German sustainability startup Vyld closed its seed round with a seven-figure sum. In addition to funding from the German government and the EU, the founders are relying on their self-developed sustainable financing instrument, the Future Profit Partnership Agreement (FPPA). The current financing round enables this year’s market launch of the Kelpon, the world’s first tampon made from seaweed, as well as the development of the Algaeverse portfolio for B2B and B2C.
Ecopreneurs Ines Schiller and Melanie Schichan founded Vyld in 2021, and want to pursue their vision of an Algaeverse with circular products made from seaweed in a self-determined way. As a non-exit-oriented company, Vyld is an alternative to the typical VC start-up: a company in steward ownership that focuses on long-term sustainability – including economic sustainability.
“Tackling questions of ownership, power and financing is crucial to me as an entrepreneur. Business models create realities and extractive models do not only threaten the environment and health but also reproduce exploitative standards and anti-democratic tendencies. We want to counter this with a model that promotes creation instead of consumption, quality instead of quantity and triple top line instead of hypergrowth,” explained Vyld CEO Ines Schiller.
With its model, Vyld is particularly appealing to investors who want to invest their money in a regenerative way and critically question the maximum principle. Investor Kai Viehof commented: “Vyld shows that neither shareholder value-driven venture capital nor unbridled growth is needed to successfully implement sustainable ideas that really make a difference for our planet and our society. However, change can only become possible on a broad scale if investors also rethink and provide the necessary capital fairly and with reasonable return expectations.”
The investment will enable the further development of Vyld’s seaweed products: Following the successful consumer trial of the Kelpon with over 100 menstruators in fall 2023, the pilot phase of the Dyper has just started. The Dyper is part of the Windelwald (‘diaper forest’) cooperation with Goldeimer: a compostable diaper with an algae core, without plastic and superabsorbents. In the pilot project with 50 households, the radically sustainable diaper is being tested for its suitability in everyday life and as a humus fertilizer. The used diapers are composted under controlled conditions and a small forest is planted from the fertilizer – the diaper forest.