Securing €10.5M funding for Ukrainian green tech startup ReLeaf Paper


ReLeaf Paper

The background:

ReLeaf Paper is a pioneering force and the first company worldwide to manufacture paper and packaging without cutting a single tree. Instead, they use fallen leaves. Their journey began in 2021 in Ukraine when a young, talented scientist and accomplished entrepreneur co-founded the company. They developed a groundbreaking technology to extract cellulose from fallen leaves and other green waste. However, they needed funding to finalise their product, bring it to the market, and scale. So, they asked Civitta for assistance in identifying potential financing sources and writing a compelling funding application. 

Aim of the project:

Our client’s technology enables the processing of leaves and other green waste into cellulose, which is used to create paper and some types of packaging. This material is a direct substitute for primary cellulose obtained from wood, with several advantages. Leaf paper is fully recyclable and biodegrades in just 60 days. Additionally, using such raw materials results in 78% lower carbon dioxide emissions. Furthermore, ReLeaf Paper contributes to forest conservation by saving 17 trees for every ton of paper produced. 

The startup launched test production in Ukraine in 2021, utilising the services of other factories. In September of the same year, pilot sales of several ReLeaf products began, including wrapping paper and paper bags. Some of the startup’s initial clients include L’Oreal, Samsung, Weleda, and Schneider Electric.

Civitta has played a key role in helping ReLeaf Paper secure the funding they needed to finalise their product, launch it in the market, and expand. Additionally, we have supported them in drafting the funding application and preparing for the interview phase in one of the most competitive European funding programs.

The selection process lasted over seven months and included two rounds of validation and a final interview with five experts representing Western European VCs. As a result, ReLeaf Paper beat out more than 6,500 competing companies and received blended funding. 

The total cost of the submitted project was €3.5M, which the European Commission agreed to finance €2.5M through a grant. In addition, ReLeaf will negotiate to receive around €8M of investment to scale the project further.

“Each year, thousands of startups and representatives of small and medium-sized businesses from all EU countries apply for funding from the EIC Accelerator. Statistically, about 1-1.5% achieve success. In addition to the ReLeaf team, consultants from Civitta, a leading management consulting company in Central and Eastern Europe with headquarters in Estonia, also joined the project team. This became an important success factor,” comments startup co-founder Oleksandr Sobolenko.

Services provided:

  • Helping ReLeaf Paper identify the financing source. 
  • Assisting in writing the funding application and preparing for the interview stage in one of the most competitive European funding programs.

Project result:

Since 2021, ReLeaf Paper has become a significant and unique player in the European paper manufacturing arena. To this date, they have raised €2,8 M in funding, opened offices in Kyiv and Paris, registered five Patents, and successfully obtained customers in 20 European countries.

Thanks to our client, paper and packaging materials can be produced without cutting a single tree. This is the future of paper, and we are proud to be a part of it.


Olena Shershun

Associate Partner, Kyiv, Ukraine