‘Unprinter’ startup raises fresh £500k for £1m haul
University of Cambridge spin-out, Reduse, which has developed a technology to remove print from paper allowing it to be reused, has raised £500,000 in seed investment from Cambridge Enterprise, the university’s commercialisation arm, and the University of Cambridge Enterprise Fund III.
It brings the year-old startup’s initial venture funding to nearly £1 million. Reduse will use the funding to further develop the first ‘Unprinter.’
Reduse’s technology uses lasers to remove print from laser-printed and photocopied paper, a process that can be repeated several times without damaging the fibres of the paper. The paper is eventually recycled, but not before reducing a business’s paper costs by as much as 40 per cent.
Unprinting fits into any office environment, is easy to implement requiring little or no change in how people work, and cuts CO2 emissions by 80 per cent compared to recycling by reducing the pulping, heating and chemicals needed for recycling.
While industry printing giants have experimented with invisible inks and other forms of unprinting, Reduse’s technology does not rely on the use of specialty inks that vanish over time or the purchase of special printers and compatible ‘erasing’ machines. Reduse technology works on standard laser-jet and copy machine toner.
“It is our goal to allow the reuse of paper, eliminating the need for recycling,” said Hidde-Jan Lemstra, CEO and co-founder of Reduse.
“Cambridge Enterprise and Park Walk Advisors, which manages the University of Cambridge Enterprise Fund III, share this vision and are important partners as we continue to develop this technology.”
Cambridge Enterprise investment manager Mike Arnott will join the Reduse board. He said: “We have been observing Reduse make impressive progress in their pre-funding stage. With such an enormous opportunity and a strong team, we’re looking forward to working with them.”
Stuart Evans, chairman and co-founder of Reduse and formerly CEO of Cotag International, Plastic Logic and Novacem said: “Unprinting is a unique, intuitive solution to a global problem. With a lot of interest from a very diverse customer base, I believe we are on the right track to developing something that will change the way we think about using paper.”
“Over the course of the coming months, we will be working on prototype development and further engagement with customers” said Hidde-Jan Lemstra, “while continuing our conversations with some of the biggest printer manufacturers in the world.”
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Reduse CEO, Hidde-Jan Lemstra.