Fort Worth-based Petal Is a Finalist at P&G’s Home Cleanovation Challenge

Aiming to "reimagine the future of waste disposal," Petal launched "the world’s first zero-odor, germ-freezing waste bin" in 2020. On Tuesday, it's pitching the product as a finalist at Procter & Gamble's Home Cleanovation Challenge, administered by MassChallenge.

Petal is a Fort Worth-based startup that makes “the world’s first zero-odor, germ-freezing waste bin.” We told you about it when the product launched in 2020, but Tuesday could be an important new day for the company—because it’s pitching its product as a finalist in Procter & Gamble’s Home Cleanovation Challenge, administered by MassChallenge.

Petal’s wife-and-husband co-founders, Christie Zwahlen and David M. M. Taffet, will be presenting their product virtually to executives representing multiple P&G business units, including P&G’s Homecare Disruptive Innovation Lab, its ventures arm, and others, according to the startup.

Pitches during the demo day will be followed by a Q&A session from the execs.

“The stakes are sky-high as the Challenge exists to provide early-stage startups the opportunity for an ongoing partnership with P&G, including but not limited to, piloting opportunities, investment, and/or support for business growth,” the startup noted.

Solving the ‘stink’—and rot, germs, and more

Petal Co-Founders Christie Zwahlen and David M.M. Taffet [Photo: Petal]

Petal describes its high-tech waste bin as a sleek, “scarily efficient” appliance that freezes organic waste solid to 0°F in less than 35 minutes while using less than a $1 a month in electricity. Designed by aerospace engineer Primoz Cresnik, it uses patented freezing technology as a solution for rotting food scraps, dirty diapers, hygiene products, and home composting.

The hard freeze ensures that nothing leaks or sticks to Petal’s reusable plastic pail. As an eco-friendly benefit, that eliminates the need for single-use plastic liners.

Zwahlen, who serves as Petal’s EVP of social impact, says the company’s device aims to help people at “pivotal points” in their lives by reimagining the future of waste disposal. 

“From the birth of a child to the everyday challenge of maintaining a clean, healthy home environment, Petal solves the problem of rot, stink, and germs without asking people to change their habits,” she added in a statement.

P&G’s challenge spotlights innovation in fabric and home care industries

P&G’s Home Cleanovation Challenge is designed to showcase innovation and new products in the fabric and home care industries—a $170-plus billion market. 

According to MassChallenge, P&G is “looking for early- to mid-stage startups with MVP products seeking partnership and mentorship opportunities or potential investment to scale their solutions and drive the next evolution in fabric and home care.” 

Petal will be competing for a $10,000 cash prize, a piloting opportunity with Proctor & Gamble, and go-to-market strategy assistance including: 

•  Technical mentorship from a global Fortune 500 company with experience in products research and development
•  Ongoing partnership/investment opportunity with a leader in the consumer laundry and home care spaces
•  Senior executive feedback across branding, marketing, design, research, and development

Support for business growth could include branding, go-to-market strategy, R&D, and potentially more, MassChallenge said.

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