Subscription service Brushbox secures over £770k in funding from nearly 300 investors on Crowdcube

  • Start-up raises investment for eco-friendly toothbrush subscription boxes
  • It has been 154% overfunded in its latest investment round
  • The funding will result in nearly 10,000 toothbrushes being gifted to disadvantaged children through its ‘Buy 1, Give 1’ charitable scheme

A Cardiff-based start-up providing an eco-friendly toothbrush subscription service has secured more than £770,000 investment in its latest funding round, exceeding its target by over £250,000 from nearly 300 investors.

Founded by former Deloitte advisor, Mike Donovan, Brushbox aims to be the world’s largest subscription brand for eco-friendly, cruelty-free and sustainable personal toothbrush, toothpaste and oral care products.

During the funding round, Brushbox has also strengthened its board and investor base with the addition of founder, former CEO and now vice chair of Cloudreach, Pontus Noren. A senior advisor to The Blackstone Group, he brings with him 24 years’ experience as a successful entrepreneur, with leadership expertise in the IT industry across sales, business development and product marketing from working for blue chip companies like Cisco, Ericsson, and Nokia.

Mike explained the Brushbox team has been overwhelmed by the support they have received in this funding round and said: “To have so many people willing to invest their hard-earned cash on our company is amazing and to welcome investors of the calibre of Pontus to the board has been phenomenal.

To exceed our funding target by 154% is just incredible and it has been truly exciting to have so many people who share and support our vision to create a step change in how we consume every day, typically throw away items, with an aim to vastly improve the UK’s oral health in a fun and different way, including young children in deprived areas who might otherwise not have the means to help themselves in the way that some of us do. We can’t thank everyone enough for their support and encouragement.”

On his investment and appointment to the Brushbox board, Pontus Noren said: “I met Mike a few months ago and his passion for Brushbox and his persistence to build the best consumer focussed subscription businesses was palatable.

This is an industry ripe for disruption and Brushbox is in pole position to drive the change we need to see. With a focus on health, eco-friendliness and giving back as a core part of the business, I believe Brushbox can look forward to an exciting and bright future.”

Brushbox is the UK’s first sustainable subscription box service and deliver 100% recyclable and biodegradable toothbrushes, including beautiful bamboo brushes, toothpaste and other oral health products direct to your door. With their focus on eco-friendly bamboo toothbrushes one of their key aims is to combat the estimated *3.6bn plastic toothbrushes that end up in landfill or our oceans each year.

Since its launch in 2018, Brushbox has been listed as the number one start-up business to watch in Wales and, having delivered thousands of boxes across the UK last year, was named the second fastest-rising direct to consumer brand in the UK by Marketing Week magazine, just behind US razor subscription service Dollar Shave Club.

Explaining the inspiration behind Brushbox, Mike said: “We understand that actively remembering when to change your toothbrush may not immediately be at the top of everyone’s priority list, but we’re passionate about spreading the Brushbox ethos in order to improve people’s health.

“The awareness around the damage that plastics are having in our seas and environment means that there is an ever-growing population of consumers who are crying out for eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives to the status-quo, and it’s important that this is done well.

“According to a report from Euromonitor, the oral care market exceeded sales of £1.3billion in 2017 in the UK alone, with traditional plastic toothbrushes and toothpaste making up 73% of those sales. Alongside this, the UK subscription market is one of the fastest growing sectors in retail and is forecasted to be worth more than £1billion by 2022. With more than half of 25-35-year olds in the UK already signed up to at least one subscription box, and with 40% of consumers saying they will join more schemes in the future, there is the potential for big, sustainable and eco-friendly business to be done here.”

Mike is committed to improving the oral health of the UK and to that end Brushbox has also fostered a partnership with Dentaid which means that, for every Brushbox toothbrush sold, another one is donated to a disadvantaged child who may not have the same means to replace their brushes when they’re supposed to. As a direct result of their most recent funding round an additional 10,000 toothbrushes will be donated in the coming months.

More information on subscribing to Brushbox can be found at www.brushbox.com.

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Notes to editors:

For more information, please contact Lynsey Walden or Bethan Rees at Front Door Communications on 02920 020360 or at knock.knock@fdcomms.co.uk.

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Verv raises over £6.5 million Series A for its smart hub tackling climate change with AI and Blockchain

April 10, 2019

Verv, the Google-mentored start-up behind a cutting-edge smart energy hub and green electricity sharing platform, today announced that it has raised over £6.5 million in its Series A round led by environmental fund Earthworm.

Earthworm has invested £5 million in Verv’s pioneering IoT and renewable energy trading technology that could drive down household electricity bills and carbon emissions by over 20%. Other investors in the round include European innovation engine for sustainable energy, InnoEnergy, Crowdcube and international energy and services company, Centrica.

Earthworm’s investment is an important backing of Verv’s vision to make millions of homes more green with a global network of smart hubs that offer a real-time breakdown of key appliance use and spend, as well as enable the trading of domestic renewable energy between communities.

Will Brocklebank, Head of Projects and Partnerships at Earthworm who has now joined the Verv board, said: “At Earthworm we are driven by sustainability and Verv represents a brilliant example of ‘enabling’ technology. Its energy metering, analytics and renewable energy trading platform will help millions to reduce energy consumption, to shift their demand to minimise cost and CO2.”

