Tuesday 28 May 2024, London, UK: Start-ups tackling some of the world’s biggest sustainability challenges have the chance to supercharge their business and pilot their technology with Amazon, as part of the third edition of the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator. The 15 starts-ups from across Europe will benefit from a four-week programme featuring expert-led workshops, specialised mentorship, a tailored curriculum and access to a network of entrepreneurs in the sustainability sector. This year, for the first time, they also have the opportunity to pitch their technology for a trial in Amazon’s European operations, opening doors to future partnerships and Europe-wide implementation, earning them up to £2m each.

The 15 selected start-ups span a diverse range of geographies and demographics, headquartered across 10 countries and together employing more than 600 people. From tackling issues arising from fast fashion, to reusable packaging and AI, the start-ups are focused on scaling their business in one of three categories: circular economy, energy in buildings, and packaging.

Since launching in 2022, the Accelerator has supported more than 25 start-ups across the UK and Europe, provided over £1 million in grants and credits, and helped participating businesses increase total sales on average by 700% and raise over £15 million to date.

This year, three UK start-ups join the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator: ACS Clothing, Cheesecake Energy, and Breathe Battery Technologies:

Glasgow-based ACS Clothing is a clothing renewal firm which processes six million items of clothing per year for returns, rental, subscription and resale through its cleaning and repair service. It is now Europe’s largest circular fulfilment fashion hub, and works with renowned brands and retailers including Chloé, The North Face, LK Bennett and Timberland, to extend the life of garments and minimise landfill waste.

“As pioneers of circular fashion fulfilment for over 25 years, ACS Clothing is driven by a mission to reshape the fashion industry from the traditional take-make-dispose model, towards a circular model that extends the life of materials and diverts clothing away from landfill,” said Andrew Rough, CEO of ACS Clothing. “We have already helped several leading fashion brands join the circular economy and strengthen their sustainability achievements. Joining the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator will equip us with the resources we need to scale-up and push on with transforming the global fashion economy."

Cheesecake Energy, a University of Nottingham spinout, has developed a technology that stores electricity in the form of compressed air and heat, reducing reliance on fossil fuels and the grid. In practice, its systems store surplus energy generated by a solar power plant during the day, to provide access to renewable energy for the site during non-solar producing hours. This improves the sites access to green energy and increases energy resilience.

Based in London, Breathe Battery Technologies has built software technology that can be used in any lithium-ion battery to enhance its performance and improve the charging time and lifecycle. Having recently partnered with Volvo Cars to reduce its electric vehicles’ charging time by 30%, Breathe Battery Technologies plays a key role in the clean energy transition by making electric mobility available to more people.

The Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is a four-week programme designed to help start-ups navigate the challenges of scaling a sustainability business. Participants will meet and work with experts in Amazon’s Sustainability, Climate Pledge Fund and Climate Pledge Friendly teams, attend workshops, receive mentorship and £10,000 worth of AWS Activate Credits.

For the first time this year, start-ups will have the opportunity to pitch to key decision makers for the chance to integrate their cutting-edge innovation directly into parts of Amazon’s business. During the four weeks, they will benefit from tailored support to help align them to Amazon’s needs and goals, following which they will pitch their pilots.

Three start-ups will be selected to partake in an eight to ten week programme to scope their pilot with the intention to launch, earning them a potential contribution from Amazon of between £50,000 to £2 million, depending on duration and scope.

I’m so excited to welcome 15 ambitious start-ups to join the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator this year, including our first ever Climate Tech Pilot,” said Zak Watts, Amazon’s International Director of Sustainability. The scope of businesses involved means we can support even more entrepreneurs to reach their potential. Not to mention the one-of-a-kind opportunity to test their technology directly with parts of Amazon’s business. It is our mission for the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator to be the best programme of its kind in the world for entrepreneurs to pioneer and scale cutting-edge sustainable solutions.”

This year’s expanded Amazon Sustainability Accelerator is a partnership with EIT Climate-KIC, Europe’s leading climate innovation agency, and innovation strategy consultants Founders Intelligence, part of Accenture.

