Midfielder Mathieu Flamini is arguably more successful as a businessman than a footballer – and that’s despite playing for the likes of Arsenal, AC Milan and Marseille during his 16-year stint in professional football.

In 2008 he founded bioscience firm GF Biochemicals with business partner Pasquale Granata, becoming the first company to mass-produce levulinic acid, a sustainable oil substitute which can be used in plastics, solvents, fuels and the pharmaceutical industry – a market which Forbes estimates could be worth about $33bn.

At the time, Mathieu Flamini said he founded GF Biochemicals “with the ambition of finding sustainable alternatives to oil-based products”.

The company operates in Italy, the Netherlands, China and Brazil.

The acid has also been identified by the US Department of Energy as one of the 12 molecules that can help the transition into a greener world.

Further reading

Who were the Dragons’ Den Dragons and where are they now?