Sharechat Logo

Cleantech start-up Mint Innovation raises $5.2M to prepare for commercial deployment

Tuesday 11th December 2018

Text too small?

Cleantech start-up Mint Innovation has raised almost $5.2 million from mostly Kiwi investors as it starts preparing for commercial deployment. 

The biotech firm has developed techniques using chemistry and microbiology to recover valuable metals from electronic waste, which makes it easier for the recyclers to secure as much value as they can. Mint Innovation has been running a pilot project in Auckland and now wants to scale up with a view to launching commercial operations in 2020. 

Chief executive Will Barker said New Zealand has been a good starting point to prove the technology, but that the funds raised will go to deploying a city-scale plant in the likes of Sydney or Melbourne.

"We're able to build a plant for them at a low cost to address a whole city," Baker told BusinessDesk. "Further development work needs to be done and certain optimisation work needs to completed."

Australia is an attractive market with its strong government-led management systems for electronic waste and state-mandated collection schemes, he said. 

"This investment is about getting us to that commercial point."

Venture capital firm Movac, existing backers Tuhua Ventures and WNT Ventures were among investors in New Zealand and Singapore who participated in the capital raise.

Baker said there was a lot of appetite among local early-stage investors who missed out on LanzaTech, and he noted his time at that carbon-recycling firm probably opened some doors. 

"New Zealand's traditionally considered a challenging place to raise the $2-5 million type investments you need for a technology like ours, but there was a lot of appetite out there and it definitely feels pretty buoyant," he said. 

Early-stage investors have been focused on digital start-ups for the past decade, but there was a resurgent interest in biotech firms, he said. 

"The deeper, more IP-intensive plays seem to be becoming increasingly interesting for the local markets," Baker said. 

The company is optimistic about the timing of its commercial launch. Baker points to the growing legislative tailwind to clean up the mess created by electronic waste, combined with traditional international dumping grounds like China closing its borders to that waste.

Add the proliferation of devices such as smart-phones and an accelerating inbuilt obsolescence and that creates an opportunity for Mint Innovation. 

"When it comes to e-waste alone, approximately 50 million tonnes will be generated worldwide this year, with the metallic value alone estimated to be US$47 billion," Baker said. "This includes US$22 billion in gold, found primarily in printed circuit board."  


  General Finance Advertising    

Comments from our readers

No comments yet

Add your comment:
Your name:
Your email:
Not displayed to the public
Comments to Sharechat go through an approval process. Comments which are defamatory, abusive or in some way deemed inappropriate will not be approved. It is allowable to use some form of non-de-plume for your name, however we recommend real email addresses are used. Comments from free email addresses such as Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc may not be approved.

Related News:

NZD headed for 0.6% weekly gain against greenback
PREVIEW: RBNZ tipped to keep cash rate at 1.75%, reiterate next move could be up or down
Sky TV hires Deloitte partner as fill-in CFO
Vector fined $3.6 mln in industry first
SIS Group to partner with Platform 4 Group
Dry weather cutting dairy production, boosting power costs
22nd March 2019 Morning Report
NZ dollar dips back below 69 US cents, focus shifting to RBNZ
Top Energy's geothermal expansion to cut lines charges
MARKET CLOSE: NZ shares rise on Fed restraint, local GDP growth; Auckland Airport slides

IRG See IRG research reports