#EarthDay special -10 UK startups making a difference

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And for the last story today on Earth Day we are going to salute ten UK startups that are making a difference. Most of them are focusing on climate change, but the UN Global Goals are a lot wider than just reducing carbon emissions, and this list reflects that.

They have all been featured in Transition Earth since we began our journey in February, and we think they all have the potential to do great things

1 Hoxton Farms 

This London-based startup recently raised £2.7 million seed funding in a bid to solve the big issue that dogs the alternative meat market – fat. According to Hoxton Farms, fat defines how meat looks, cooks, and tastes – and it does this in a way that cannot be replicated by plant oils currently used in meat alternatives.

Many meat alternatives use plant oils as a substitute for animal fat. However, some, especially palm and coconut oil, can have a damaging environmental impact. 

Dr Max Jamilly, Co-Founder of Hoxton Farms, said, “We want to bring back fat: it’s the single most important ingredient in the meat that we eat. The technology we’re developing will allow us to customise fat for any application – and we’re making it healthier too. Cultivated fat is the hero ingredient for meat alternatives, and it will solve a huge problem in this growing industry. We believe the future of meat alternatives will be a blend of plant-based protein and cultivated fat.”

2 Tred 

One of the key trends in the coming years is certain to be green banking? How can we know that the transactions we make are green and not damaging to the environment?

Keen to fill the gap is Leeds-based startup Tred, which has just raised more than £500K on Crowdcube to enable it to take its offering live next year.

Essentially Tred is a debit card /app system that enables its user to spend more sustainably. Its core feature is the card’s ability to track, trace and reduce the carbon footprint. It analyses a person’s purchases, assesses their carbon footprint and even makes suggestions as to how they can shop more sustainably.

There are other green features too such as the company will offset carbon expenditure by planting trees on a person’s behalf. And yes, even the company’s card are made from recycled ocean plastic, 

3 Clim8 Invest

Clim8 Invest is an investment platform that helps consumers invest in companies focused on tackling climate change. Individuals can choose between ISAs and general investment accounts and choose how cautious or adventurous they want the investment to be. 

All the companies it invests in are sustainability game-changers in the cleantech, clean energy, smart mobility, circular economy, clean water and sustainable food niches. 

The company recently announced the launch of an app as well as raising nearly £5.8 million in funding.

4 Minor Figures 

Minor Figures is the leading UK-based oat milk brand. The founders, who began by selling iced oat milk coffee in cans, but then realised there was a growing demand for oat milk in a cartoon. Fast forward a few years and the company has captured a significant chunk of the UK alt-milk market and has expanded to the US and Australia.

5 Furthr  

Furthr has developed an innovative app-based tool that enables consumers to ‘plant trees, sponsor renewable energy and reduce your own emissions from the comfort of your own phone.’

It is a subscription-based model and the fee goes towards funding reforestation and renewable energy projects. Yet at the same time Furthr makes the decarbonising fun and informative with advice on living more sustainable lives (it has a personalised carbon tracker) coupled with rewards and competitions.

6 The Vegan Kind 

TheVeganKind (TVK) is an online supermarket that had an excellent 2020 and off the back of that success has now secured £3.5m in Series A funding from Literacy Capital Plc.

It claims that the raise is the biggest funding round ever for a vegan retail company in the UK. It has earmarked the money to support additional retail and consumer experience to help the existing team take the business forward.

Today the company has announced a partnership with Ecologi, and is committed to planting a tree for every order made in TVK Supermarket. It is also seeking B-Corp status.

7 Ripple Energy

Ripple Energy is an innovative startup that enables homes and businesses to part-own large-scale wind and solar farms. The company which is developing its first wind farm in Wales then passes the savings on to its customers. 

8 Hello Lamp Post

Hello Lamp Post is a pioneering  UK company that has developed an infrastructure for canvassing the opinions of local communities. The process is simple. You scan the code or send a message via SMS, Facebook Messenger or Whatsapp and then the Lamp Post replies. It then asks you a series of questions and you reply via your phone.

It might sound a little sci-fi or even a tad Orwellian, but over the eight years of its existence, Hello Lamp Post has become an important way that councils and city developers have been able to access the opinions of the people who use their services.

The company says that its focus is to make cities smarter, not smart cities, with city plans driven and shaped by their end-user.

9 Good Box 

GoodBox, a tech-for-good company from Manchester ,has developed contactless digital payments units which enable people to donate to charities in the same way they pay for items in stores. 

It has two key products. The GBx Podium, a free-standing unit, which – with the GBx Core at its centre – designed to enable effortless contactless fundraising in museums and large public spaces. It has been sited in supermarkets like Sainsbury’s and food outlets like Pret A Manger.  And also the Goodplate which is created to work for religious organisations collecting funds at their services.

The company has raised £9 million in funding with among those investing is tennis star and Wimbledon champion Andy Murray. 

10 Desolenator 

Ok so the company behind this unique solar-powered water filtration system is not entirely British, more Anglo-Dutch-Indian but it makes the cut as it has had staff in the UK for some time.

The company has been on a journey. It began with a crowdfunding campaign several years ago and has now signed a deal with beer maker Carlsberg Group to create a  water desalination plant powered by solar energy in a small east Indian town.



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