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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Eco-friendly startup Beco gets investment from celebs like Dia Mirza, Aamir Khan

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D2C startup Beco pushes for eco-friendly products to replace use-and-throw plastic. Celebrities like Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan and cricketer Rohit Sharma invest in this startup.

Mumbai-based Beco makes eco-friendly and cost-effective products that have the same flexibility as use-and-throw plastic items.   Bollywood actors Dia Mirza, Bhumi Pednekar, Ranbir Kapoor and Aamir Khan, and cricketer Rohit Sharma are investors in direct-to-consumer (D2C) startup Beco. The company was founded by Aditya Ruia, Akshay Varma, and Anuj Ruia in 2019.

Beco has secured $3 million in a Series A round of funding that had the participation of Better Capital, Priyavrata Mafatlal,  Prashant Pittie, Titan Capital, and Rukum Capital.  To accelerate expansion, the money will be used for R&D (product innovation and development in sustainability), marketing, supply chain activities, and talent acquisition across verticals.

Archana Jahagirdar, Managing Partner of Rukum Capital, stated at the time of fundraising, “The growth it [Beco] has had in the previous year is encouraging, indicating a strong affinity and passion for the brand. Beco is driven by a distinct sense of purpose, and they have successfully proved that a toxic-free and eco-conscious way of life is not only fashionable, but also more efficient.”

Dia Mirza was one of Beco’s earliest clients, according to Co-founder Aditya Ruia. In addition, the business was one of the suppliers for the actor’s much-discussed sustainable wedding. He says that the wedding was not a commercial opportunity because it was natural for Beco to cooperate with Dia, who believed in the sustainability cause.

It all started in 2019 with a beach clean-up initiative in Mumbai. While Aditya, Akshay, and Anuj were regulars at the clean-up, they discovered something unusual this time: a unique wrapper designed for a chocolate brand that was discontinued in the 1990s.

Aditya explains, “The understanding that every piece of plastic we use will someday return to us sprouted the seed of an idea to create natural waste-free things.  That is how Beco came to be—to offer sustainable homecare solutions that do not harm your home or the environment.”

The three friends, who have known each other since their undergraduate days at BITS Pilani, decided to start a business making 100% plastic-free items such as waste bags, tissue papers, cotton buds, reusable towels, and so on.

Beco has avoided over 500 tonnes of plastic trash in the last three years by implementing a sustainable manufacturing and packaging plan.

He claims, “We do market trips on a regular basis to ensure that consumers comprehend the items.”

Aditya continues, “We utilize less water in our manufacturing operations.  The company uses an omnichannel strategy and has an average basket size of Rs 850. Beco’s goods range in price from Rs 100 to Rs 1,000.

According to RoC records, the firm lost Rs 4.09 lakh in fiscal 2020. It had a profit of Rs 5.20 lakh in fiscal year 2021.

The corporation has yet to submit its fiscal figures for fiscal year 2022. It sells through its own direct-to-consumer channel and is also available on a variety of ecommerce sites, including Amazon, Flipkart, and Bigbasket.

However, Aditya notes that “the consumer habit and lack of awareness in this domain are the most problematic aspects that we’ve faced.”

He says, “We’ve tried to educate people about the market’s plastic and chemicalized commodities, as well as how Beco is addressing the issue by replacing them with plant-based alternatives.”

According to a Coherent Marketing Insights analysis, the worldwide biodegradable packaging industry will reach $21 billion by 2025, up from $3.92 billion last year. Several firms, like Bambrew, Truegreen, Earthware Goods, Ecoware, and Earthsoul, are now assisting customers with the increased need for biodegradable packaging and products.

Beco’s current plans are to invest in new product development to continue establishing a chemical-free cleaner category, grow into other homecare categories, and extend its distribution to 10,000 outlets across India, up from 5,000 now.

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