Victorian-based and founded materials science company Great Wrap has raised $24 million in capital to ‘completely knock petroleum plastic off the supermarket shelf’ with its biodegradable products.
The $24 million investment includes an $11 million equity portion with participants including Darren Thomas, W23, Grill’d Innovation Fund, Giant Leap, Small Giants, Thai Wah Ventures, GroundSwell, Trail Mix Ventures and Springbank Collective. The final $13 million is non-dilutive capital, the terms of which co-founder Jordy Kay says are at competitive rates for a startup, comes from DLL Group, Rabobank’s asset financing arm.
The equity funding will be used primarily to grow the Great Wrap team and expand into new markets. The direct-to-consumer side of the business has sold products into 50,000 Australian homes and will launch in the US in two weeks’ time. Later this year the business plans to launch in the business-to-business market.
Great Wrap’s stretch wrap is made from potato waste. It’s currently in the process of adding a biorefinery to its Tullamarine manufacturing site, which will process potato waste into polyhydroxyalkanoates, or PHA biodegradable plastic. When the biorefinery is built, it is estimated to become one of about 10 in the world.
The company says it performs the same as conventional plastic wraps, but is 100% compostable, and breaks down in less than 180 days. Consumer advocate CHOICE says its cling wrap works in all the ways you would expect it to.
That’s been a real focus for Great Wrap, and co-founder Julia Kay says it’s important for sustainable products to work just as well and cost a similar amount to the incumbents they are trying to disrupt.
“It is really important that you’re not sacrificing on functionality, quality, or price, whereas it has often been like that in the past,” she said.
“We learnt really quickly from consumers, that even though most people would love to good and make the best choice at the supermarket shelf or online, it really does come down to price.
“Our interest in price is so that we can completely knock petroleum plastic off the shelf.”
Besides, he also said that biodegradation is an emerging field and definitely has a lot of scope to grow in the future.
(According to SmartCompany)