Envirotech startup Refilled has raised $1.3 million in a Seed round to transform drink dispensing and reduce single use plastic bottles.
The raise was led by existing backer Melt Ventures with support from Envato cofounders, Cyan and Collis Ta’eed and others.
Refilled previously raised $600,000 through angel investors and Melt’s modern manufacturing fund.
The Sydney startup, which emerged out of UTS, has developed smart drinks dispensers as an alternative to selling bottled and canned drinks.
The funding will enable Refilled to manufacture 100 Refiller stations over the next 12 months at its factory in Penrith, western Sydney, increase its headcount and for product development.
Cofounders Stefan Kent and Ryan Nelson set themselves a mission to “unbottle the Australian drinks industry”. Less than 20% of the 891 billion-plus single-use plastic bottles are produced annually worldwide are ever recycled.
The Refiller dispensers are an alternative to tradition drink vending machines and can offering chilled still and sparkling drinks on tap in 100s of flavour combinations
Initial users include include Google, UTS, University of Sydney, Aeona co-working space and The Sydney Greenhouse Tech Hub.
Ryan Nelson was previously the cofounder of Foodbomb, with a decade of experience in startups, and moved from software development to hardware for Refilled.
“The best way to reduce waste is to not make it in the first place. We want to unbottle the Australian beverage industry so that drinking options better reflect consumer behaviour and their expectations on plastic pollution,” he said.
“Now we have the support needed to grow the team and seriously ramp up local manufacturing. This investment will help us install 100 Refillers in 2024, eliminate our first 1 million bottles next year, and 100m bottles by 2030.”
Impact investor Collis Ta’eed said sustainability alone isn’t enough to get consumers to change their behaviour.
“Refilled’s brilliance is that it’s using a less wasteful model to give consumers a better, more affordable beverage experience. It’s win-win,” he said.
Melt Ventures founder Trent Bagnall said changing consumer habits is hard without practical solutions that are easy to adopt.
“Producing plastic bottles for water and beverages just doesn’t make sense,” he said.
Refilled’s approach will save millions of plastic bottles from entering landfill and the environment while providing consumers with an enhanced and personalised experience.”