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Manchester spin-out doubles its funding with a further £500,000 boost

Manchester 17th May 2023

Molymem which spun out of The University of Manchester in December 2022 with SEED equity of £500,000 led by Cambridge Angels has doubled its funding runway to over £1m with a further new investment from Green Angel Syndicate and Manchester based GC Angels. The Technology won WFI Emerging Technology Award in December 2021.

Molymem with its mission to enable cleaner water for the world's growing demand, has developed an energy-efficient and highly versatile membrane coating based around a material called molybdenum disulphide (MoS2), which is modified to create an innovative water filtration solution. This breakthrough technology promises to be both greener and cheaper where the company will be using the extra investment to help accelerate its business development plans, scale the technology platform and build out the team.

The technology comes from research and patented technology led by Prof. Rob Dryfe and Dr. Mark Bissett at The University of Manchester, working in partnership with innovation experts at the University’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC).

This team has used MoS2, a two-dimensional material that has physical properties complementary to those of graphene, the world’s first 2D material, originally isolated at The University of Manchester.

The SEED funding to date of £1m has all been via angel investors with the initial round in December 2022 lead by Cambridge Angels and the follow on headed by the Green Angel Syndicate.

Ray Gibbs, Chairman and Director at Molymem, said “this additional funding will enable the company to quickly scale operations and deliver on its mission. The Angel investor confidence in the core team, the technology and the market need for our solution is a powerful endorsement for the Molymem business.”

Dr. Mark Bissett Chief Scientific Officer and Co-founder Molymem Limited, & Reader in Nanomaterials, Dept. of Materials (University of Manchester) commented “this additional funding will allow us to accelerate our R&D program and expand to other 2D materials also covered in our patented technology, while also increasing the speed of our scale up of the technology.”

Richard Lydon, a leading filtration expert and senior advisor to Molymem during its funding cycle will become the company’s new CEO explained: “this is great news for an emerging innovation in the membrane space and the company is already started to engage with OEMs and end users. Climate change is driving the need for new solutions in membrane technology and Molymem goal is to work with the existing supply chains to bring a retrofittable membrane coating solution to market. More resilient, longer life and anti-fouling membranes will be required to maintain and improve water quality, reduce pollution, address Net Zero and build solutions for the developing world.”

Paul Anson, a member of Cambridge Angels and recently joined as NED of Molymem commented, “We are delighted to be involved as the lead initiator for funding of Molymem. We like the business model and commercial approach taken by what is ostensibly a University Spin-Out. This first tie up makes a strong strategic link between Manchester and Cambridge to enhance co-investment between different funding groups and the hope of more to come.”

“Green Angel Syndicate is delighted to be completing an investment in MolyMem. This revolutionary membrane technology has the capacity to transform water filtration to the benefit of vast numbers of people on the planet. Its potential importance cannot be overstated," comments GAS President and Founder, Nick Lyth. Marc Shirman, Head of Investment at GC Angels added: “The lack of pre-revenue investors in the UK remains a challenge for our early-stage ecosystem. GC's investment in Molymem’s innovative nano-technology illustrates our commitment to pre-seed investment. Molymem's particle filtration membrane product has the potential to solve the global problem of access to clean water for the disadvantaged parts of the world.”

“GC were able to follow management's journey at the GEIC leading to the commencement of commercialisation of their intellectual property. As lead investor, GC co-invested with Green Angel Syndicate combining to deliver both investment capital and industry focused business support to enable the management team to rollout of this innovative product internationally.”

Notes to Editor

1) Richard Lydon is a leading figure in the filtration, separation and membrane markets is joining Molymem as CEO as well as the board of Molymem to help the company develop and deepen its links in the market sectors.

2) Molymem Ltd. is a University of Manchester spin-out with its home at the Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre has developed and patented a new class of novel nanomaterial based-coatings applied to membranes for ultra-high filtration performance. The functionalised 2D materials are easily retrofitted onto existing membranes, utilising existing infrastructure and a large installed base. The initial focus is in the demand driven space of clean water, water reuse and species selectivity but with potential across numerous other industry sectors including air, gas cleaning and future clean energy sectors. Chosen routes to market will be via licence and royalty deals with membrane suppliers, original equipment manufacturers and system integrators.

3) Green Angel Syndicate (GAS) is the UK's largest network of specialist investors fighting climate change. GAS has over 350 members and has invested in 35 start-up and early-stage companies across the following sectors: energy, transport, buildings, food & agriculture, waste & recycling and environment.

4) GC Angels is a professional service driven by experienced equity specialists. With over 400 associate angels, institutional capital partners and in-house co-funds, it supports SME's to raise early-stage, scale-up and growth risk capital ranging from £25k - £2m. Anchored in Greater Manchester and publicly backed, GC Angels responds to the early-stage equity market across the North with an aim to scale and coordinate Business Angel activity through enablement and increased market access. The service builds upon key public/private partnerships, mobilising funds and private investors to address a crucial market gap for early-stage venture funding. More than a network, as a professional investor with funds, GC Angels can reach, prepare and pre-qualify investments across a wealth of markets.

5) Cambridge Angels is a leading UK business angel network providing smart capital from entrepreneurs to entrepreneurs. The collaborative Cambridge-based group, actively mentors and invests in innovative teams and their ideas, equipping generations of entrepreneurs to generate returns and help realise their full potential. The group has a strong ethos of backing merit and supporting entrepreneurship. Cambridge Angels members, most of whom are successful entrepreneurs, invest in a wide range of start-up and scale-up businesses with a particular focus on deep-tech, and tools and technologies supporting healthcare.

Figure above shows the clear effect to the water permeate of a Molymem applied selective coating to a membrane at nano scale


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