Groningen-based horticulture start-up receives 2 million for developing biodegradable foam substrate

Groningen-based horticulture start-up receives 2 million for developing biodegradable foam substrate

Groningen 29 July 2019 - The start-up Foamplant has successfully raised capital from the venture capital funds SHIFT Invest and Future Food Fund. Their 2 million euro investment is intended for the development and commercialization of a biodegradable horticultural foam substrate: Growfoam. In addition, this investment will enable further product development of biodegradable technical foams.

Growfoam is already available on the market. It is a plant substrate - a nutrient layer - developed for the cultivation of young plants from seed or cuttings. The foam substrate is dimensionally stable and offers a completely clean substrate thanks to its defined composition of biopolymers and natural additives. Growfoam does not contain peat, as opposed to conventional growth substrate. A large amount of CO2 is released during the combustion of peat.

Innovative breeding ground for cultivating young plants, with less environmental impact

The Groningen-based startup can fully control the air and water capacity of the substrate. As a result, each crop gets the nutrient soil that fits best. We call this crop-specific. "The horticultural industry has been delivering world-class performance using sustainable innovative technology for years. Thanks to Growfoam we now enable growers to take cultivation technology to a higher level at substrate level as well," says Martin Tietema, CEO of Foamplant. "A level at which the planet is also spared a little more".

A perfect alternative

"Growers are looking for high quality growing substrates with minimal environmental impact. By combining the best properties from organic and mineral cultivation media in a well-defined foam substrate, Foamplant offers growers a perfect alternative," says Tijl Hoefnagels, partner at Future Food Fund. "Therefore, Foamplant is a good match with our mission to support innovative technology that contributes positively to the future of the agri-food sector".

Biodegradable substrate foam as a standard

Foamplant's mission is to provide safe, clean and biodegradable technical plant substrate / foams for everyone and in all applications. Thanks to its platform technology, the Groningen-based start-up produces foams with properties equal to conventional foams, such as flexible polyurethane foam. With this, the team behind Foamplant wants to firmly commit to a new standard in which biodegradable foams are the norm.

Pioneer in sustainability

"Foamplant is a pioneer in biodegradable plant substrates. In doing so, Foamplant makes a valuable contribution to making the agro-horti sector more sustainable. We explicitly invest for the difference this can make for the environment and look forward to supporting Foamplant in the rapid roll-out of this impact innovation," says Janneke Bik, partner at SHIFT Invest.

Both Janneke Bik and Tijl Hoefnagels confirm: "The skills of the team make it possible to adapt quickly to the wishes of customers".


Growfoam was founded in 2015 as a spin-off of the biobased technology cluster KNN Group and is managed by Martin Tietema, Vincent van Assen, Martijn Beljaars and Wilfred Roo. "We look forward to further unlocking the potential of Foamplant together with Future Food Fund and SHIFT Invest. Both funds now offer us the right support to enable rapid growth", says Tietema.