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Our top 5 start-ups of the month: February 2017

If you haven’t yet tried a cultured butter cheddar and kraut croissant, you don’t know what you’re missing out on.

From introducing children to the circular economy to introducing asexual people to one another, the start-ups that caught our eye in February are, as ever, a varied bunch with one thing in common: the potential to positively impact consumers’ lives.

5. ecoBirdy

A sobering fact about plastic children’s toys: 80% end up in landfills, incinerators or oceans. Antwerp-based ecoBirdy wants to see this figure reduced, so it’s designed a range of colourful children’s furniture – unveiled at Maison & Objet in January – made from recycled plastic toys. The pieces are educational as well as functional, with the speckled finish of the soft-formed chairs, round-edged tables and rhino-shaped lamps helping children to recognise a recycled material.

4. Vitruvian Man

Luxurious and organic skincare is no longer exclusive to women. So says organic male grooming brand Vitruvian Man, which was founded in Hong Kong in 2017 with a “deep commitment” to sustainability. In February, it launched its capsule collection with two products – an anti-pollution cleanser and a moisturiser with SPF 20. Both are designed according to the specific needs of men’s skin, which tends to be more prone to dehydration and dryness.

3. ACEapp

Its goal, when it launched in June 2017, was to become the first social network for people who identify as asexual. By January, ACEapp – which has the tagline ‘cake is better than sex’ – had been downloaded 10,000 times. Currently available on Android only, ACEapp – which allows members to search for others based on location, gender and age – is expected to launch an iOS version imminently.

2. Woodoo

The city of tomorrow, says Woodoo, will be made from wood that’s “dense and carbon neutral”. And it’s in a good position to know, for the Paris-based start-up has created a new wood material (from the molecular level, no less) that’s 300% stiffer than native wood, fire-retardant and waterproof. And because its carbon footprint is half that of concrete, and 130 times lower than steel, it has the potential to become one of the 21st century’s most performative materials.

1. High Mood Food

Fermented food, which helps to promote gut health, is where it’s at right now. Capitalising on this trend is High Mood Food, a ‘pure food café’ that opened in central London in September 2017. Kefirs, superfood lattes and, wait for it, cultured butter cheddar and kraut croissants are all on the menu, which was developed by founder Ursel Barnes – who, before opening High Mood Food, had a career in the financial sector.

Stylus members can keep track of the most innovative new businesses, as identified by our in-house experts every month, with the Stylus Start-Up Index.