Singapore-based start-up RWDC Industries aims to eliminate single-use plastics, raises US$22m

SINGAPORE - RWDC Industries, a Singapore-based biotech start-up, has raised US$22 million in an oversubscribed Series A3 round led by Singapore-based venture capital firm Vickers Venture Partners and Eversource Retirement Plan Master Trust, the pension fund of US-based energy firm Eversource Energy.

Other participants in the round include previous investor WI Harper Group, an early and expansion stage venture capital firm with offices in Beijing, Taipei and San Francisco.

Founded in 2015, RWDC aims to do away with single-use plastic through developing cost-effective biopolymer material solutions - particularly medium-chain-length polyhydroxyalkanoate (mcl-PHA). The start-up's PHA is certified to be fully biodegradable within weeks in soil, water and marine conditions by certification agency TÜV Austria.

The latest funding is a follow-up to the US$13 million that RWDC raised during its Series A2 round six months ago. Since then, RWDC has expanded its PHA production capacity in Athens, Georgia in the US, initiated development programmes on new applications such as non-woven fabrics, and successfully completed trials with its clients on PHA straws and coated paper.

The fresh funds will primarily be used to accelerate the company's plan to significantly increase PHA production capacity in the US, as well as to support its research and development efforts into prioritised applications. The company expects its first commercial batch of PHA straws to be available in the market in 2019.

"When we participated in RWDC's A2 round not too long ago, we were drawn in by the passion and vision of Roland, Daniel and his team to solve one of the greatest environmental problems facing us today - that of plastic pollution and the accompanying severe effects to so many animal species, including us humans," said Finian Tan, chairman of Vickers Venture Partners.

Peter Liu, chairman of WI Harper Group, said: "The world finally recognises the urgent need to build a green and sustainable future. Plastic waste pollution in our oceans is a real threat to societies and global growth... We are very proud to partner with RWDC's team, creating awareness to replace plastic use, while also raising the standard for the smart cities of future generations."

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