With each of our innovator stories, we get a chance to meet the people behind EU-funded ideas, which have the potential to change our future for the better. 


For this edition, we interviewed Polly Smith who participated in the recent Dealflow.eu’s Blockchain E-pitching Event. She is the Strategic Partnerships Manager at Circularise, a Dutch startup that offers multiple software solutions for supply chain traceability, namely Digital Product Passports and the MassBalance bookkeeping software.   

Circularise was supported by the EU with €7M in grants so far via different R&I projects, e.g., C-SERVEES, CirculariseSource and CircularFoam 


Tell us more about yourself and your work?

I am the strategic partnerships manager at Circularise, where I am responsible for identifying potential investment partners and managing those relationships, including working with Corporate Venture teams who may need to undertake a project prior to considering an investmentI have been involved in fundraising for over 24 years and was excited to join Circularise to help them on their mission to provide the leading software platform for digital product passports which enable end-to-end traceability and secure data exchange for industrial supply chains. 


What problem is your product solving and what makes its solution unique?

Companies are facing a huge problem – they are making sustainability declarations about the products they make but they have little or no visibility about where their materials come from, what they are made of, where their products will end up and what environmental impact they will have.  The systems they currently use, excel spreadsheets and PDF documents, are time-consuming, prone to error, not scalable and being company specific, which means they are not interoperable amongst supply chain participants.  To make matters worse, there is an inherent lack of trust between supply chain participants to share data, which is quite often commercially sensitive. The lack of data sharing across complex supply chains means as many as 65% of procurement leaders have limited or no visibility beyond their tier-one suppliers. 

This problem has been expedited by upcoming EU legislation which requires companies to have digital product passports for the products they make in order to prove material provenance and explain the environmental impact of their products. 

In 2016, whilst researching how technology could enable a more circular economy, Mesbah and Jordi, the founders of Circularise, discovered that by using a public blockchain infrastructure, they could create software for companies to create digital product passports for materials used and products created from one end of the supply chain to the other.  

By extension, this would enable a more circular economy on a global scale through better traceability and transparency across complex supply chains. 

Our vision is to create the leading scalable and interoperable public blockchain-based digital infrastructure for supply chain traceability and transparency with confidentiality protection as its core USP.  

We offer our customers two software tools. Our Digital Product Passport solution allows our customers to: 

  1. Showcase their innovation and sustainability efforts to strengthen brand 
  2. Incentivise sustainable behavioural change through take-back schemes  
  3. Differentiate their sustainable products to grow their revenue 
  4. Share information, such as repair guides, for product lifetime extension 
  5. Collect (anonymised) use data  
  6. And set data disclosure levels for different supply chain participants.

    Not only can our customers prove the sustainability characteristics of the products they make, but they have visibility into their own Scope 3 emissions and other metrics, and therefore enable a circular economy.  

    Our second solution is the MassBalancer tool which is an internal mass balance accounting system, allows our customers to manage balances for all sites, automate mass balance reporting for industry certifications such as the ISCC+ certification, automate the processing and sending of sustainability declarations and generate reports with unit-level granularity.


How did you start your journey, and where are you now on the road to achieving your ambition?

As mentioned, Circularise’s journey started in 2016 when, after visiting a number of recyclers in the Netherlands, Jordi and Mesbah saw that although products were being sent to recyclers post consumer use, the majority of the materials in those products ended up in landfills, not being recycled or reused in new products. 

Initially, through participating in EU-funded projects, we were able to develop and test our solution from proof of concept to commercialisation. We work with companies in the plastics, chemicals, metals, minerals, rare earths, pulp and paper, and built environment industries. Their products include EV batteries, automotives, consumer electronics, FMCGs, and cement.   In the past 3 years, we have seen our customer base triple each year, as more companies see the value of our technology in helping them to support their sustainability declarations, adhere to legislation and better understand their supply chains so they can transition towards a more sustainable and circular economy. 

We have always understood that we needed to create a solution for our customers which is truly decentralised, scalable and interoperable with confidentiality protection as its core USP.  Our patented “Smart Questioning” feature means that companies can use a public blockchain infrastructure (decentralised, scalable and interoperable) without risking loss of data ownership and therefore, control of data visibility. 


What’s the biggest impact EU-funding has had on your journey so far, and can you specify an outcome? 

Quite simply, without the support of EU-funded projects, Circularise would not exist today.  These projects have allowed Circularise to work with Europe’s top 20 universities and research institutes, to develop our solutions beyond proof of concept, and move from a service company to a product company. Additionally, by participating in these projects, Circularise has been introduced to several customers with whom we now work on commercial projects. Circularise has received approximately €7M in EU project funding and some of the projects include:

1. Systemic expansion of territorial circular ecosystems for end-of-life foam (Circular Foam): through the use of digital product passports, we are customizing our software with features specific to the construction and consumer appliances industries, by focusing on visibility of recycled content of rigid polyurethane foam. 

