TIPA Corp. Ltd., an eco-friendly Israeli startup funded by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, plans to diversify the coverage of its biodegradable packaging solutions from its current focus on the food and beverage sector.
“The food and beverage industry is the top contributor to packaging waste, sharing 66 percent in volume and 50 percent in weight. Thus, naturally, TIPA aims to focus mainly on this segment, where majority of the problem exists,” co-founder and chief executive Daphna Nissenbaum told EJ Insight.
In the future the company will also explore opportunities in the cosmetics, pharmaceutical, homecare and non-food goods sectors. “The flexible packaging market was estimated at US$73 billion last year,” Nissenbaum said.
TIPA was founded in Israel in April 2010. Li’s Horizon Venture invested US$10 million in the company in April, after a US$1.5 million funding from GreenSoil Investments, a fund focusing on food and agricultural innovations, in May last year. Aviv Venture Capital is also one of TIPA’s investors.
“We aim to use the capital for expanding operations, increasing sales in existing territories, entering new territories and market segments,” Nissenbaum said. “We will also further invest in research and development for our next generation of products to offer a wider range of packaging solutions.”
TIPA now has 18 employees and consultants working in three development routes: bio-plastic research and development, applications development, and industrial process adjustment and development. The teams consist of experts in bioplastics, industrial machines, industrial processes, and food packaging.
No direct competitor
“Our competitors in the market usually offer basic solutions like shopping bags or trash bags,” Nissenbaum said, referring to Italy’s industrial group Novamont SpA and Germany’s BASF SE, the world’s largest chemical company.
However, TIPA does not operate within the realm of rigid packaging. There are no significant players in the market today offering full, biodegradable packaging solutions for the food sector, she said.
The company aims to enter the Chinese market in the near future, she said, without providing details.
TIPA is the Hebrew word for “a water drop”, thus encapsulating the company’s concept of a small quantity of substance and “dropping off the garbage”, indicating TIPA’s solution, according to its website.
Nissenbaum previously served as CEO of the Caesarea Center for Capital Markets and Risk Management at the Interdisciplinary Center in Israel and has held various management positions before starting TIPA.
Li’s Horizon Venture has already enjoyed a few successful exits in Israel. Its mapping company Waze was acquired by Google and its mobile app maker Onavo was sold to Facebook. Its other investments in Israel include computer image recognition developer Cortica Ltd., scheduling organizer app maker Meekan Ltd. and nanotech fiber developer NanoSpun Technologies Ltd..
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