Congratulations to the 2013 Top 10 LAUNCH Systems Challenge Innovators

September 23, 2013
Posted in
September 23, 2013 lena

Congratulations to the 2013 Top 10 LAUNCH Systems Challenge Innovators

Ambercycle Recycling
Artificial Honey Bee Silks by CSIRO
BARKTEX by Bark Cloth Ltd
Benign by Design by University of California at Santa Barbara
Biocouture Ltd
Blue Flower Initiative by Eileen Fisher Inc
Flax Fibers by CRAiLAR
Geckskin by Felsuma LLC
Mushroom Materials by Ecovative Design LLC
Qmilk by Qmilch IP GmbH

The public vote was one of several criteria that informed the selection of the LAUNCH Systems Challenge finalists. With special thanks to our other highly curated innovations: Lulan/WE'VE, NVMINE by dMASS and Kumaon Earthcraft Self-Reliant Cooperative.



Ambercycle plastic bottles to polyesterAmbercycle is a remarkable new technology that harnesses engineered enzymes to degrade plastic bottles, such as PET soda bottles, and transform them into PTA (purified terephthalic acid). PTA is the raw material in polyester, which is used in multiple products, from cars to clothing.

Ambercycle is an innovation looking to become a business. They are at the stage of building a go-to-market team.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information on Ambercycle plastic bottles to polyester

CSIRO’s artificial silk

This innovation, bio-synthetic silk, is produced by fermentation of honeybee cocoon silk within genetically engineered bacteria. The process allows industrial volumes of silk to be produced at room temperature without any negative environmental effects. The silk produced is highly flexible and suitable for knitting and weaving and can be formed into sponges and transparent films.

Developed by researchers at Australia's national science agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), this breakthrough technology has been published in peer-reviewed literature. They are now seeking to identify market opportunities.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information on CSIRO’s artificial silk

BARKTEX bark cloth

BARKTEX is a contemporary take on traditional bark cloth, which is produced in a sustainable way from the Ugandan Figus tree. Once the bark is stripped form the tree, new bark grows in its place – a truly sustainable product. BARKTEX can be treated with bright colors to create a unique material reminiscent of leather.

The team is employing an innovative micro-enterprise model in Uganda that empowers women and provides food security for local farmers. They are looking to develop their business to reach new customers.

Stage of Innovation: Growth and scale

View additional information on BARKTEX bark cloth

Benign by Design

Benign by Design helps individuals and organizations better evaluate the impact of materials they use. The team has developed data collection and analysis protocols to understand the impact of textiles through their entire lifecycle – potentially an invaluable resource for all product manufacturers.

The Benign by Design team are looking to shape their solution into a marketable offer.

Stage of Innovation: Concept

View additional information on Benign by Design

Biocouture microbial fashion

Biocouture creates sustainable material from microbes and transforms it into beautiful haute couture. Their unique low-impact fermentation process creates a biodegradable material that can be used to create a wide variety of home-ware and fashion accessories.

The Biocouture team have already received recognition for their innovation, including TED, and are now ready to take their concept to the next stage.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information on Biocouture microbial fashion

The Blue Flower Initiative

The core purpose of the Blue Flower Initiative is to reframe the existing textile value chain as an eco-industrial co-operative, while supporting and empowering women at risk.The initiative – backed by Eileen Fisher, the American clothing designer and retailer – is an innovative game changing business model. In addition, the initiative aims to identify new low-impact bio-fibers and manufacturing approaches.

The Blue Flower Initiative are looking to prototype their ‘value chain of the future’ in the Bronx in New York and are looking for partners.

Stage of Innovation: Concept

View additional information on Blue Flower Initiative

CRAiLAR Flax Fibers

Flax is a natural fiber that has long shown promise as a base material for sustainable textiles. CRAiLAR has made advances in chemistry and manufacturing that now make flax competitive on cost and comfort with cotton. What’s more, flax can be grown with far less water and pesticides.

CRAiLAR is a mature business that is looking to make the leap to compete with the cotton industry and accelerate adoption globally.

Stage of Innovation: Commercial market/Deployment

View additional information on CRAiLAR 

Ecovative Mushroom Materials

Ecovative is a completely biodegradable replacement for polystyrene, packing material or insulation. Remarkably, it can withstand heat, stress and exposure to water, yet be composted in your back garden. This is a fascinating biotechnology derived from mushrooms that can potentially replace numerous products that produce CO2.

The team behind Ecovative are well on their way, but require access to private sector customers and help scaling their manufacturing process.

Stage of Innovation: Commercial market/Deployment

View additional information on Ecovative 

Geckskin adhesives

Geckskin is a revolutionary take on adhesives, inspired by the footpads of the Gecko lizard. Unlike glue-based adhesives, Geckskin creates dry and easily reversible adhesion without leaving any residue – while maintaining an impressive stickability. Geckskin can be used to mount a 42-inch Television on a wall without any loss in adhesion.

Geckskin is a product of Felsuma LLC. The team are in start-up mode with a solid plan.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information on Geckskin adhesives


QMilk milk fiber

QMilk takes surplus milk that is unfit for human consumption and produces a bio-textile replacement for cotton. The product is non-allergenic with potential applications in healthcare. QMilk takes a highly innovative approach to repurposing a waste stream that is seen in every country in the world.

The QMilk team is now looking to find partners to help take their innovation to the next stage.

Stage of Innovation: Prototype

View additional information on QMilk milk fiber