With patented polymer Sfere technology, Qualus is helping tanneries around the world reduce water consumption by up to 40% and chemicals by up to 15%.
Greenbackers client, Qualus, the leading provider of sustainable solutions to the leather industry, has secured £1 million of financing in a Series A round led by Irrus Investments, an Ireland based angel syndicate. Co-investors in the round include CPI Enterprises and angels from Cambridge Capital Group and Harvard Business School Alumni Angels of London.
After years of optimising its solution through in-field trials at tanneries, Qualus now has multiple customers transitioning all production to its innovative system and a strong pipeline of potential customers in Asia, Europe, and Latin America that have successfully applied its system at a pilot scale. Leather produced with Qualus’ system is already in use by leading automotive, luxury goods, and footwear brands.
Proceeds from the latest round of investment will be used to:
- Establish reference customers in Asia, Brazil, and Europe
- Build an engineering centre in England to accelerate the development of its product portfolio
- Raise awareness of its system with automotive, footwear and luxury brands, all of which face increasing pressure from consumers to lower their environmental footprint.
“This investment brings the total financing secured in the last two years to £2.5m, enabling the company to execute its current contracts and to establish additional reference customers in key regions across the world.” said Vikrant Pratap, CEO of Qualus. “We are delighted that Irrus, CPI and the angel investors that have participated in this round can help accelerate the development of the business not only through the injection of funds but also through their extensive experience in building disruptive technology businesses.”
Emily Ryan of Irrus Investments added, “With its patented system, experienced management team, and demonstrated track record with customers, Qualus is a perfect fit with Irrus’ investment criteria. We are excited to be supporting a business that both has strong commercial potential and can achieve a positive environmental impact.”
Qualus’ Series A fundraise was supported by Greenbackers Investment Capital, the specialist advisory firm that assists early stage cleantech ventures secure finance. For more information on the Qualus’ fundraise, click here.
About Qualus and its Sfere technology
Qualus began life as a research and development project to improve the tanning process at the Institute for Creative Leather Technologies (ICLT) at the University of Northampton between 2013 and 2016. Since then, successful pilots of Qualus’ Sfere technology have been run across Europe and Latin America, and patents have been granted in key markets, including Europe, US, India and China. The company achieved Technology Readiness Level 9 in 2020 and is now focused on rapid commercialisation.
The global leather industry, with an annual turnover of £50 billion, uses vast quantities of water, chemicals and energy while also creating large volumes of effluent for treatment. Tanneries face market and regulatory pressure to reduce pollution but doing so has proven difficult to date without losing competitiveness due to increased costs or because of the unacceptable reduction in the quality of their leather. The patented Sfere technology from Qualus is able to cut the use of water by up to 40% and chemicals by up to 15% in leather tanning and retanning, without affecting the quality of the leather produced. The key to Qualus’ commercial success has been a recognition that sustainability should not require manufacturers, brands, or consumers to compromise on value or quality.