Traveling with the Southern Methodist University golf team, Dillon Baxter and Maxime Blandin hated the single-use paper straws they encountered, which often fell apart mid-drink.
Their solution: PlantSwitch, a biodegradable straws and cutlery startup, which announced the closing of its $3.25 million seed funding round from undisclosed backers as it looks to expand its line of products.
“As we seek to bring better-quality, eco-friendly packaging options to market, this is a major step towards accelerating our impact,” said Baxter, who serves as co-founder and CEO, in a statement.
Initially launched as a B2B business with just three clients in early 2020, the company offers plastic-alternative products made by manufacturing partners from a resin of leftover agave fibers and liquid in the tequila-making process. PlantSwitch says its products are able to degrade by 90% within 100 days.
Going direct to consumer
Since that time, the company has grown rapidly. Adding a D2C side of the business, PlantSwitch had grown to hundreds of clients and counts names like Vandelay Hospitality Group and Rodeo Goat as customers and Sysco and Ben E. Keith as distributors, according to its website. Baxter said the company has more than doubled its revenue since September of last year with more than $1.3 million in annualized sales.
In October of last year, the company brought on Jeff Yandian—a former director of packaging for Sonic and senior category manager for Brinker International—as its new chief product officer for the 10-person team.
“Even with the barriers that the global pandemic and related supply chain challenges presented from the outset of our launch, we’ve been able to bring on new customers and meet supply demands throughout,” Baxter said.
With the new funding, Baxter plans to use the money to bolster its supply chain infrastructure and aims to contract with additional manufacturing partners or develop its own process. It’s also expanding its line of product offerings, with plans to launch things like clamshell containers, plates, and bowls in Q2, along with other products down the line. Baxter added PlantSwitch is also planning to launch a carbon offsetting program for the restaurant and hospitality industries, helping clients calculate their carbon emissions and offset them with a carbon exchange partner.
“We’re intensely focused on enabling the circular economy,” Baxter told Dallas Innovates. “Everything that we do is directed towards building that out.”
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