaging aspect of this on a mass scale,” said Matt Kennedy, founder and CEO, Again.
“This can only be done with buy-in from across the value chain and we’re excited to be working in partnership with renowned brands.”
Additional investment in Again’s pre-seed round came from Maersk Growth.
The startup has partnered with Budweiser Brewing Group, Diageo (Johnnie Walker Black and Smirnoff) and Biffa to launch its pilot scheme.
Its partnership with Biffa will use an electric vehicle provided by Renault to collect waste bottles from Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, Greene King, Clays and a group of London nightclubs.
Eka Ventures is a $95m early stage impact venture fund.
“Again’s focus on using the existing logistical infrastructure and using technology and data to make reusable packaging as simple and affordable as single-use is exactly the kind of company we look to back at Eka,” said Jon Coker, Eka Ventures.
The funding round is the latest sign of growing appetite among investors for climate tech startups.
Last week, impact venture fund Climate VC launched to invest in 120 UK-based early-stage climate startups in the next three years.
The announcement of Again’s funding builds on a record year of investment for impact and climate tech startups. In 2021, UK impact tech startups raised £2bn, up from £1.7bn in 2020.