2. Activating circular services in the electric and electronic sectors (C-SERVEES): To support the development of new circular business models in C-SERVEES, Circularise has worked on a secure solution for information exchange in the EEE supply chain. 

3. Circular System for Assessing Rare Earth Sustainability (CSyARES): Circularise’s digital product passport solution is being used to provide transparency regarding the origin of materials, production processes, sustainability and material properties with the rare earth supply chain.  


Have you already tested your product with clients? What was it like?

Both our solutions, Digital Product Passports (DPP) and MassBalancer, are commercially available and we have undertaken several projects with our customers to improve the transparency and traceability in their supply chains.  

Our customer acquisition strategy is focused on a supplier first approach where we focus on companies at the beginning of supply chains and the teams within those companies who are most affected by issues around data visibility.  Our product and sales teams are aligned in working with our customers to analyze their problems and, through intensive workshops, undertake use case projects to illustrate how our technology can solve them.  Circularise has partnered with several companies including: 

  1. Philips and Circularise collaborated to test our digital product passport solution in tracking the sustainability of electronic components. The project involved creating digital product passports for components used in Philips’ products, which provided information on the component’s origin, production, and distribution. 
  2. Porsche and Circularise have worked together to test blockchain technology for traceability in its supply chains. The project involved creating  digital product passports for components in the Porsche Taycan to showcase the components’ origin, production, and distribution for their customers. 

By partnering with these companies, Circularise is driving digital innovations to support the transition to a more sustainable global economy.   


What is your company’s greatest achievement to date?

Circularise considers the commercial adoption of our digital product passport and MassBalancer solutions as key to our goal of being the leading software platform providing digital product passports for end-to-end traceability and secure data exchange for industrial supply chains with confidentiality as our core USP.  We are now generating commercial revenues with customers across multiple supply chains. 

By working in EU-funded projects and projects with our commercial customers, we have proven that our technology not only works, but it is enabling the transition to a more circular economy.  We believe our technology is revolutionizing the way products are produced, distributed, and consumed, by providing our customers with information about the sustainability, authenticity, and origin of the products. 

In 2021, the company received the prestigious “Innovation of the Year” award at the Plastics Recycling Awards Europe for its work in improving the traceability and transparency of recycled plastics. 

We successfully completed our Series A fundraise with €11M in 2022 with investment from Brightlands Venture Partners, 4Impact, Neste, Asahi Kasei and EU grants.  


How do you see your company making a difference in the future?

We believe our solutions will enable the concept of a circular economy to become a  reality, as by tracking the entire lifecycle of products, from raw materials to end-of-life disposal, Circularise’s solutions help reduce waste and carbon emissions, and ensure products are produced and disposed of in a responsible and sustainable way. A more sustainable and transparent global economy helps promote fair trade practices and increases trust between consumers and producers. 


You participated at the first Dealflow.eu Corporate Matchmaking Event and met all three corporates! Can you tell us more about how this opportunity was and how it could benefit your company?

Dealflow.eu is the leading platform for connecting investors with promising startups, and their e-pitching events provide a unique opportunity for startups like Circularise to showcase our solutions to a wide range of potential investors, as well as raise our company profile. By participating in Dealflow.eu’s pitching event, we are able to showcase not only our technology and business successes, but also gain exposure to investors whom we may not already know.  

I personally found the support and guidance from the team at Dealflow.eu to be very helpful and constructive in ensuring we communicate effectively and efficiently to investors. 


How would you define success and what keeps you going in the pursuit of it?

Circularise was founded on the basis that to enable a more circular economy, companies would need technology solutions where they have visibility of their materials they use and products they make, and which is truly decentralised, interoperable, and scalable with confidentiality protection at its core USP. By offering companies our digital product passport and MassBalancer solutions, we believe we can help them achieve this by being able to prove their sustainability declarations and adhere to upcoming EU legislationIf companies are able to create a more circular economy, they can use resources more efficiently and create products which are good for the environment and good for humanity. 


Article published by EurA AG.


About Innovator Spotlight Stories

The aim of innovator stories is to highlight and share with investors and relevant stakeholders in the industry, insights, and unique stories from some of the most innovative EU-funded project that Dealflow.eu is proud to support.

If you are an investor who wants to connect with Circularise, please feel free to reach out at [email protected]

More about Dealflow.eu 

Supported by the European Commission, Dealflow.eu discovers and supports the most promising EU-funded innovators and connects them with relevant investors and corporates. The initiative was launched to help groundbreaking innovations secure the funding needed for their future commercialisation by offering them tailored support and matchmaking services. 

To learn more about Dealflow.eu, visit https://dealflow.eu/ 


Disclaimer: Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.