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28 February 2024

in5’s plastic recycling start-up Midori raises $200,000 in funding at COP28

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By E247

In a landmark achievement for climate-tech, Midori Network, nurtured within the ecosystem of TECOM Group PJSC business incubator in5, has secured a substantial $200,000 in funding from Kirill Veselov, angel investor and former investment director of venture capital firm Mint Capital at COP28.

The development was announced as Dubai hosts the COP28 climate conference, where Midori Network was among the start-ups presented by in5 to showcase the business incubator’s vision for enabling sustainable and eco-conscious entrepreneurship that has global resonance.

The infusion of $200,000 represents pre-seed funding for Midori Network and is a testament to the support it is attracting from strategic investors as it positively disrupts the plastic recycling industry. The capital infusion will be used to launch the first prototype of a container-based mobile recycling module that can be easily deployed in rural areas where installing large recycling facilities may not be economically viable.

“Innovative thinking can significantly contribute to strengthening local circular economy supply chains, and encouraging entrepreneurship in waste management is essential in this endeavour,” said Majed Al Suwaidi, Senior Vice President of Dubai Media City, on behalf of in5.

“in5 is proud to support businesses like Midori Network to contribute to the goals of initiatives like Dubai Economic Agenda ‘D33’ and Dubai Integrated Waste Management Strategy 2041, as well as the UAE Net Zero 2050 vision, to deliver transformative long-term sustainability in all spheres of life.”

Fedor Smirnov, Founder of Midori Network, said: “Dubai is the ideal host city for COP28, providing an environment for international crosspollination of ideas, talents, technologies, and capitals. This round of funding will allow us to make a step on the ground, prove our basic strategic assumptions, and strengthen pathways to a more effective and valuable plastic recycling industry around the world.”

Midori Network has pivoted since its inception as sustainable eyewear brand to emerge as a distributed recycling specialist and plans to develop 1,000 mobile recycling modules within seven years, converting over 1 million tonnes of plastic waste per year into affordable solutions for local communities in key global markets including Brazil, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and China.

Midori Network is part of in5, which hosted four of the most innovative sustainability start-ups from its ecosystem at COP28 and has been crucial to shaping Dubai’s and the UAE’s entrepreneurial landscape since its inception in 2013. In the decade since its formation, in5 has supported more than 850 start-ups representing over 50 nationalities, facilitating connections between global investors and visionary entrepreneurs.

Earlier this year, in5 noted a 20% increase in total funding raised by start-ups since its inception to more than AED 2.9 billion, and in the first nine months of 2023 alone welcomed 120 new ventures, translating to the incubation of a new start-up every second day during the period.

The incubator’s 10th anniversary milestone was marked in June 2023 with the launch of in5 Science to support entrepreneurship and investment for science-based start-ups in sectors including the life sciences. The incubator also operates the in5 Media, in5 Tech, and in5 Design innovation centres at its sister districts Dubai Production City, Dubai Internet City, and Dubai Design District (d3) respectively.