Uvera is a Saudi Arabia-born clean tech startup that aims to reduce food waste for consumers and retailers.
A Saudi Arabia-based deep tech startup that adds value to industrial wastes by developing environmentally friendly materials. polymeron.com
Polymeron is a company on a mission to restore the environment that we live in by developing and commercializing innovative materials through a circular economy framework. “We up-cycle industrial organic waste turning it into valuable products,” Martin Ibarra, co-founder and CEO of Polymeron, says. “We currently use some of the waste generated by date farms and by the poultry industry to produce biodegradable and compostable plastic formulations that can be used in a wide range of applications. Our materials can be processed in standard plastic extruders, injectors, and film-blowing machines, but they don’t generate microplastic pollution.
Polymeron is not only manufacturing innovative bio-based materials, but building a new green industry in Saudi Arabia.” For Ibarra, building Polymeron is the first experience of starting up a tech-based business, and when asked about the main challenges he faced on this journey, he first mentions a few obstacles that can be considered common for many founders - prototyping, scaling up, and outsourcing. However, starting up a tech business in Saudi Arabia, Ibarra admits, brings a layer of a burdensome administrative bureaucracy to this mix.
“There is a clear intention to help entrepreneurs [in Saudi Arabia] and facilitate these procedures, but it seems that there’s still not a unified consensus across all government entities, and some simple tasks end up consuming just too much time which quite often translates in frustration,” he notes. “The reason for that is, I think, that the ecosystem is new, which brings challenges, but certainly, also opportunities.” It’s those prospects that is pushing Ibarra and his company forward then, with him noting that the plastic industry in Saudi Arabia is more open to innovations than their global counterparts.
“In Saudi Arabia, I found the support to bring the technology forward, and this support didn’t come only from one placem or only in the form of money (which is important, but not enough),” he says. “In addition to the Entrepreneurship Center at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and its Taqadam accelerator program, [chemical manufacturing company] SABIC and Tanmiah Food Company have also been great partners helping us to achieve success. It is indeed a very good sign that big companies that are not traditionally involved in the startup ecosystem are so interested in engaging and supporting new enterprises.”
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