Vietnam-based sustainability company EQUO said Tuesday it has raised $1.3 million seed funding led by NextGen Ventures with participation from Techstars and East Ventures.

Prominent angel investors Luke Vigeant of Shed Capital; Jeff Hohner of Tecumseh Capital; Jack Tai, Chief Executive Officer and 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 said in a statement.

EQUO said it 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.

“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,” said Marina Tran-Vu, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of EQUO.

“Our vision is to replace all single-use plastic on the planet. This isn’t just about the visible plastic we see in our environment, but also about the downstream effects of microplastics. We are excited about the new products we are delivering this year to show the world all the things we can do without single-use plastic and (in some cases) paper,” he added.

Founded in 2020 by Marina Tran-Vu, EQUO provides 100 percent 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. It differentiates itself through distinct branding that captures the consumer’s attention in traditionally overlooked categories; and focusing on education of new sustainable materials.

The company is currently available on Amazon in United States, Canada and Australia, and select food and beverage (F&B) establishments and retailers in Vietnam, Singapore and Europe.

The company first launched into the market with drinking straws. EQUO has since added to its portfolio, announcing an upcoming line of utensils made of coffee and wood, sugarcane food containers and cups, reusable totes, and compostable bags for grocery, retail and home use.

“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.” says Willson Cuaca, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of East Ventures.

Techstars Toronto Managing Director Sunil Sharma said :”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.”

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