Mum and dad investors eager to invest in plastics waste reduction startup Zero Co have flooded the website of crowd-sourced funding (CSF) platform Birchal ahead of the company’s $5 million raise.
More than 2500 people pre-registered for the Birchal campaign during the expressions of interest phase. With the offer due to open to investors at 10am on Tuesday, October 19, the site buckled under the traffic volumes and it was delayed until 11am.
Before then, people attempting to log onto the campaign site were greeted with a message that said Birchal “was experiencing a high volume of traffic and using a virtual queue to limit the amount of users on the website at the same time”.
In the first 10 minutes of the raise, Zero Co had scooped up $1.17 million from 155 investors.
It then took less than 30 minutes for the company to attract more than $2 million from 575 backers.
In less than an hour, the startup has broken the Australian crowdfunding record, raising more than $3 million from more than 1100 investors in that time.
Meanwhile, Zero founder and CEO Mike Smith announced that the company had decided to put a $10,000 cap on investments due to the overwhelming demand.
“In order to make it as fair as possible for everyone, this cap will enable more investors to take part,” he wrote to potential investors ahead of the campaign launch.
“We’re focused on building a truly people powered solution to the global single-use plastic problem and the more people that are with us on this journey, the better.”
As the money flowed in, Smith revised that figure down to $5000, then $2000 and now $1000.
Zero Co’s record-breaking raise is now at the maximum of $5m under Australian CSF laws, after the company increased it by $700,000 since the EOI campaign began.
That figure is $2 million more than the previous record of $3 million set by Shebah Rideshare in March 2019 and matched by fintech Thrive in February 2021.
Yesterday the 11-month-old Byron Bay company revealed it had also raised $6 million from VC firm Square Peg Capital. That figure is on top of a $2 million private round from Kim Jackson’s Skip Capital, former St George Bank boss Rob Chapman and Kanbay International founder Raymond Spencer.
The environmental startup’s roster of heavyweight backers also includes Koala co-founders Dany Milham and Mitch Taylor, and Right Click Capital founder Ari Klinger.
Zero Co is reducing the plastic waste generated from common household products using a closed-loop system where products are delivered carbon negative direct to door, emptied from refill pouches into reusable “Forever Bottles”, then returned in a complimentary reply-paid envelope and reused.
The business is already generating more than $1 million a month in sales of refillable personal-care and home-cleaning products, having signed up more than 43,000 households.
Smith launched Zero Co in November 2020 following a Kickstarter campaign that generated more than 7000 orders worth $742,000.
Today’s CSF offer is only open to people who pre-registered with Birchal, with investment from the general public opening from 10am, Thursday, October 21.
UPDATES: Just 4.5 hours, Zero has raised nearly $4.7 million from close to 2,700 investors.
The campaign ended just after 5pm – six hours after it began – with 3081 people investing to reach the $5 million target.
NOW READ: VC Square Peg backs waste reduction startup Zero Co in $6 million raise ahead of record-breaking $5m crowd-funding campaign