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CustoMem

Problem

Brita type filters, called Granulated Activated Carbon, are used to remove organics in industrial water treatment. GAC insufficiently meet the need for removal of the most carcinogenic chemicals in industrial water. The pain is that EU have imposed regulations on 26 of these substances found in water, which are extremely difficult to remove and toxic. Of the 26 priority hazardous substances, there is one which is found in 90% of EU citizens’ blood and that GAC has 1% efficiency of removal. It’s PFOA, used as a firefighting foam, an irreplaceable chemical. It’s a real killer, it causes cancer (US EPA 2015).

Solution

Our breakthrough is our way of producing granules that capture what others fail to remove, we call it ‘targeted binding of pollutants’. We make customised materials, which can tackle any of the relevant 26 priority substances chemicals. We call it ‘engineered polymer production’ which means we are in the business of producing granules.

Uniqueness, Technology overview, barriers to competition

The production makes granules that can be customised to target the most hazardous substances under the right industrial water conditions. This means we can make tailored materials that suit the relevant of the 26 priority substances.

Market size and analysis

We are first targeting PFOA in EU and US airports, a $1.6bn market. After that we go for larger £10bn PFOA market predominantly found in EU and US. Beyond that, we go with our ability to customise, to capture 25 other priority substances, a market worth $30bn globally.

Traction

CustoMem’s initial testing for the airports segment has been successful: we have shown >10x better performance at capture of PFOA than GAC or specialist adsorbents. This means customers would get CapEx savings of 2x lower costs and 10% lower OpEx if using CustoMem’s offering. There are 1720 airports in EU and US, each of which is worth $900k, total worth of $1.6bn. CustoMem is the winner of >5 science & entrepreneurship competitions, including first runners up at the world’s biggest synthetic biology science competition at MIT in 2014, iGEM.

Core Team

First Name Last Name Job Title Impressive Facts
Henrik Hagemann CEO Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Fellow, most award winning Imperial College London (QS Top 8 uni, world) engineer of the 2010s, 3 years experience in bioengineering commercialization
Ben Reeve CTO 7 years experience within bioengineering production, award winning scientific team leader
Shane Petkiewicz Bizdev manager UC Berkeley graduated engineer with 2 years lean startup experience

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