Vietnam-based sustainability startup EQUO raises $1.3m for eco-friendly options

Vietnam-based sustainability startup EQUO raises $1.3m for eco-friendly options

Published: 20-04-2022 14:12:00 | By: Pie Kamau | hits: 1345 | Tags:

Vietnam-based sustainability company, EQUO, has raised $1.3 million in seed funding. Leading the seed round is NextGen Ventures with participation from Techstars and East Ventures

Prominent angel investors Luke Vigeant of Shed Capital; Jeff Hohner of Tecumseh Capital; Jack Tai, CEO & Co-Founder of OneClass; Mark Groves, Founder of Create The Love and Co-founder of Mine'd; and Dimple Mukherjee also invested in the round. EQUO was advised by the legal team of Drew & Napier in Singapore and Allens in Vietnam.

Founded in 2020 by Marina Tran-Vu, EQUO provides 100% plastic-free and compostable solutions made of materials like coffee, coconut and sugarcane to replace single-use plastics. The company aims to disrupt the industry by offering solutions that are easy, convenient to use, without asking consumers to change their lifestyle or behavior. EQUO differentiates itself through distinct branding that captures the consumer's attention in traditionally overlooked categories; and focusing on education of new sustainable materials.

Marina Tran-Vu, Founder & CEO, EQUO: "The best way for us to make an impact is not to recycle or upcycle single-use plastic, but to stop its production altogether. EQUO will help do that by offering products made from alternative materials - but doing it in a fun and approachable way that gets consumers, businesses and big corporations to pay attention." 

EQUO, which recently was named one of nine winners of the UNOPS S3i Innovation Center Sweden Global Challenge and a Top 18 Finalist in the Ending Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge by the UNDP, is currently available on Amazon in US, Canada and Australia; on their website; wholesaler site Faire; and select F&B establishments and retailers in VietnamSingapore and Europe.

Jimmy Quach, CEO, NextGen Ventures: "EQUO is a purpose-driven company with a clear mission to rid the world of single-use plastic and to give consumers options that better protect the environment. NextGen is pleased to support Marina and her team in their trailblazing effort to drive her sustainability mission with reach and scale." 

EQUO intends to use the funds to further expand its product line, develop technical capabilities to quickly scale the business, and increase the brand's awareness and exposure globally. 

Willson Cuaca, Co-founder and Managing Partner, East Ventures: "EQUO's mission aligns with East Ventures' core belief in providing solutions that bring us closer to a sustainable future. Countless single-use plastics are used in our daily lives, which means there's a big market and potential that lies ahead for EQUO to solve and improve upon today's current products. We have a strong belief in EQUO, and are looking forward to seeing the further positive impact that Marina and team will have on the world." 

Sunil Sharma, Managing Director, Techstars Toronto: "The vision driving EQUO is exactly what the world needs at this time, and what attracted us was the incredible drive and ambition of the founder. Marina has the rarest combination of CPG brand experience, alongside global marketing savvy that is seldom seen in the sustainability space."

As a sole female founder, Tran-Vu is part of a small percentage of startups founded solely by women who received venture capital or private funding. Latest statistics show that startups founded only by women in SE Asia received a mere 0.6%, and globally, less than 2% of total investment backing.