NEW YORK—LOLIWARE, the world’s leading seaweed-based material technology company replacing plastics, announced the close of a $6MM financing round, led by prominent New York venture firm Hatzimemos/Libby. As part of this announcement the company added new leadership, a new board member and announced that demand for billions of LOLIWARE’s Straw of the Future—seaweed-based, biodegradable straws—spans 68 countries across six continents. LOLIWARE will use the proceeds to meet global demand from Fortune 500 companies, scaling its first straws into the billions in 2020.
LOLIWARE, co-founded by Chelsea Fawn Briganti, is focused on changing the way people think about single-use plastic. LOLIWARE’s technology platform combines seaweed intelligence with cutting edge manufacturing techniques to create the plastic-free materials of the future. The LOLIWARE straw looks, feels and acts like plastic, but is made from 100 percent plant-based food-grade materials and is designed to disappear either through composting or natural processes. With a feel like plastic straws, the LOLIWARE Straw introduces an environmentally friendly solution to the global plastics problem without compromising the user experience or requiring a shift in consumer behavior. Unlike paper-based plastic-straw replacements, the LOLIWARE Straw can withstand over 18 hours of continuous use.
“The status quo—that single-use products should be ‘built to last’—is destroying our planet. Seaweed is a miracle replacement waiting for us,” said Chelsea Fawn Briganti, LOLIWARE CEO. “All across our blue planet, there is an incredible collection of massive aquatic forests, in some cases dwarfing land-based resources. They efficiently capture CO2, forming tremendous carbon sinks while growing up to three meters per day depending on the species, which is why a seaweed-based product has an environmental advantage versus petroleum, corn, or tree-based products.” Prior to starting LOLIWARE, Briganti contributed to breakthrough innovation teams for brands such as Coke, Pepsi, and Nestle, focused on industrial design and engineering, sustainable innovation, and smart materials.
“There’s an inherent belief that there are always trade-offs with sustainable products when in actuality they can simply be better for people and better for the planet,” said Oliver Libby, Managing Partner, Hatzimemos/Libby. “LOLIWARE proves that aiming for high returns from high impact, socially responsible companies is not concessionary. We’re investing in and co-building companies that we believe are good for people, the planet, and investors alike.”
Nishan Degnarain, an award-winning International Development Economist who chairs the LSE’s Ocean Finance Initiative and was the former Chair of WEF’s Global Ocean Agenda Council, and who joins the LOLIWARE board said, “I joined the board because LOLIWARE is dedicated to leading the blue carbon economy with the proliferation of seaweed kelp forests to support a post-plastic world.” Degnarain advised Mauritius on its new Ministry of Ocean Economy, brokered the UN Declaration on Tuna Traceability, and was formerly at the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. He is the author of the book Soul of the Sea in the Age of the Algorithm.