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Bioplastics manufacturer RWDC Industries raises $133m in Series B funding round

“We have had a global view of the plastic crisis since our founding.”

Singapore-headquartered biopolymer specialist RWDC Industries has announced the closing of a US$133 million two-stage Series B funding round.

The company will also plan to expand its manufacturing operations in the US.

Co-founded by CEO Dr. Daniel Carraway and Executive Chairman Roland Wee, RWDC develops innovative biopolymer material solutions – including, polyhydroxyalkanoates or PHAs. PHAs are naturally produced by microbial fermentation of plant-based oils or sugars and are recognised as the only commercially viable biodegradable bioplastic.

Primarily produced today from used cooking oil, RWDC’s PHA is certified by TÜV AUSTRIA @TUVAUSTRIAGroup to be fully biodegradable in soil, water, and marine conditions – leaving no toxic residue, the company claimed. According to the company, PHA will help to improve the climate, with less GHG emissions.

It will also improve human health and the health of our ecosystems, with no endocrine disrupting chemicals and no harmful micro-plastic waste. In 2018, RWDC’s proposal to use PHA to start replacing single-use plastics won the inaugural Liveability Challenge, presented by Temasek Foundation.

As well as having a site in Singapore, the company also has operations in Georgia, US.

“We are grateful and excited to have the support of world-class investors who share our urgent mission of solving the global challenge of single-use plastic,” said Carraway, who is based in Georgia, US. “This investment will help us significantly increase our production capacity so that we can meet needs of brand owners who want to improve the lives of their customers by offering materials that have a positive effect on human health, while improving environmental stewardship.”

“We have had a global view of the plastic crisis since our founding,” said Wee, who is based in Singapore.  “Consistent with that, we’ve planted a flag in both Asia and the United States, and we look forward to expanding our manufacturing of this innovative solution in Georgia. Right now, the COVID-19 pandemic presents an unprecedented crisis, but we also recognise that, for many years, we’ve been headed toward an existential threat to our individual health and our planet due to pervasive and mounting plastic pollution. It must be addressed immediately and with a solution at industrial scale. That’s what RWDC can do.”

The new investment was co-led by Vickers Venture Partners (a global venture capital firm); Flint Hills Resources (a leading energy and resources company); CPV/CAP Pensionskasse Coop (the pension fund of Switzerland’s largest retail company); and International SA (a fund linked to Interogo Holding AG).

Other participating investors include existing investors Eversource Retirement Plan Master Trust (the pension fund of Eversource Energy, a Fortune 500 company); and WI Harper Group (a pioneer of US-Asia cross-border VC investing).

“RWDC exemplifies the kind of company we support – passionate about problem solving and creating positive social impact. We believe RWDC has the potential to make an enormous difference in solving the global plastics problem, and we’re proud to continue supporting the company and its leadership,” said Dr. Finian Tan, Founder and Chairman of Vickers Venture Partners.

RWDC will use the funding to meet growing demand for PHA, including by expanding the company’s production capacity with a new facility in Athens, Georgia. Reflecting RWDC’s own mission of creating a sustainable, earth-friendly solution to plastics pollution, RWDC is repurposing an idled factory originally constructed in the late 1960s to use as its new production facility in Athens, which will bring 200 new jobs to the community in northeastern Georgia. RWDC will also use the new funds to conduct research and development efforts.

“RWDC Industries is a perfect example of Georgians’ creative approach to solving problems and finding great success, thanks in part to state resources like our public university system,” said Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. “It’s great to see a Georgia company continue to find ways to make a difference and create innovative opportunities for hardworking Georgians.”

“We are excited to see RWDC expand its operations in Athens and add a substantial number of new well-paying jobs,” said Athens-Clarke County Mayor, Kelly Girtz. “Athens is the home of the University of Georgia, and we have a long record of supporting innovation and industry. Like communities across America and the world, we want to see a reduction in plastic pollution, and we have high hopes that RWDC, with the help of the Athens community at their new facility, will be able to solve that problem.”

If you were interested in this bioeconomy story, you may also be interested in the ones below.

Read: Pyrowave closes Series B led by Sofinnova Partners and Michelin

Read: European Bioplastics slams EASAC report on bio-based materials

Read: European Green Deal: Bioplastics to play a crucial role in making the deal become reality.

Read: European Commission takes aim at ‘greenwashing’ in new circular economy action plan

Read: Bioeconomy policy monitor

Read: Bioplastics to ‘play key role’ in implementation of circular economy and EU environmental directives.

Read: USDA proposes new GM rule.

Read: USDA amends its guidelines for designating bio-based products.

Read: European Commission urges industry to do more to boost recycled plastics market.

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