Sustainable foam made from agricultural waste: Groam wins CHF 150,000

St. Gallen/Zurich/Lausanne – Groam is revolutionizing the polymer foam industry by developing sustainable foam solutions. The Zurich-based startup is inspired by food technology and uses its own technology to froth agricultural waste such as fruit and grain. The resulting bio-based and biodegradable foam solutions can be used for single-use products such as plant substrate or packaging. Groam will use the CHF 150,000 to get business expertise for a seed round.

Polymer foam, commonly used for insulation and shock absorption, causes plastic pollution. Plant-based polymers and compostable solutions are on the rise, but these solutions can be up to three times more expensive. They also lack flexibility and resilience and cannot be easily recycled. Groam addresses these challenges and enters the growing polymer foam market – which today is more than
$115 billion and made from 99% petrochemicals – to bring lighter, stronger and more sustainable materials to people.

Biomass as a renewable resource
The Zurich-based startup uses biomass waste streams from agriculture – such as abundant fruit or grain sources – as a renewable resource and processes them into proprietary materials before blending them with gas in its patented foaming technology. The resulting sustainable foam products can be used as plant substrates and composted after harvest. Groam is also testing whether its product can be used as a fertilizer.

Groam’s core team includes Dr. Zuzana Sediva (Founder and CEO) and Sophie Grimm (Production Manager). Based on a dissertation by Sediva, the two have developed a new type of propellant for biomaterials and a reactor for its production. Groam’s proprietary technology allows them to alter the cellular architecture of foamed products.

To bring the product to market, Groam is looking for partners from the agribusiness and polymer foam industries, and the team is speaking to foam end users across all sectors. With this additional expertise and the support of Venture Kick, Groam will drive business development and product development to win the first pilot projects before the company goes into seed phase.

“Venture Kick forced us to go out of the university lab instead of ‘out of the garage’ and learn about the industry and the existing supply chain. This has helped us see the scale of what we are building and the importance of building our business case,” said Dr. Zuzana Sediva, Founder and CEO of Groam. (Groam/mc)