Julian Ellis-Brown


“We were looking for a material that warms without harming the environment or animals.”

When Julian Ellis-Brown speaks, even King Charles III listens. The young CEO and co-founder of the startup Ponda presented the British monarch with a tailor-made stepped vest in summer 2023, explaining the benefits of its sustainable filling, and the “green king” was all ears. The idea for the fluffy filling material called BioPuff® – an alternative to down – came to Ellis-Brown and three of his fellow students during their master’s program in innovation and design technology. They found bulrushes – plants capable of sequestering carbon and recultivating soil. “What drove us was the idea of a design that would actively help saving the planet,” he says. In the lab, the four students developed a method for extracting a soft filler material from the plants’ rough bulbs. For its innovative idea, Ponda has received the Global Change Award, among other honors. Not yet 30 years old, the tireless conservationist is already working on the next new bio-materials together with various research institutes.