These Startups Will Save The World

Huckletree's Editorial TeamThe Editorial TeamHuckletree4/8/2021

A post-COVID world is an opportunity not just to build back, but to build back better.

We must learn from the global collaboration and unity shown in the face of the pandemic and come together once again to tackle the next great crisis of our time: climate change. 

The World Economic Forum states that digital technology can reduce global carbon emissions by 15% by 2030. European startups have a wealth of ideas to positively impact environmental change, but for that change to be achieved, talk is not enough. Support is needed to help these entrepreneurs bring their ideas to scale and into the hands of consumers - this is where our pre-seed programme, the Alpha Accelerator comes in.

We’ve brought together six of the most exciting purpose-driven for-profit startups in the UK who are championing sustainability and working on innovations to reduce the impact of the climate crisis across the globe. Over the next 12 weeks, we’ll supercharge our Alphas’ journey towards raising their seed round with support from our first Sustainability Programme Partners CMS UK, Silicon Valley Bank and A/O Proptech, plus industry experts, serial entrepreneurs, world-class operators and investors.

Meet The Teams

Nula Carbon

At Nula Carbon, we're normalising environmental perks, providing leading businesses with the opportunity to showcase their commitment to their people and the planet.

“COVID-19 has been a time for reflection for both businesses and individuals. People are waking up to the climate crisis and are ready to make a change but we need to maintain this momentum. Our goal has always been to make climate action accessible. We hope that by providing a simple environmental solution that integrates well with the changing organisational landscape, we can create a ripple effect, kickstarting mainstream climate action.

As a very small team, we try and get as much feedback as possible outside of Nula, however, it is not always possible. Working alongside a cohort that have similar goals to ourselves is an incredibly exciting prospect. It means different ideas, questions and importantly, critiques from people who are very passionate about sustainability and have relevant areas of expertise.

As countries, civil societies and organisations around the world take action to tackle climate change what role do startups play in contributing to a more sustainable planet?

Startups are here to bring fresh ideas to the table. We are dynamic and flexible, pivoting with new technology and insight. What’s more, we are challenging current spaces, appealing to mainstream consumers with strong visual and verbal narratives, meaning that hopefully we can help sustainability become the norm.”

Instant Pickup
Instant Pickup is developing the first online platform where organisations can find exclusively environmentally friendly vans for their same day logistics needs.

“Our mission is to have a lot of impact post COVID, as we hope to help our economy  build back better and switch from being reactive to being proactive. Our aim is to optimise new solutions that will allow us to enjoy a green recovery.

I am looking forward to being challenged, being inspired and becoming part of the Huckletree family as we are braver together.

As countries, civil societies and organisations around the world take action to tackle climate change what role do startups play in contributing to a more sustainable planet?

startups will play a vital role in helping to accelerate the shift to low carbon solutions and  the accessibility of green alternatives and help to combat resistance to sustainable change by making it easier than ever for consumers and companies to 'do the right thing'.”

Lunchbowls-as-a-service for the workplace, on a mission to save 25 million single-use containers from landfill by 2025.

“TUPP wants to lead post-COVID initiatives to build a more sustainable world. Our reusable lunchbowl service empowers workplace communities to make small, effortless changes that collectively have a huge impact (our goal? Save 25 million single-use containers from landfill by 2025). We hope that someday you’ll look back and wonder how you ever threw things away after only one use.

One of the unique challenges of being an early stage, sustainability-first company is balancing the lean startup notion of “good enough” with the thoroughness sustainability considerations often require. We are eager to hear from our fellow cohort members how they think about and manage this balance.”

As countries, civil societies and organisations around the world take action to tackle climate change what role do startups play in contributing to a more sustainable planet?

“There is an enormous shift underway in how our economies and societies operate as the world wakes up to the threats of climate change. Every startup that exists today has an opportunity to drive this transition – in how we move, eat, consume, work, live – and to do so with the scrappiness, innovation, and speed that have come to define startups of the previous decades. startups of the 2020s must show the world that business-as-usual isn’t enough – this is the decade of action.”

Spruce - Grads of our entrepreneurship bootcamp, Future Founder Academy
Spruce is the ethical cleaning brand that cleans up your home and the planet.

“We’re addressing household plastic pollution and greenwashing in the industry, making refills convenient and accessible to the larger market.

We’re looking forward to connecting with and learning from fellow founders with similar ethical values.

Startups are typically challenging the norm to address issues that are often overlooked by larger incumbents. With the agility and purpose-driven values, startups are paving the way for innovation and also drive a cult-like following that educates and enables customers towards a more sustainable future.


Saved Food
Saved Food's ambition is to develop insect-based essential food items such as bread, pasta, fortified through insects' high tenure in protein and contributing to the development of a more sustainable food supply chain.

"Covid-19 showcased how rapidly we can all change and adapt our behaviour. Building on this momentum, my goal is to encourage people to keep seeking better sources of sustainable protein. Saved Food will offer more protein alternatives on the market through insect-based food leveraging insects' high tenure in protein and attractive nutritional profile.

We, as a cohort, are coming from different backgrounds, have diverse experiences and skillset and I am looking forward to learning from each other to grow stronger, impactful businesses together. I am keen to see how we will tackle similar challenges around sustainability and shape our strategies through the cohort's ideas & feedback during these 12 weeks.

Consumer attitude, perception and taste are constantly evolving within the sustainability landscape and startups are essential players in understanding these changing needs through agility and speed. Startups are constantly challenging the status quo, playing a key role in innovation and technology advancements within this industry.”


Bendi is a tool to help consumers shop more sustainably. 

“It is clear for many that coming back after the pandemic with the same mindset as before - bigger, better, faster, more - in pursuit of endless growth is not going to help us or the planet. Of course, fashion brands are still going to make and sell us clothes, but the relationship between consumers and the products we are willing to buy is changing. Demand for sustainability is a rising tide and the call for transparency from brands about where their products come from and how they're made is only going to grow.

We are really looking forward to workshopping the issues facing an early-stage company with organisations that are at a similar stage and working in the same space. We're hoping there will be lots of cross-pollination - Bendi is working on sustainability in fashion and apparel, but there is so much we can learn from approaches to sustainability being applied in other industries.

Startups are uniquely positioned to respond to so-called "wicked" problems due to their agility. One of the most exciting things about the Bendi journey so far has been looking at sustainability through the eyes of a multidisciplinary team. In a larger organisation those functions might exist within a business, but working together might not come naturally due to scale. Cross-discipline collaboration within a smaller startup environment brings a potentially unique perspective to sustainability problems.”

£10m in funding, 42 grads, 120 jobs created and a 100% NPS score. The Alpha Accelerator has supercharged the journey to launch and funding for Easol, Onloan, Loveshark, Wild.AI and JustWears.  As part of our mission towards a fairer ecosystem, we curate businesses with at least one underrepresented founder as part of the founding team. Find out more about our pre-seed programme.

Just announced: Earthrise Summit 2021 - a virtual, high-impact sustainability festival. Join industry experts, investors, politicians, academics and entrepreneurs to discuss, debate and showcase how together, we can build a more sustainable future. Book your ticket now.

Huckletree's Editorial Team

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it sure can’t touch the Huckletree Editorial Team. If there’s an angle, they’ll find it. A stone unturned? They’ll turn it. This gang of wordsmiths and renegades know how to spin a story. Hear from them the insights of the startup ecosystem.

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