CustoMem wins £100K 1st Prize in Bio-start competition

CustoMem wins £100K 1st Prize in Bio-start competition

SynbiCITE and Rainbow Seed Fund congratulate CustoMem as winners of the 1st Prize in the Bio-start competition for companies using engineering biology to solve significant global problems. The winning team, along with other award recipients, was chosen last night after a final pitch and judging session chaired by Sir Richard Sykes, former Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline.

As the winning team, CustoMem will receive a £100k equity-free cash award, sponsored by SynbiCITE and Rainbow Seed Fund.

Lack of access to clean water is predicted to affect 47% of the world’s population by 2030. CustoMem tackles this problem by targeted capture of micro-pollutants from industrial wastewater, using novel biomaterials produced with engineered cellulose-producing bacteria. These micropollutants are persistent and energy intensive to remove with current technology. The captured micro-pollutants are then repurposed into high-value products. CustoMem’s solutions are simple, cost competitive, plug-and-play and low maintenance, providing peace of mind to customers as they fulfil sustainability commitments and regulations.

‘Last night’s event was a testament to the innovation and ongoing growth of the synthetic biology sector, and we are delighted to recognise the achievements of all the winning teams through these awards’ said Dr Stephen Chambers, CEO, SynbiCITE. ‘The success of the first Bio-start competition illustrates the wealth of promising start-ups with potentially sector-changing innovations, and we look forward to welcoming competitors for next year’s event. I would also like to thank all our sponsors, mentors and judges, without whom this competition would not have been possible.’

The two other Growth Awards were won by:

-Breaking New Ground SynBio Start-up 2017, Sponsored by Rainbow Seed Fund, won by Colorifix 
 -Medtech SynBio Start-up 2017, Sponsored by Whitecity I-HUB, won by Quethera 


Bio-start is an annual competition designed to commercialise the engineering of biology, including a 10-week accelerator programme aiming to help start-ups forge ahead in commercialising their technology.

Oliver Sexton, Investment Director at Rainbow Seed Fund, commented: ‘All five finalists demonstrate that engineering biology is delivering compelling solutions to global challenges. The three winning companies especially impressed the judges with their scalable ideas and highly capable teams delivering complex technology.’