UCL Innovation and Enterprise


Founders of bio-bean win €500,000 funding for business expansion

11 September 2014

UCL graduate Arthur Kay, co-founder of the coffee grounds recycling company bio-bean, has won the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge 2014, winning a prize of €500,000 towards the expansion of his business.

Arthur won the prize after a pitching competition in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, with the final decision taken by a panel of judges chaired by sportswoman Ellen MacArthur. The competition is the largest annual green business plan competition in the world, and was established in 2007 by The Dutch Postcode Lottery, founded to support charitable causes worldwide.

Arthur Kay, Bio-Bean

It comes after a year of competition wins for Arthur and his business partner Benjamin Harriman, also a UCL graduate. Bio Bean company was also awarded $100,000 in funding at the inauguration of the Class of 2015 programme run by Founder.org, received further £40,000 in funding from Shell in March and was a winner of start-up funded from UCL’s Bright Ideas Awards in 2013. “This is fantastic,” said Arthur, speaking after winning the Challenge. “With this prize money we can scale up production to other locations throughout the UK. We also want to expand internationally. The cash prize will enable us to develop new technologies and products, securing bio-bean’s market position.”

bio-bean aims to be a new kind of ecological business through taking used coffee grounds and, through a patented process, turn them into biofuels. Currently, they are working on producing biodiesel for transport systems and biomass pellets which can be used for providing fuel for heating and power systems.

“This is excellent news for bio-bean and a strong vote of confidence as they continue to build their business,” said Timothy Barnes, Director of UCL Advances, UCL’s centre for entrepreneurship. “We will continue watching their progress with interest.”o develop new technologies and products, securing bio-bean’s market position.”