Intesa Sanpaolo host circular economy startup event

This week Intesa Sanpaolo’s London Hub hosted startups pitching on everything from open source vehicle platforms to edible packaging and blockchain-powered supply chains, as investors and business leaders convened for the first circular economy startup event.

The StartUP initiative is a long-running programme from the Italian banking group, providing a platform for collaboration and investment in innovative businesses that are developing new technologies or practices.

This 94th edition of the StartUP Initiative was unique in that it was the first to focus on the circular economy. As such, the eight businesses pitching during the day showcased an innovative product or business model that could support the transition to an economy that is regenerative and restorative by design.

Desolenator, one of the startups pitching on the day
Desolenator, one of the startups pitching on the day

Intesa Sanpaolo have placed themselves as pioneers from the financial sector in helping to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. The banking group is the first and only from its sector to become a Global Partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and this level of ambition was echoed by Chief Innovation Officer Maurizio Montagnese who opened the day. Montagnese stated that fostering circular economy innovation is part of Intesa Sanpaolo’s “commitment towards monitoring the great trends that will change our economy and our society in the not so distant future.”

Panel discussions set the context for the day, featuring representatives from the World Economic Forum, European Investment Bank, London Waste and Recycling Board, PA Consulting, Circularity Capital, The Circular Way, PGGM and Intesa Sanpaolo.

The vibrant pitch session featured startups from the mobility, built environment and fast moving consumer goods sectors, among others.

Intesa Sanpaolo StartUP Initiative

Bid to Trip, the first auction platform that allows travellers bid for and win unsold luxury travel packages from around the world

Desolenator, uses solar energy to purify water from any source, including sea water

ECOR, a strong, versatile, and sustainable alternative to materials such as wood, composites, aluminium and plastic, obtained from recycled cellulose fibre

OSVehicle, the first hardware open source platform for the production of vehicles

Ooho, edible drinking water container made of seaweed

Personal Factory, retail production of powdered construction materials in less than 6 square metres

Provenance, an app that helps businesses test the traceability and transparency of their distribution chain

Stuffstr, an app that provides information on the places where items can be reused or recycled.

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The Author

Joe Iles

Joe Iles

I'm Editor in Chief of Circulate and Digital Architect at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

When I'm not discussing the circular economy, I also love talking about digital media and online trends, memes, music, bad films and good beer.

You can find me on twitter @joeiles or email joe[at]

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