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Thursday 22 September 2022

Crowd filter in dosh to help Cleaner Seas make cleaner seas

logoIt’s the banner at the top of every page of Cornwall-based ‘greentech’ start-up Cleaner Seas Group’s (CSG) website advertising a Coldplay competition (now closed, by the way) that, for me, takes the sheen off what on the face of it is a valiant and well-meaning endeavour. And that is to sell as many washing machine filters as possible.

Perfectly timed to coincide with the latest conscience-pricking televisual feast from Sir David Attenborough, CSG has launched a crowdfunding campaign selling shares at £10 a pop to raise £700k for 11% of the equity at a pre-money valuation of £6.2m. As I write, and with 12 days to go, the campaign has already raised £771k, including an investment of £500k from an unnamed backer. CSG appears to have previously raised some £300k in angel and early stage rounds.

CSG alludes to no fewer than five founders, headed by CEO, Dave Miller, whose credentials include some 20 years with the Environment Agency where, oddly, his LinkedIn profile shows him as full-time Operations Manager. Miller is joined by marketeer Avril Greenaway (CMO) and LED technology designer and inventor, James Sirmon (CTO), along with a part-time commercial director and one unnamed founder.

And so to the proposition, a plastic box which, from the video clip, appears to be approximately the size and shape of a domestic bread-maker, containing a replaceable filter. You plug the water outlet of your washing machine into the box and the output hose into wherever your washing machine drains.

CSG claims that the filter will remove ‘up to 81%’ (but no mention of ‘as little as’) microfibres from the waste water. When the filter is full (about 100 washes) it is recycled by CSG along with the trapped microfibres. I couldn’t get access to CSG’s investment deck so I can’t tell you how much they charge for the filter. Neither can I find mention of where and how the box and filters are manufactured, how many boxes are in (I assume proof-of-concept) use, or how CSG’s claims have been verified.

Let me say I am not a climate change denier, but neither am I a fervent environmentalist (though I do try to do my bit with the basics). However, I am an arch sceptic (as regular readers will know) and I take few claims at face value, especially when wrapped in polished and emotion-tugging market-ese.

CSG may well have developed an innovative water filter. If so, I would expect ‘wet’ appliance manufacturers will come running to their door to licence the IP. If not, well, you can at least assuage your concerns on world pollution and buy one yourself.

Posted by: Anthony Miller at 09:33

Tags: funding   startup   greentech  

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