The Amazon Sustainability Accelerator start-ups were chosen from hundreds of applications, with each of the selected start-ups bringing an innovative solution, strong sustainability credentials, and high growth potential to the table. The later-stage start-ups have moved beyond prototype testing and are working towards generating initial revenue and growing operations, having been selected from three key areas: circular economy, energy in buildings and packaging.

Ezra Konvitz, Director & Head of Accelerators, Founders Intelligence: “We love finding the ways major companies can work with leading start-ups creating the future. The incredible start-ups and technologies that are part of the Pilot Challenge cohort give cause for hope – if we can help them find the best ways to work with Amazon’s scale we’ll achieve a game-changing impact.”

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The 15 start-ups selected for the Amazon Sustainability Accelerator Climate Tech Pilot Challenge are:

Circular Economy – for start-ups creating solutions that extend the lifetime of products.
· ACS Clothing (UK) – Europe’s largest circular fulfilment fashion hub for brands and retailers and winners of the Kings Award for Excellence in Sustainable Development (2023)
· Breathe Battery Technologies (UK) – Specialists at increasing electric vehicle and consumer electronics battery charging speed and life expectancy. Volvo Cars recently invested in Breathe and will use its battery software to cut charging time for its next generation of electric vehicles by 30%.
· Spareka (FR) - All-in-one home repair specialists, Spareka sources spare parts for home appliances, ships these to the customer’s door, and has on-demand specialists to video call the customer and walk them through the repair process.
· Circu Li-Ion (LU & DE) – Circu L-Ion brings urban mining to life through an automated upcycling platform for end-of-life batteries. With multiple investment partnerships secured, Circu Li-Ion will facilitate a circular battery value chain in Europe ahead of the electric vehicle market’s expected surge to be worth a trillion-dollars by 2030.
· Twaice (DE) - Twaice has launched tools that analyse and forecast the lifecycle, faults and safety risks of battery systems, with customers including Audi and Daimler (Mercedes-Benz) .

Energy in Buildings – for start-ups helping buildings decarbonise through cutting-edge technology and materials.
· Cheesecake Energy (UK) – Pioneering green energy storage technology, turning renewable sources such as solar and wind farms into reliable and longer-lasting on-demand power. In 2023, Cheesecake Energy received £9.4 million in funding to install a microgrid in Colchester to help with local grid limitations.
· Phaidra (US) – Phaidra has developed an AI virtual operator for a variety of industrial building applications, such as in power plants, data centres, pharmaceutical labs and steel mills. The technology can dynamically optimise local control systems, such as stabilising temperatures, pressures and flow rates, and reducing total energy consumption.
· Unbound Potential (CH) – Unbound Potential has developed new battery technology for long duration energy storage, paving the way for batteries that offer a more efficient, affordable and sustainable way to store renewable energy for longer periods of time.
· Raicoon (AT) – Raicoon offers AI-powered software that detects errors and automates operations for solar farms to optimise and reduce energy waste. This solution can increase the power output of existing systems by 6% while reducing operational expenditure by 30-50%.
· HT Materials Science (IE) – Engineering innovative and smart heat transfer fluids for existing commercial and industrial heating and cooling systems that save costs and demonstrably reduce energy consumption.

Packaging – for start-ups developing innovative packaging materials.
· Hipli (FR) - Packaging provider for e-commerce businesses whereby empty bags can be sent back to businesses for cleaning and reuse after delivery. Hipli have signed contracts with more than 220 French and European e-commerce companies including Belgium’s leading postal operator Bpost.
· RePack (FI) - RePack enable retailers to ship products in bags that can be returned to any postbox anywhere in the world, having worked with a number of consumer brands and e-commerce portals including Royal Canin, Zalando and Otto.
· Re-Zip (DK) - Reusable packaging that rewards customers for returning, often in the form of a voucher for the webshop which they have ordered from.
· Opopop (FR) - Reusable and returnable packaging company that uses surplus waterproof materials from the textile industry (solid, washable and repairable) to build long-lasting products.
· KIUD (EE) - KIUD have developed a durable packaging solution made from 100% textile fibres that can be re-used and recycled via conventional textile waste streams. Compared to cardboard, KIUD’s packaging reduces water consumption by 89%, CO2 by 82% and land use by 86%.