• In a quirky nod to the campaign's 'breaking the internet' success, Zero Co founder Mike Smith strikes the famous Kim Kardashian-style pose.
    In a quirky nod to the campaign's 'breaking the internet' success, Zero Co founder Mike Smith strikes the famous Kim Kardashian-style pose.

Australian eco-startup Zero Co, innovator of a closed loop packaging model for cleaning products, has smashed the country’s record for the largest crowdfunding campaign in history, raising $5 million in just six hours and 27 minutes.

Zero liquid stain remover.
Zero Co liquid stain remover.

The business made history on several accounts in its first ever crowdsource funding campaign, including:

  • The largest crowdsource funding campaign in Australian history, raising $5m (previously Thrive at $3m);
  • The fastest raise in Australia to $1m through crowdsource funding, in under five minutes (previously Thrive with three hours and 46 minutes);
  • The fastest raise in Australia to $3m through crowdsource funding, in just 47 minutes (previously Thrive at three days, four hours and 15 minutes); and
  • Highest number of investors (3082) on the Birchal platform for a single campaign (previously Shebah at 2126). 

The single-use plastic-free personal-care and home-cleaning brand turned to crowdfunding to ask its customers to become shareholders, and join its mission in ridding the world of the problematic waste. The company is looking to launch a body care range adopting the same model as for its home care range.

Zero Co will use the capital raised to help it expand its product range and enter the global market in 2022. The company is aiming to clean and sanitise 10,000 pouches per day (one million a year) over the next 12-18 months. 

Zero breaks the internet.
Mike Smith, Zero Co's founder, is. clearly ecstatic.

The shareholder offering went live on Tuesday, 19 October at 11am, which was delayed by an hour after the Birchal platform crashed struggling to keep up with the 2.5 thousand pre-registrants.

“We’re so humbled by the support of our customers and every Aussies who have decided to invest their money in our audacious mission,” said Mike Smith, founder of Zero Co. 

“We’re looking to grow this business by expanding our product range, scaling our operations, and launching globally, so that we can eliminate single-use plastic from every kitchen, laundry and bathroom.” 

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 problem. 

And with 73 per cent of new investors being pre-existing customers, results are showing that the business has a loyal community who not only believe in the brand’s mission, but are keen to financially back its closed-loop business model.

Since launching in November 2020 off the back of running Australia’s most funded Kickstarter in 2019, Zero Co has now signed up over 44,000 Aussie households, grown from a team of three to 18, and is making monthly sales of over $1m.

Zero Co’s mission-led business model aims to tackle the single-use plastic problem by funding large-scale ocean clean-ups, and stopping the production of single-use plastics in the first place. 

Smith has implemented an Australian-first closed-loop supply chain where products are delivered carbon negative direct to customers’ doors. Customers simply empty their refill pouches into reusable Forever Bottles, and then send them back to be cleaned, refilled and reused for a lifetime.

“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 everyday, all while fostering and building a passionate customer community who genuinely want to be part of this journey with us,” Smith said. 

New shareholders will join the company’s list of current investors including Koala founders Dany Milham and Mitch Taylor, former St George Bank CEO Rob Chapman, and Atlassian co-founders Scott Farquhar venture capital firm Skip Capital.

The business has just raised an additional $2m from existing shareholders and signed a $6m deal with venture capital investor Square Peg. 

“Zero Co’s mission has inspired action by tens of thousands of Aussies so far, who have snapped up it’s incredible range of planet-friendly personal care and home cleaning products,” said Dan Krasnostein, partner at Square Peg. 

“Like many of their customers, I came for the mission, but stayed for the product, because it’s a truly beautiful range.”

To become a Zero Co shareholder, click here.

To check out PKN Packaging News’ chat with Mike Smith, click here for the PKN Podcast.

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