Friendlier closes $5-million seed extension for reusable packaging solution

Cleantech startup claims it has helped reuse over one million containers.

Guelph, Ont.-based cleantech startup Friendlier has secured a $5-million seed extension as it looks to help businesses transition from single-use plastics to reusable packaging.

The seed extension was co-led by Relay Ventures and Garage Capital, with participation from other undisclosed investors. The round is an extension of Friendlier’s $2.5 million seed funding round, and brings the startup’s total funding to $8.35 million.

“Canada can be a leader in embracing the change towards sustainable, circular packaging.”

Kayli Dale

Per a statement from the startup, Friendlier previously secured a $850,000 pre-seed funding round and $1 million in non-dilutive funding.

Friendlier is working towards establishing what it describes as “a robust reverse supply chain,” that supports the scalability of reusable packaging solutions, particularly as more businesses shift away from single-use plastics.

Last month, the Federal Court of Canada overturned the decision for a national ban on single-use plastic. While the federal government is planning to appeal that decision, many businesses have opted to move away from single-use plastic packaging.

“While the ban would help us capture the market that is resisting change away from single-use packaging, many brands are committed to improving the sustainability of their packaging regardless of the federal regulations,” Kayli Dale, CEO of Friendlier, said in a statement. 

“Canada can be a leader in embracing the change towards sustainable, circular packaging, or fight the change and delay the transition,” Dale added. “This change is happening around the globe, and it’s not a question of if, but when the ban will be implemented.”

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Founded in 2019 by University of Waterloo alumni Dale and COO Jacquie Hutchings, Friendlier offers reusable plastic containers at the same price as their single-use counterparts. This system operates akin to a bottle deposit scheme: customers pay a deposit for the containers, which is refunded upon their return. The returned containers undergo thorough sanitation before being redistributed for further use.

The startup, which launched its solution three years ago, recently reached a milestone of one million reused containers. Friendlier estimates that this has resulted in the avoidance of 127,000 pounds of plastic waste and 370,000 pounds of carbon emissions, in addition to saving eight million litres of water, compared to using single-use packaging.

Friendlier will use the seed extension to scale its solution, grow its sales team, and establish new facilities in Guelph and Vancouver. The startup also plans to tackle new segments within the single-use packaging sector, including a line of reusable coffee cups, in the near future.

Feature image source Friendlier.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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