One wants to see all of London’s iconic red buses run on coffee grounds; another has launched an app that removes the stigma surrounding STDs. These are the game-changing start-ups that caught our eye in June, and their creations could change the way we travel, stay healthy and, just as importantly, drink wine.
eto wine is the brainchild of award-winning industrial designer Tom Cotton. A fierce environmentalist, his initial interest in designing a product to help prevent wine wastage was sparked in 2011, following some shocking statistics: in the UK alone, 50 million litres of wine are poured away every year (see WRAP report EVA063).
Five years on from filing the initial patent for an airtight, reusable decanter, production of the product is being funded on Kickstarter, very enthusiastically – at the time of writing, eto wine has been pledged over £650,000 more than its initial goal. The product’s supporters are vocal about its effectiveness. Leading wine experts like Richard Hemming who have used the decanter attest that there is no discernible taste difference between fresh wine and that which has been stored in eto for seven days.
Halo Coffee is the creator of the first completely biodegradable compostable coffee capsule. The pods are a blend of bamboo and paper pulp, and are compatible with Nespresso machines. Created by judges of the UK Barista Championship, the coffee inside is ethically and sustainably sourced and served in a capsule that dematerialises within 90 days. A traditional wood-fired kiln in Italy is used to roast all the beans, which the brand says ‘results in coffee that is lower in acidity and higher in body‘.
According to Halo, over 13,500 coffee capsules are consumed every minute. However, over 30 billion coffee capsules in the world contain aluminium, rendering them non-recyclable. As staunch environmentalists, Halo is attempting to aggressively grow its business, and is seeking a £1.6m investment to do so.
The world’s first virtual sexual health clinic has arrived in the form of Biem. The new app allows users to talk with a sexual healthcare professional, get tested for STDs, share results, and be notified if a person you have been with tests positive in the future.
The New York-based start-up intends to end what they see as an environment of shame around STDs by encouraging sexual transparency – the idea that people should be open and honest about their sexual health, without fear of judgment.
The app guides users through a series of simple steps. Firstly, it asks a few basic questions about the user. They can then schedule a video visit with a sexual healthcare provider. After the video visit, the user will choose to have a lab technician take samples in the comfort of their own home, or go to a nearby lab. Once processed, the results will be sent to the app and users can choose to show their results to their partners, securely on their phone. Results cannot be sent to partners electronically. Multiple Biem users also have the option to connect with one another and be notified if one of their sexual partner(s) tests positive for any STD in the next six months.
In June, the service rolled out a limited launch in a controlled area in New York City to ensure the quality of its network of healthcare professionals.
The bio-bean company turns waste coffee grounds into biofuels and biochemicals. Founder and CEO Arthur Kay has had a big few years since starting the company in 2013; the bio-bean team has grown to over 40, he’s raised several million in financing and has built the world’s first coffee recycling factory. The award-winning entrepreneur operates on the ethos that there is no such thing as waste, just resources in the wrong place.
Half a million tonnes of spent coffee grounds are produced in the UK each year, most of which go to landfill. But bio-bean recognises they’re highly calorific and contain valuable compounds, making them an ideal feedstock from which to produce advanced biofuels.
Bio-bean caught our eye this month by announcing its hopes that eventually all of London's iconic red buses will run on fuel generated by coffee waste. It has unveiled a prototype coffee-run bus, which will be greener and cleaner than its traditional alternative.
Cult Ceramics’ designs are based on a traditional concept from Burgundy, France, but its contemporary Vinegar Vase would look at home in any modern kitchen. Food lover Jonathan Brown discovered live vinegar, the process of natural fermentation of wine into vinegar, on a trip to the French region several years ago. He adopted the process at home, but decided to extend his passion beyond personal use.
Brown teamed up with ceramics designer Billy Lloyd in July 2016, and together they produced the Vinegar Vase. This unique product is dually functional and stylish, and drew the attention of our editors at London Craft Week in May.