Case Studies – Inheriting Earth
"The help I received from Future Space during these early stages was invaluable. From advice on my business model and finance structure, to the use of professional meeting spaces for important investor sessions."
We caught up with Adam Root, Founder of Inheriting Earth and Matter. Adam started his career with Dyson and designing gas turbines with GE. He always had a passion for the environment and wanted to take action that would help people and planet. He was one of 24 young British innovators to win the Ideas Mean Business Awards from the government’s Innovate UK programme and the Prince’s Trust.
Tell us a bit about Inheriting Earth
Adam had left the UK on a year out with his wife and a plan to cycle through Norway, but within a couple of weeks they had to return home due to injury. When back in the UK Adam quickly came up with the idea to start a street food business and by the end of the summer had a team of eight. “I was doing street food by day and designing medical devices by night”.
Adam’s love of the sea as a keen surfer, and his passion for the environment led to an interest in ocean plastics and where it comes from. He quickly learnt that microplastics from clothing make up a huge portion of ocean plastics, and those microfibres in our water are a significant issue for human and environmental health.
Early on Adam won a £250 Will it Work Grant from the Prince’s Trust and he set off to understand ocean plastics, designing his first rig. In 2018, he won the Young Innovator of the Year award for his work developing a filter system to reduce the flow of microfibres from washing machines. The award was a £5,000 grant and living wage. Inheriting Earth was founded.
Adam packed up the street food business and moved over to Bristol to focus on his sustainable product design company and his mission to stop the flow of new plastic entering our water. The latter is coming to life through Adam’s new company, Matter. Matter is focused on microplastic technology capture, returning these materials to the circular economy.
Why Bristol and why Future Space?
“Bristol has a lot of energy. The people are connected to the world they live in, there is a real focus on culture, identity and diversity in the City. My wife often says that ‘Bristol is a city you can see out of’ and I love that connection to the environment and green spaces on our doorstep”.
Adam describes his journey and looking for a space to start Inheriting Earth, and how Future Space was a really big part of the image of the company. “It had the best facilities, it looked impressive and it could support our growth”.
In the early stages of his time with Future Space, Adam managed to win a contract recycling plastic in schools with Formech. This 3-month project involved making a plastic recycling unit for a small town in Mozambique. Then in 2019, Adam won his first big grant through Innovate UK - £240K in partnership with four parties including a global washing machine provider.
Adam commented that “the help I received from Future Space during these early stages was invaluable. From advice on my business model and finance structure, to the use of professional meeting spaces for important investor sessions. I was able to use the Hawking meeting room for the day to talk to a potential investor and I filled the room with photos and objects that demonstrated my journey – he was the first investor of my business.”
In the summer of 2019, Adam took on a UWE intern and by Christmas of 2019, Adam had grown his team to seven employees, and he had an office, a workshop and a laboratory. “The diversity of facilities allowed us to grow and change”.
“I have Spent more time in that building [Future Space] than at home! It has been incredibly important to us and we wouldn’t be where we are today without that.”
What has been your biggest accomplishment?
“getting here, the culture we have built, and putting microplastic on people’s agenda.”
What does Inheriting Earth & Matter have in store for us next?
Everything is changing every day, and the team have a mission to get microplastic on the agenda as well as finding tangible, scalable solutions. It’s an exciting time as they join the Katapult Ocean Accelerator for the next 3 months.
The team now have 9 permanent staff and a couple of contractors and have recently moved out of Future Space into their huge 500 sqm warehouse facility to continue their growth.
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