Eco startup Zero Co has kicked off a $4.3m crowd-sourced funding campaign, asking Australians to support its next growth phase as it seeks to tackle the global single-use plastic problem.

In just under 10 months, Zero Co has signed up over 40,000 Aussie households and has recently reached monthly sales of $1 million. Now, as the small team based in Byron Bay seeks to expand its zero-waste product range and enter the global market in 2022, it is asking loyal customers and all Australians to invest in its audacious mission.

Zero starter box.
Credit: Mum Central
Zero Co starter box. [Credit: Mum Central]

“We’re building a people-powered solution to the global single-use plastic problem and we want to align the interests of our customers with those of our business and our planet. There’s no better way to do that than for our customers to become our shareholders” said Zero Co founder Mike Smith, who launched the business in November 2020 after running Australia’s most funded Kickstarter in 2019 to produce a range of single-use plastic free, refillable personal-care and home-cleaning products.

Zero Co’s mission-led business model aims to tackle the single-use plastic problem by funding large-scale ocean cleanups 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.

[Tune in here to The PKN Podcast, Ep 39, in which Mike Smith shares the Zero Co story and future plans.]

Customers simply empty their refill pouches into reusable Forever Bottles and then send them back (in a reply-paid envelope) to be cleaned, refilled and reused for a lifetime.

Zero's closed loop system.
Customers empty refill pouches into reusable Forever Bottles and then send them back.

“Our success so far is down to the support of our incredibly passionate and loyal customers and the strong community that has been built out of this audacious mission. We have built this business together and now, we want to give customers the chance to become a Zero Co shareholder for as little as $250,” Smith said.

The company has announced an Expression Of Interest (EOI) phase through Birchal that seeks to raise up to $4.3m, which if successful, will be the largest crowdfund in Australian history. New shareholders will join the company’s list of current investors including Koala founders Dany Milham and Mitch Taylor, and former St George Bank CEO, Rob Chapman and Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar.

“Zero Co is probably the fastest growing direct-to-customer personal-care brand in Australian history,” said Rob Chapman, ex St George Bank CEO.

The public have until 10pm Monday 18 October to register their interest and get access to Zero Co’s first shareholder offering on Tuesday 19 October.

Click here to register your interest today and find out more about equity crowdfunding.

Food & Drink Business

The Australian Food Pact is the latest addition to the arsenal of projects and R&D working to halve the country’s food waste by 2030. Simplot Australia, Woolworths Group, Goodman Fielder and Coles Group are four of the founding signatories, joined by Mars Australia, Mondelēz Australia, ARECO Pacific, and McCain Foods.

With the removal of restrictions across states and transitioning into a COVID-19 norm, Woolworths has announced all team members must be vaccinated in the coming months to keep working.

Asahi Beverages has expanded its initiative to buy barley direct from farmers, with seven New South Wales growers now supplying the company’s Yatala brewery in Queensland.