EF Polymer secures $4M to develop water absorbent from residues for farmers

Image credit: EF Polymer

Updated on 7am, May 17: Added a part of the sentence in red.

Okinawa-based EF Polymer, the Indian scientists-led startup developing polymer absorbent technology, announced on Thursday that it has secured 550 million yen (about $4 million US) in a Series A round. Participating investors are Universal Materials Incubator (UMI), Nishimoto Wismettac Holdings, MTG Ventures, Beyond Next Ventures, Lime Time Ventures, and Okinawa Development Finance Corporation. MTG Ventures and Beyond Next Ventures followed their seed investment in the startup.

Founded by Indian researchers who attended an accelerator program by at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST), EF Polymer has developed super absorbent polymer (SAP). Made from inedible parts of fruits such as orange peels,  the polymer is fully organic and biodegradable. When applied to farmland, it is expected to save about 40% of water consumption and 20% of fertilizer dispense, and increase yields by 10-15%.

Founders of EF Polumer. From left: CEO Narayan Lal Gurjar, COO Puran Singh Rajput

The company has sold about 100 tons of super absorbent polymers to date, mainly to the U.S., India, and Japan, and has successfully upcycled about 1,000 tons of crop residues, since about 10 tons of crop residues are used to produce one ton of the polymer product. The company boasted the product has been introduced into about 12,000 farm households in five countries.

The company will use the funds to expand its polymer production capacity, strengthen research and development, and prepare to meet global demand. They also aims to establish research and development capabilities for applications in fields beyond agriculture.

EF Polymer is one of the finalist at the Okinawa Startup Program 2019-2020; it also won the Carbon Tech award at the 2019 Climate Launchpad Award Grand Final.

via EF Polymer