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Byron Bay-based Zero Co today announced it has received a $6 million investment from global investment firm Square Peg, but it was the zero-waste company’s equity crowdfunding raise that broke the Internet, with demand sending the Birchal platform offline for one hour.
In addition to breaking Birchal, Zero Co broke Australian records after becoming the fastest company on the platform to raise $3 million – hitting the milestone in just 47 minutes, beating fintech Thrive’s previous record of three days.
Birchal’s systems were overloaded this morning after 2,500 registrants flooded the website to join the Zero Co raise, making it the fastest Australian company to raise $1 million ever, hitting that target in under five minutes, again beating Thrive which held the old record of three hours and 46 minutes.
The single-use plastic-free personal-care and home-cleaning brand was looking to raise up to $5 million in its first-ever crowd-sourced funding campaign, and did so within six hours and 27 minutes, becoming the largest crowdfund in Australian history.
The campaign attracted 3,082 investors, beating the previous record held by Shebah for a single campaign on the Birchal platform of 2,126.
Zero Co operates a model whereby products are sent directly to consumers in bottles made from landfill-bound plastic. The company then periodically sends customers refills in pouches (also made from recycled materials) to top up supply. Those pouches are then returned to Zero Co for repeated use.
Since launching in November 2020 off the back of a successful Kickstarter campaign, Zero Co has signed up more than 44,000 Aussie households and claims to be turning over more than $1 million every month.
Founder Mike Smith believes that asking customers to become shareholders is the solution to building a powerful community that will help Zero Co solve the global single-use plastic platform.
“We want our customers to help write the next chapter for Zero Co. We’re growing at a rapid pace and now we are looking to scale the business and take our audacious mission into international markets,” Smith said.
“We want to expand our product range, scale our operations and launch globally so that we can eliminate single-use plastic from every kitchen, laundry and bathroom.
“We’re at such an exciting phase of the business where we are growing a team of incredibly talented people, expanding with the help of our board members whose wealth of knowledge I learn from every day, all whilst fostering and building a passionate customer community who genuinely want to be a part of this journey with us.”
The company also announced today it has received a $6 million investment from Square Peg – news overshadowed by the group’s monumental morning crashing Birchal.
Square Peg partner Dan Krasnostein said he was honoured to have joined Smith and the Zero Co community on its mission to rid the world of single-use plastics.
“Community sits at the heart of Zero Co, so it’s particularly special that we’re joining them as investors at an exciting juncture where thousands of Aussies have the opportunity to also become shareholders through their October crowd-sourced funding,” Krasnostein said.
“The campaign is yet another example of how unique Mike and the teams’ first-principles thinking and customer orientation is, and it’s fantastic to be on this journey together.”
Zero Co’s existing shareholders will also be investing a further $2 million via a private round. These investors include Skip Capital, former St George Bank CEO Rob Chapman and NASDAQ-listed Kanbay International founder Raymond Spencer.
“We’re incredibly excited to have Square Peg join Zero Co’s audacious mission and are blown away by the support of our community who have shown such strong interest in becoming shareholders of the business,” Smith said.
“I can’t wait to grow our team of passionate business partners and work together to solve the single-use plastic problem.”
By David Simmons
19 October 2021