Estonian startup Gelatex wins a sustainability award in Germany

The Estonian startup, Gelatex Technologies, has won the Green Alley Award 2019; its gelatine-based alternative to leather beat off competition from other startups in the circular economy.

The Estonian startup impressed the expert jury of the Green Alley Award during a live pitch evening on 17 October in Berlin, Germany. The winning idea is a gelatine-based eco-friendly textile that resembles leather or suede.

Gelatex, founded in 2016 in Tallinn by Märt-Erik Martens and Mari-Ann Meigo Fonseca, said in a statement that its material is made from gelatine derived from the low value livestock industry waste.

“The textile is produced without the use of toxins and the production is easily scalable. The material can be used in various applications in medicine, filtration and textile industry, whereas the main focus of the company is now to develop an eco-friendly leather-like textile for fashion and interior,” the startup said.

Gelatex founders, Märt-Erik Martens and Mari-Ann Meigo Fonseca. Photo by Liisi Sepp.

“We presented the Green Alley Award to Gelatex Technologies because they have developed an environmentally friendly alternative to leather – a material widely used in the textile and automotive industries. Making a new product from a waste product is fully in line with the circular economy and therefore worthy of the award,” Jan Patrick Schulz, the CEO of Landbell Group and the organiser of the Green Alley Award, said in a statement. “Gelatex Technologies has not only developed an idea, but something with great market potential.”

Gelatex cardholder.

The Green Alley Award, established in 2014, is the first European startup prize for the circular economy – an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources. In 2019, it received entries from 274 startups from over 30 countries, with business models in the areas of digital circular economy, recycling and waste prevention.

The Green Alley Award comes with prize money of €25,000 and the option of a crowdfunding campaign with Landbell Group’s partner, Seedmatch.

Cover: Gelatex wins Green Alley Award 2019; Gelatex team members, Robert Männa (in the middle) and Märt-Erik Martens (on the right). Photo courtesy of Landbell Group.

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