Biohm is revolutionising the construction industry and creating a healthier and more sustainable built environment. Through their innovative process they produce natural bio-based materials at a commercially competitive price. They are looking for investors passionate about their mission to transform the built environment.
Our interview wit Ehab, Founder of Biohm
Describe your mission in a sentence or two:
Biohm is a multi-award-winning research and development led company that allows nature to lead innovation, to revolutionise the construction industry and create a healthier and more sustainable built environment. Placing biological systems at the heart of our inspiration (biomimetics), we combine the philosophies of the Circular Economy and Human-Centered Design with future-tech to create a step-change in building technologies, materials and manufacturing methods.
Who are your clients?
Biohm is working with industry, academia and government, and we have cultivated supportive relationships with organisations across the spectrum, allowing us to work in symbiosis with our clients on the basis of regenerative partnerships. Some of our partners include large multinational construction companies, architectural and interior design firms, property developers, furniture designers and manufacturers, as well as many other organisations that are interested in implementing circular, closed-loop processes that transform their waste into product.
What stage are you at in your business?
Biohm’s first manufacturing facility will become operational in March 2020, with full-scale production scheduled to begin by March-May 2020. This 1,000 sqm facility based in Somerset will have an initial capacity to produce 3,000sqm of mycelium insulation boards per month and will increase to 18,000sqm per month by 2021, equating to approximately 360 homes worth of insulation every quarter.
Our second facility will be based in Newcastle and is scheduled to be operational by Q4 2020. This facility will be producing upwards of 18,000spm of mycelium insulation per month.
Biohm is currently in the process of accrediting the mycelium insulation against industry standards, with testing scheduled for completion by May/June 2020. Once achieved, Biohm will be producing the only fully tested and accredited mycelium insulation product on the market, globally.
Our research into strains of mycelium that can consume plastic waste is also progressing rapidly and we are aiming to commercialise this development within the next 24 months.
What is your business model?
Biohm’s circular business model allows us to generate income from both the sourcing and managing of waste materials and from the sale of our materials to the construction sector. Generating two streams of income from a single product means that Biohm can produce natural bio-based materials at a commercially competitive price, making it available to a broad consumer base.
Our business model addresses major cross-sectoral challenges and offers solutions for difficult-to-recycle resources and by-products from the food, agricultural, construction and, eventually, the plastic and fashion industries.
Social, economic and environmental justice are at the core of our business, which is why we choose to locate our facilities in communities where we can have an immediate positive impact on the local economy. In collaboration with local social enterprises, we raise grant funding to establish and equip a production facility, creating catalysts for change that not only allow us to embed positive social impact - through local employment and a profit share agreement with the social enterprise - but also opens opportunities globally.
What does impact mean to you as a profit-driven company?
Positive social, economic and environmental impact are at the core of our operations. Our goal is not only to build a successful company, but moreover, to improve the quality of people’s lives through enabling the use use of healthy, environmentally friendly, circular materials and building solutions that eliminate the concept of waste and demonstrate how business can equitably and ethically work in collaboration with the natural world, industry, and community.
What is the vision for the company?
At Biohm we have a vision to create a healthier and more sustainable built environment by drawing on nature for inspiration and innovation. We believe that at a time of climate crisis, a radical change needs to take place within industry that can only be brought about by large scale systemic innovation in contemporary approaches to waste management, manufacturing and construction.
What is your current biggest challenge and how are you seeking to address it?
One of the major challenges within the sector is the perception that bio-based materials are costly niche environmental products that, generally, are less effective than synthetic man-made solutions.
We challenge these misconceptions around performance and affordability by not only demonstrating that our materials, such as mycelium insulation, can outperform the vast majority of synthetic materials but also - because of our circular business model, that creates a double revenue stream which reduces the cost of manufacture - that we’re able to bio-manufacture and sell our products at a competitive and accessible price.
What other UK impactful startup do you love and why?
There are a few startups that we really think are going to have a big impact, particularly in the agro-food sector. Mimica, for example, have developed a technology that addresses household food waste by using a label on packaging that changes when the food is actually spoils - rather than relying on date stamping - that has truly transformational potential. Another is Lettus Grow, who focuses on technology for greenhouses and vertical farms, addresses problems with CO2 emissions, waste and ecosystems collapse often caused as a result of intensive farming methods. Olombria is another startup we find really exciting, as they are working towards increasing crop pollination by flying insects other than bees, populations of which are collapsing in the face of modern methods of production.
What’s next for your company?
As we begin the commercialisation of our bio-materials Biohm will be working towards achieving the accreditation for our mycelium insulation that will unlock a number of large projects with leading construction companies within the UK and the EU and entry into their supply chains.
This year we will open our first mycelium bio-manufacturing facility and this will enable us to service the demand that has already been generated within industry. Further expansion of our manufacturing capacity is planned to come online in Q4 2020 with a new facility that will be established in Newcastle in collaboration with the YMCA.
During the course of 2020 Biohm will file up to six patents on technologies from across the business and carry out further testing and accreditation on our other main bio-material, Orb (Organic Refuse Biocompound) for use as a sheet material replacement for products such as MDF and plasterboard. We will also establish a new research and development lab in London to further the generation of intellectual property within the bio-manufacturing field.
By 2022, we aim to commercialise our plastic consuming mycelium as a solution to the global plastic waste problem and introduce our patented and revolutionary construction system, Triagomy.
Our medium term plans include expansion within the EU, and potentially globally. Biohm has been offered facilitative and financial support from national and local governments, as well as business partnerships, to replicate our environmentally, economically and socially responsible business model in the Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, France, New York City, Egypt and India.
What can you offer the SeedTribe community?
At Biohm we understand that positive impact and systemic change is best achieved through collaboration across industries and sectors. As everyone is able to bring a unique perspective, connecting with individuals, companies and local or national authorities is key to driving the change we all want to see in the world.
How can the SeedTribe community be involved in helping you scale your impact?
Much like we form symbiotic relationships with our clients and suppliers, we aim to do the same with our investors. Forming a mutually beneficial relationship strengthens the bond between the company and the investor and adds, arguably, more value than the provision of finance. Therefore, the ideal investor for Biohm, is one who is passionate about inspiring or implementing positive change for the greater good and is looking to become part of a revolution that will transform our built environment.
To be put in touch with Ehab, send us an email