Eiravato takes its plastic waste fight to Luxembourg

17 Jun 2019

Marcin Kulik. Image: Eiravato

Eiravato co-founder and CEO Marcin Kulik tells us how this Start-up of the Week is using technology to enable the circular economy.

Eiravato tackles one of the biggest challenges we have today: plastic waste,” said CEO Marcin Kulik.

Kulik started his first company, a software development agency, in 2006. Since 2015, though, his focus has been with Eiravato (formerly SmartTrace), a cleantech venture he founded with Steve Cassidy.

As of that time, the world had generated about 6.3bn tonnes of plastic waste, of which just 9pc was recycled and 12pc incinerated. The majority (79pc) ended up in landfill or the natural environment.

“At Eiravato, we see [waste plastic] as a resource lost forever only to be replaced by the new virgin materials in a neverending make-use-dispose linear economy,” said Kulik.

“Eiravato harnesses cutting-edge technology that changes the way we look at waste, to see it as a resource that should be treasured, traded and reused for economical, societal and environmental gain.”

‘Our vision is to build a sustainable stock exchange-listed business’

Eiravato’s target market is large manufacturing companies for fast-moving goods where plastic use is key and the current shift towards environmentally conscious production is forcing decisive measures.

In a nutshell, Eiravato enables the ‘digitalisation of waste’ and provides a dedicated materials marketplace, helping organisations discover and implement circular economy solutions that are commercially driven.

The technology combines Kulik’s software skills with Cassidy’s experience in materials management and supply chain strategy. The result is two interlinked platforms, Eiravato Tools and Eiravato Exchange. Eiravato Tools uses big data and artificial intelligence to inform businesses of the commercial opportunities hiding within the waste along their supply chain. On Eiravato Exchange, they can source and trade materials and components.

“Our ultimate goal is to empower organisations and governments to deliver a new economy founded on zero-waste principles, where such resources are not banned, but cared for and reused in multiple life cycles,” said Kulik. “Our vision is to build a sustainable stock exchange-listed business.”

Eiravato secured €550,000 funding in 2018 from private investors and Enterprise Ireland, which identified the company as a high-potential start-up. The company has also received funding via Fit4Start Luxembourg.

Additional funding this year could help Eiravato incorporate blockchain into the platform for advanced traceability of materials.

‘The Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy are a driving force to deliver the circular economy’

Unfortunately, companies in Ireland are trailing behind their European counterparts when it comes to the circular economy. Slow take-up here led Eiravato to close up its Blanchardstown operation in Dublin and instead focus on growth out of Luxembourg.

Luxembourg was chosen as the company’s European base as it’s a leader in matters of the circular economy, according to Kulik.

“We have received … exceptional assistance and supports from critical stakeholders. We continue to be highly impressed and appreciative of the Luxembourgish government, more specifically the Ministry of the Economy, who are a driving force to deliver the circular economy,” he said.

Kulik recently assured Fora that the company has not given up on Ireland and that it will still maintain a data analytics operation here.

His advice to fellow entrepreneurs harks back to this experience: “Market-test your product as early as possible and, most importantly, listen to your audience – but keep in mind that it is not always about product-market fit, sometimes it is about finding the right market for your product.”

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Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic