Ethique founder and CEO Brianne West says the success has, if nothing else, come as quite the shock to the system. “It’s amazing. I knew it would go quick after 1,300 of our customers registered their interest, but I’m blown away that it went that quick.”
West started the business in 2012 in her home kitchen, creating solid haircare and beauty bars in an attempt to reduce plastic waste. Since launching, they have stopped over 200,000 plastic bottles from going to landfills. “We’ve gone from our home kitchen, into a small factory, into a new 780 square metre premise in June 2017 whose warehouse we are struggling to keep full,” she explains.
The business grew more than 330 percent in the last financial year, and their goal is to hit revenue of over $2.2 million this financial year. Ambitious? Perhaps But consider the following.
Ethique raised their first round of equity funding in 2015 in two weeks, on a pre-money valuation of a little more than $1 million. In their latest round, they raised $500,000 in less than a day – on a pre-money valuation of just over $10 million. In other words, the company is worth about 10 times more now than it was just two years ago.
In its latest PledgeMe campaign, Ethique’s offer was only online for 90 minutes before it hit the maximum goal, after giving their original shareholders 21 hours to pre-register their pledges. The campaign was launched at the Social Enterprise World Forum, an international event hosted this year in Christchurch where 1,500 social enterprises and supporters gathered to discuss the future of enterprise.
West says there are several things her company plans to do with the money. “The money raised will be spent on our marketing and expansion in New Zealand, Australia and the United States, as well as working capital to keep up with demand,” she says. “Our mission is to rid the world of plastic bottles, and we need all the support we can get to scale to make that happen.”
Ethique also recently presented at the seventh annual New Zealand Investment Showcase, held in Auckland this past September. At the event, West also said the company had a pre-money valuation of just over $10 million, and was looking to raise about $1 million with a share price of about $8 per share, to be used for expansion into Australia and the United States.