Releaf Paper, a Ukrainian company that extracts cellulose fibres from fallen leaves to make paper packaging, has been awarded $100,000 in funding and mentorship from Google as part of the Google for Startups Ukraine Support Fund.
In March, Google announced a $5 million Google for Startups Ukraine Support Fund with plans to award equity-free, non-dilutive funding to around 50 Ukraine-based start-ups on a rolling basis throughout 2022. The start-ups are also invited to use the Google for Startups Campus Warsaw as a temporary office space, and will receive mentorship, product support, and Cloud credits from Google.
Eligible start-ups must have been founded and based in Ukraine before February 24th, 2022. Start-ups must also have surpassed the minimum variable product (MVP) stage with proven traction, such as products being on the market and generating early revenue. Google says that companies with a social impact mission will be prioritised.
Google intends for founders to use the non-dilutive cash award to continue growth or resume business operations that have been impacted by the war in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion in February 2022. The company also expects recipients to pivot products to address new challenges.
“Support for Ukrainian-led startups will help them succeed and build the tech that their country needs now. And as the region starts to recover, startups and tech companies will be key to rebuilding the Ukrainian economy, creating jobs, and positively impact the cities they make their homes,” Google explained when announcing the Fund.
Google has today announced the initial recipients of the Google for Startups Ukraine Support Fund, with Releaf Paper being one of the first companies to be awarded the $100,000 in funding and other support measures.
Founded by Valentyn Frechka and Alexander Sobolenko, Releaf started as a secondary school project to extract high-quality cellulose from fallen leaves for Frechka, who was a member of the Junior Academy of Sciences of Ukraine at the time.
Overall, Google says that the funding and mentorship are intended to help Ukrainian entrepreneurs maintain and grow their businesses, strengthen their community, and build a foundation for post-war economic recovery.
Source: Packaging Europe