Succeeding in creating biodegradable plastics, the startup has received $1 million worth of capital.
‘Shark Tank’, a famous TV show, came back on July 4, when ‘sharks’ and the audience were attracted by a special startup project on making plastic beads which are biodegradable.
iGreen’s biodegradable beads are created from wheat and tapioca starch on the basis of Bio-PBS and PBAT.
The material plastic beads have obtained TUV certificate, the worldwide product safety certification, on biodegradability, heavy metal particles and eco-toxins. In Vietnam, only four units have the certificate so far. Two of them have commercialized their products, including iGreen in HCMC and another one in Hanoi.
iGreen has three founders. One of them is a Vietnamese research and development expert, who graduated from school in Italy and owns two patents in biotechnology.
According to iGreen’s founder Doan Van Tung, depending on the apps, biological material granules can create different finished products with three technologies, including blowing injection, injection molding and molding. The company has succeeded in selling some final products – bags and straws – to a restaurant chain and 5-star hotel chain.
The startup not only aims at making finished plastic products, but also wants to provide materials which are biological plastic beads to other manufacturers in the market. It wants to call for investment capital to build a factory near Cat Lai Port which make products for export.
iGreen plans to use 50 percent of production capacity to serve domestic clients, while the remaining 50 percent is for export. The startup has 30 clients using its finished plastic products. However, when it makes plastic beads, it will only provide biological plastic beads to the market.
Talking about iGreen’s advantages, Tung said biodegradable plastic bags imported from China are 25 micron thick, while iGreen’s products can be only 18 microns thick.
Therefore, iGreen products’ weight is much lighter. One kilogram of material beads could be used to make 120 plastic bags instead of 100 as of other manufacturers. This characteristic alone allows iGreen to make a profit of 10-25 percent higher than other products thanks to the material.
A report about the synthetic plastics market of the Vietnam Plastic Association showed that Vietnam imported 6.61 million tons of plastics in 2020 and revenue of the whole industry was $22.18 billion. Of this, plastic packages accounted for 38 percent.
The current situation, plus the fact that there are no similar products in the market, are the reasons for iGreen’s founders to believe that the startup has the opportunity to ‘change the game’ and squeeze into the plastic industry.
Shark Lien decided to invest VND25 billion in the startup in exchange for 49 percent of the startup’s shares.
An initiative to form a supermarket coalition is being developed with the support of the EU and the German Government, aiming to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags and protect the environment.
BioPlas is one of the most interesting and inspiring projects of the Shark Tank TV Show series, where startups meet "sharks" to seek investors.