Verv will use the investment to continue its push into global markets, leveraging its growing footprint in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, supported by further development of its three-phase electricity smart hub which enables huge growth in reach by providing compatibility with even more buildings. Verv will also be scaling up its peer-to-peer energy trading pilots and taking its technology to new markets ready for commercial application, as well as expanding its internal home control system for the next generation of smart home energy management systems.

Verv’s customers include British Gas, PTT and Dubai Electricity & Water Authority. Verv conducted the UK’s first peer-to-peer trade of energy on blockchain technology last year at one of its pilot sites in Hackney, London where its cutting-edge energy trading platform is being brought to life.

Verv is Google-mentored having been one of a handful of UK startups selected to take part in Launchpad, Google’s global startup programme in 2017.

Head of Technology at Google, Mark Masterson, said of the Series A funding: “When I saw Verv pitch for a space on our start-up programme in 2017, I was extremely impressed by their vision and drive to push the boundaries of tech with their leading edge AI technology and blockchain. To see them bring this to life, expand their global footprint and achieve some amazing accolades like conducting the UK’s first trade of energy on the blockchain, I couldn’t be more proud. They are riding at the forefront of the energy industry to try and create positive change, and I wish them huge success going forward.

Established in 2015, Verv has raised over £10 million to date with investment from the likes of Innogy International Middle East, Scytale Ventures and equity crowdfunding. Centrica (British Gas), who had previously invested £1.9m into Verv through its social impact investment fund Ignite via a convertible loan, exchanged this loan for shares in the Series A round which is a huge testament to the Verv team and Centrica’s belief in them.

CEO & Founder of Verv Peter Davies said: “It’s vital to have investors that not only understand your vision and mission, but share your passion to deliver it. As our lead investor, Earthworm have huge expertise in the energy industry, as well as a strong foundation and network to help move us from start-up to scale-up. We couldn’t be more pleased to have them join our network of valued investors to help accelerate our traction. We are extremely excited for the next phase of our growth as we help to drive the transition to the decarbonisation of households.”

Sustainable accelerator InnoEnergy will support Verv with its impressive IP roadmap which already consists of 7 filed patents for its AI and blockchain technology, as well as connect the team to market and commercial opportunities across Europe.

Alexander Goos, Business Creation Manager at InnoEnergy, said: “Our industry connections and energy specific expertise will be a perfect fit with the needs of Verv. The solutions they develop potentially impact markets in ways that seem like fantasy today. Verv will not only generate efficiencies and insights for households but also enable new business models for energy providers, utilities and other industries.”

About Verv’s technology

Verv’s technology reads data up to five million times faster than a smart meter, enabling it to identify unique energy signatures and unlock real-time consumption and cost per appliance, amongst other smart home features, to help drive behavioural change in the home.

Taking the smart home one step further, Verv has created a peer-to-peer renewable energy trading platform based on blockchain technology. The trading platform allows homeowners with renewable energy generation like solar panels to sell surplus energy directly to their neighbours at the best economic value for both parties. This enables green energy to become more readily accessible and affordable to the masses and also incentivises the uptake of renewable energy by offering owners a return on their investment, a particularly important point given the end of the feed-in-tariff.

Verv’s blockchain-based platform is currently being implemented at a social housing community in London where Verv executed the UK’s first peer-to-peer trade of energy using blockchain in April 2018. Centrica have joined the second phase of the trial which will focus on bill consolidation.

Verv raises £827k from 1030 investors on CrowdCube

Today, machine-learning start-up Verv announced that it has raised £827k on Crowdcube, more than doubling its initial target of £350k as it embarks on the next phase of its growth. The company has brought on board an incredible 1030 investors as it gains support for international growth in the Middle East, Far East and Europe.

Speaking of the crowd raise, Verv CEO & Founder Peter Davies said, “We are thrilled to have support from 1030 new crowd investors as we embark on a journey from start-up to scale-up. Since our Crowdcube raise in 2017, we have gained interest worldwide for our smart hub technology and blockchain-based energy trading platform and we are excited to take on new markets and customers with propositions which span energy efficiency, insurance, elderly care and renewables.”

The raise comes hot on the heels of a £500k investment from innogy International Middle East (IME) which has added Verv to its portfolio in order to further bolster the smart living transformation in the Middle East. The investment is the latest in a series of disruptive technologies secured by innogy IME as they support the UAE government’s vision to take a leading role in smart cities and the application of cutting-edge technology.

With its powerful analysis tools and unique machine learning abilities, Verv is giving users greater insight into their household electricity consumption, displaying the real-time cost and consumption for each of your key appliances via a smartphone app. This information, coupled with personalised insights, can enable users to reduce electricity use, minimise their carbon footprint and bring down bills. Verv also provides safety alerts when certain heated appliances like hair straighteners have been left on for too long, adding to its smart home functionality.

Furthermore, by incorporating blockchain technology into the hub, Verv has created an energy trading platform that’s looking to tackle climate change by incentivising the uptake of renewables, whilst improving access to cheaper, green energy via community sharing schemes.

Last year, Verv executed the UK’s first peer-to-peer trade of energy on blockchain at its trial site in Hackney, London which UK energy giant Centrica (British Gas) has recently joined in order to trial the impact of energy trading on customer bills, as well as establish what bills would look like in the era of peer-to-peer energy trading.

Source: Company website