Biohm launches £1.25m funding drive
Biohm Limited has launched a £1.25m funding round to develop its bio-manufacturing technologies and scale up its research into revolutionary, laboratory-grown building products.
The London-based maker of sustainable construction materials is due to start production at Watchet in Somerset in September, supplying 20 homes a month, which will rise to 120. A second site in Newcastle upon Tyne is scheduled to begin operations in early 2021.
First off the factory line will be mycelium insulation panels made from mushroom roots – followed by semi-structural construction panels produced from food waste such as orange peel. The socially motivated firm is looking at further projects in other parts of the UK.
Biohm will use money raised through Seedrs to hire more scientists, engineers and designers and boost the research and development of its range of futuristic products. These include an interlocking construction system so houses can be built remotely and assembled on site.
The circular economy company aims to tackle the scourge of consumer waste by speeding up fungi’s ability to consume plastic, with the potential to transform the industry. Taking commercial and local-authority waste for use as raw material for its bio-manufactured products would generate additional revenues.
Biohm aims to expand through its profit-share agreements with local groups that are designed to boost skills and create long-term jobs, cut waste, promote entrepreneurship, fund regional initiatives and strengthen communities in the face of challenges such as COVID-19.
The bio-mimicry specialist is also seeking industry accreditations to advance its discussions with potential customers including UK and international contracting firms and two global technology giants, enhancing their sustainability. Reaching its £1.25m target would value Biohm at just under £10m.
The firm was founded by Egyptian design engineer Ehab Sayed, who was researching how buildings could mimic natural ecosystems. When architects applauded the environmental benefits and cost savings he unearthed, he set up in Open Cell’s shipping containers in west London, then recruited experts including an ex-NASA scientist.
Last year Biohm raised almost £600,000 in collaboration with the Onion Collective social enterprise, through Power to Change and the Waitrose & Partners Plan Plastic Challenge. Biohm is working with YMCA on the Newcastle bio-manufacturing facility.
Sayed said: “Our collaborations with social enterprises and local authorities put social impact at the heart of our business model through community profit share, so we can address startup scaling challenges very effectively. This generates rapid growth to meet demand for our materials and will establish Biohm as an IP-rich and research-driven company that quickly becomes self-sustaining.”