Materials science start-up Great Wrap has closed a $24 million Series A funding round, giving co-founders Jordy and Julia Kay solid ground on which they hope to end the world's reliance on petroleum-based plastic packaging.
The Mornington Peninsula-based business, which manufactures compostable stretch wrap from food waste, raised $11 million in equity in a round which included Darren Thomas, the managing director of Thomas Food International, Woolworths’ (ASX: WOW) venture capital arm W23, and the Grill’d Innovation Fund.
The winners of the ‘Social Responsibility & Sustainability’ category at the 2021 Melbourne Young Entrepreneur Awards received an additional $13 million of non-dilutive capital from DLL Group, Rabobank’s asset financing arm.
“The world’s largest companies are making plastic reduction commitments to end plastic waste, but unfortunately, we will not recycle our way out of this mess,” Great Wrap co-founder Julia Kay said
“Our technology can support this transition to a safer and cleaner future, and we now have the capacity to manufacture all of Australia’s stretch wrap, thanks to our impact-aligned investors who’ve helped create a brighter future for all.”
Great Wrap recently expanded into a new 12,000 sqm facility in Tullamarine, which will have the capacity to manufacture 30,000 tonnes of the compostable stretch wrap by the end of 2023 – allowing the business to commercialise its home compostable cling wrap, catering wrap and pallet wraps.
The project cost $6.41 million, $500,000 of which was secured from government funding with additional cash being raised through asset financing, including investment from Series A investor Darren Thomas and entrepreneur Simon Griffiths - the co-founder and CEO of philanthropic toilet paper company Who Gives a Crap.
The Tullamarine factory, which the team moved into last December, is considered phase one of a journey toward total vertical integration, enabling Great Wrap to process local waste from one of Australia's largest potato processors.
Phase two is expected to be completed in 2023 when Great Wrap commissions the first-of-its-kind biorefinery on-site, allowing for an up-cycle of nearly 50,000 tonnes of local potato waste annually.
“This Series A raise means that by the end of 2023, we’ll be in a position to create more than 100 local jobs in Victoria alone,” Great Wrap co-founder Jordy Kay said.
“The biorefinery setup will also be a huge step forward for our state - we’re excited to be bringing biotechnology and advanced manufacturing to the forefront.”
Although currently focused on the Australian market, it won’t be long until Great Wrap starts to target international expansion. It plans to target markets with world-leading impact-focussed consumers, legislation and strong corporate ESG mandates.
While Julia is an architect by trade, Jordy is a former winemaker, with the pair founding the business in 2019 after agreeing that both wanted to effect meaningful change.
On a mission to remove 150,000 tonnes of plastic stretch wrap sent to landfill in Australia each year, the team collaborated with Monash University to develop its products.
With bio-designers, engineers and scientists on board, the team behind Great Wrap has developed a new packaging technology paradigm that enables it to manufacture compostable stretch wrap.
Great Wrap is made from potato waste and other compostable biopolymers, which perform the same function as conventional plastic but will break down in under 180 days – making it home compostable.
The business, which has just received its B Corp Certification, also received an equity investment from venture capitalist firms Giant Leap, Trail Mix Ventures, Springbank Collective and Thai Wah Ventures, the not-for-profit education initiative Small Giants and investment group GroundSwell.
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