Roscommon start-up Positive Carbon secures backing from German VC

24 Sep 2021

Positive Carbon COO Aisling Kirwan and CEO Mark Kirwan. Image: Positive Carbon

Berlin firm APX has made its first investment in an Irish company, backing a Roscommon-based start-up focused on tackling food waste.

Irish start-up Positive Carbon has secured investment and support from German venture capital firm APX.

The Roscommon-based company, which was founded in 2020 by Aisling and Mark Kirwan, did not disclose the amount of funding it had received.

APX is a Berlin-based VC outfit that supports start-ups in the pre-seed stage. The firm is backed by Porsche and Axel Springer, the publisher of major German newspapers such as Bild and Die Welt. APX has invested in more than 100 ventures across 20 countries.

Positive Carbon uses technology to tackle food waste. Its flagship product is a scanner that monitors the extent of food waste in commercial kitchens to allow businesses to make their processes more efficient. The start-up pitches it both as a cost-saving measure and as potentially beneficial to the environment.

The scanner uses lidar and artificial intelligence to track what is being put into bins in what amounts, and deliver reports and analytics to users.

An estimated 1m tonnes of food waste is generated in Ireland each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, with about a quarter of this coming from the food service sector.

Positive Carbon said this wastage costs the industry €300m per year and emits 875,000 tonnes of CO2, but its product allows businesses to “make informed decisions around their purchasing, production and preparation”.

Commenting on the investment news, CEO Mark Kirwan said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to work and grow with the support of APX. This investment will help us to scale our solution in Ireland and bring the most advanced food waste monitoring technology to the European market.

“This partnership will help us to get into the position to bring Irish investors on board later in the year and to help ensure Ireland is a world leader in reducing food waste.”

Jörg Rheinboldt, APX’s managing director, added: “We are very happy to have invested in Positive Carbon and added the first Irish company to our portfolio. The team has a great energy, and we believe their tech can really help solve food waste in the B2B consumption sector.

“We look forward to working with them as their long-term partner in developing their business throughout Europe.”

The news comes in the same week as the announcement that Positive Carbon was selected for University College Dublin’s Agcellerator programme.

The start-up is also backed by Enterprise Ireland and was accepted into Social Entrepreneurs Ireland’s Impact Programme this year.

Jack Kennedy is a freelance journalist based in Dublin