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Biomaterial for plastic waste reduction wins pitch competition

Nanotronics bagged the top prize at the recent Shell LIVEWire PitchFest, winning an equity-free prize of P500,000. The technology company offers nanostructured material products that reduce plastic waste while protecting the environment. 

Only 14% of plastic packaging is recycled, said Nanotronics founder and Chief Executive Officer Jerome Palaganas, who pitched a solution that turns renewable indigenous plants into sustainable nanomaterials called cellulose nanocrystals for use in industrial applications, including three-dimensional (3D) printing resin, lubricant additives, biodegradable packaging, specialty coatings, and water filtration materials. 

Nanotronics has eight intellectual properties, seven business-to-business (B2B) clients with earned revenues, and at least five company pilot projects. A total of US $100,000 in grant funding and US$45,000 in angel investments have been awarded to the tech startup. Its revenue streams come from plant productions, licensing agreements, and client joint venture partnerships. 

“We are committed to making a significant difference in the environment and community, leveraging on our natural resources here in the Philippines. We see a good synergy with our products and the Shell ecosystem,” Mr. Palaganas said. 

Shell’s LiveWIRE program launched this September in collaboration with the Philippine government. It provides innovators with opportunities for mentorship, financial assistance, technical expertise, and a chance to be part of Shell’s supply chain.

Apart from Nanotronics, two other local tech companies were chosen out of 155 candidates to participate in a start-up bootcamp: uHoo, which measures air quality to safeguard and enhance people’s health; and Next Pay, a digital banking platform aimed for small and medium-sized business owners.

Shell LiveWIRE also tapped three community enterprises to join its program, and each took home a cash grant of Php 75,000. These enterprises are MagzWheel Furniture, which transforms used rubber tires into furniture and apparel; Green Factory by Oro Handmade Innovations Inc., which produces handmade paper products; and Revolve Eco. Logical, which recycles used polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles to create new products.

“Most entrepreneurs still lack the resources to reach their full potential, especially as they adapt to a digital world. We bridge that gap by connecting them with government and fintech institutions as part of our LiveWIRE program. This is our contribution to nation-building,” said Cesar Romero, president and CEO of Pilipinas Shell, in a statement. — Patricia B. Mirasol

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