Australia’s most impactful eco start-ups recognised

Professional services firm KPMG Australia has unveiled the four finalists of the KPMG Nature Positive Challenge, and the winner of the ultimate prize.

The competition, launched on 31 March 2022, aims to recognise and help ventures that accelerate positive outcomes for nature and biodiversity.

The four finalists were:

  • Agronomeye – for its agri Digital Twin and “source of truth” technology to measure and optimise “natural capital”.
  • AirSeed – for its tree-planting drones, machine learning and biotechnology seed pods to regenerate land at scale.
  • Ecocene – for its technology toolkit (SaaS) that delivers ecological insights and intelligence to accelerate nature positive outcomes.
  • ULUU – for its carbon negative and home compostable plastic alternative made from sustainably farmed seaweed.

The team from ULUU, piectured here, were announced as the overall winner, and they will receive the inaugural KPMG Nature Positive Prize of $100,000. All four finalists will also each receive access to a pool of tailored support valued at $200,000 to help scale their businesses, drawing on KPMG’s expertise in consulting, tax, and accounting services. They will also have the opportunity to feature their solutions and expand their networks with beneficial industry, business, science, knowledge, and community partners at a KPMG Nature Positive Showcase event to be held in September 2022.

“ULUU stood out because of its unique application of synthetic biology to solve a massive environmental challenge: plastic,” Andrew Yates, CEO of KPMG Australia, said. “The judging panel was impressed by the science behind ULUU, and by the team’s approach to building a carbon-negative supply chain with positive social and economic impacts.

“The challenge created tremendous interest and response,” Yates added. “The entries we received covered a wide range of nature-positive solutions and sectors, including Indigenous fire management projects, plant-based proteins, AI and blockchain eco-technologies. I would encourage those who were not successful this year to continue their work and commitment as there is no doubt every single venture has the potential to shape a nature-positive future.”

Carolin Leeshaa, KPMG Australia‚Äôs Global Leader Natural Capital & Biodiversity, and one of the judges of the KPMG Nature Positive Challenge, added, “What really stood out for us was the remarkable innovative spirit of Australian start-ups and their commitment to make it real. The KPMG Nature-Positive Challenge is a celebration of the outstanding entrepreneurship, ingenuity, and vision of all Australian ventures. The potential has only just begun to be tapped. What this also shows is that together, our actions can move us forward towards a nature-positive future.”

ULUU co-founder Dr Julia Reisser said that being awarded the KPMG Nature Positive $100,000 Prize money would make a huge positive difference to the next vital stage of development of the business.

“As a young start-up with a mission to replace plastics with materials that are good for the world, to win the KPMG Nature Positive Prize is a huge endorsement of our vision,” Dr Reisser said. “The prize money, and the advisory support from KPMG, will be instrumental in helping us hone our strategy and ensure ULUU delivers the significant environmental and social impacts we believe it can.”