There is a growing trend to focus on sustainability in recent years. It is due to several factors, including increasing awareness of the importance of environmental issues, the desire to appeal to socially-conscious consumers, and the availability of more sustainable business models.
Many startups are leading the charge to accelerate sustainability. There are many reasons why startups are particularly well-suited to driving sustainability initiatives.
- Firstly, they tend to be agile and adaptable, which means they can implement change quickly.
- Secondly, they’re often led by passionate and idealistic founders who care about making a difference.
- Thirdly, many startups are technology-driven, giving them a unique ability to develop innovative solutions to sustainability challenges.
The Netherlands-based The Good Roll is one such startup that keeps sustainability at its core. Last month, the startup raised €779,556 in crowdfunding on the CrowdAboutNow platform to accelerate marketing efforts and expand its team with several important roles.
We reached out to Sander de Klerk, co-founder of The Good Roll, to better understand their thoughts behind choosing a crowdfunding platform, the plans for the startup, and more.
The Good Roll: What does it do?
Sander de Klerk and Melle Schellekens founded The Good Roll in 2017 to disrupt the toilet paper market by manufacturing toilet paper from an alternative raw material instead of wood pulp – Bamboo.
“My partner Melle Schellekens founded the idea when looking for a new business model where impact and sustainability are key,” says Sander de Klerk.
According to the company, the right kind of bamboo is a fantastic raw material for making super strong and soft toilet paper.
The Good Roll carefully selects small farmers with bamboo on their land and trains them to handle their land and bamboo carefully and wisely.
The company’s local teams then cut and harvest the bamboo so that it grows back to a level where it can be cut again within 12-24 months without any damage.
The Good Roll built its first factory in Ghana in 2021 with the cooperation of national and local governments (with the Netherlands Enterprise Agency and Rabobank Foundation).
The factory manufactures toilet paper from bamboo, simultaneously giving employment to locals.
“We want to build more factories in Ghana and scale up in Europe and the future USA,” says Klerk. Further, the startup plans to open an office and store in Amsterdam.
Why choose to crowdfund?
Generally, Crowdfunding is raising money for a project or venture by asking people to pledge small amounts of money, typically online.
“We tried seeking funding from various sources like VCs and Impact funding companies. Since we don’t fit into any category – neither a tech company nor a food company, it was tough to find someone willing to invest in us. We’ve put a lot of money into marketing and staffing, so even though we’re currently operating at a loss, we still believe in our company and what we’re doing. So we turned to crowdfunding since some people believe in our brand and actions,” says Klerk.
According to him, marketing is the key to achieving the target in crowdfunding. “You have to promote a lot to your crowd because they don’t invest directly from day one,” he says.
The founder also shared that his second best bet to raise funding was Equity crowdfunding, if not the standard crowdfunding option. To the uninitiated, equity-based crowdfunding is another popular method whereby people receive equity in the project in exchange for their investment.
“We are planning to raise funds through equity crowdfunding in Q1, 2023,” he adds.
Crowdfunding can be a great way to raise money for a project, but it’s important to note that there is no guarantee of success. To increase the chances of success, Sanders has shared four crucial points for startups looking to crowdfund. They are as follows:
- Ask everybody to help you and share your story.
- The story must be good.
- And don’t be afraid to ask everybody in your network.
- Network is key
“We are looking for money from people who believe in our mission to make the world a little better with a product that is made in a fair trade way from a sustainable raw material,” mentions the company.
The Good Roll Foundation & its future
The company allocates 50 per cent of profits to The Good Roll Foundation.
The Foundation works with local people in Ghana to build safe, sanitary facilities in schools and villages, and maintains them.
The company claims to have built 213 toilets in Ghana and Uganda.
The company also claims it doubled its annual turnover until last year by almost €2.5M. Further, the Dutch company aims to achieve at least three hundred million euros in turnover by 2028.