Meet Fairmat, a young French startup that wants to improve the recycling process for sophisticated composite materials. The company wants to produce new types of materials from waste materials and sell them to industrial companies.
Fairmat has just raised a fundraiser of 10 million dollars (8.6 million euros) led by Singular. Various business angels also participated in the round.
“We are working on a scalable solution that manages the end of life of these materials,” Benjamin Saada, founder of Fairmat, told me. He previously co-founded Explaineat.
The company believes that high-tech materials are not going away. Carbon fiber composites are extremely useful for wind turbines or airplanes, for example, because they offer incredible properties. But you don’t have to use fancy materials for everything.
That’s why we rely heavily on cheaper materials, such as plastics, wood, and various metal alloys to build new things. Fairmat does not want to replace carbon fiber composite in wind turbines and airplanes.
She wants to replace plastic, wood and metal in everyday objects. The company transforms the existing carbon fiber composite into a new material that is both light and strong.
“Today, carbon composite waste is basically burned or landfilled,” Saada said. With Fairmat’s process, the company can recycle the composite material with an undemanding mechanical process. It is not a question of heating carbon fiber composite waste for example. The startup also relies on machine learning to test the physical properties of its material.
Fairmat then plans to sell its hardware to industrial customers so they can use it themselves. For example, you can imagine building the trunk of a cargo bike with Fairmat hardware. It could be lighter than wood or metal and it also offers a better carbon footprint compared to virgin material.
Next, Faitmat plans to increase the size of its team from 15 to 30 members. The company is working on partnerships with carbon fiber composite waste suppliers as well as potential customers. It plans to start selling its hardware at scale sometime during the second quarter of 2022.
After that, the startup will iterate and work on other types of materials with different properties. In a few years, if all goes well, you might buy a chair, laptop, or car built with the company’s materials without realizing it.