A greentech startup that makes sustainable packaging made of sugarcane, bamboo

As a lover of animals and pet owner, Vaibhav Anant was pained watching videos of straws made of plastic being pulled from the nasal track of a turtle.

Social media sites are brimming with animal videos that show animals being trapped in litter made of plastic. While many of us who watch these videos feel inspired to alter our lifestyles, Vaibhav decided to address the root of the issue: single-use plastic.

In the year 2018, Vaibhav was fired as Associate Vice President at the world’s leading company in edtech to create a sustainable company that makes packaging Bambrew.

“The problem the world faces by using plastics that are single-use is a major threat. It’s a massive issue throughout the world, and not just in India. On a daily basis we consume lots of micro-plastics without realizing it. This was another factor which prompted me to start this single-use plastic alternative business” Vaibhav. Vaibhav.

Bengaluru-based the Bengaluru-basedBambrew utilizes its own technology to offer alternatives to mailer bags for e-commerce food packaging in the F&B industry pouches, foldable cartons, and pouches for the FMCG industry , and PVC within the field of pharmacy.

The greentech startup makes use of eco-friendly materials made by the company on-site to create these products. The company has already eliminated more than 1,000 tonnes of plastic in its supply chain.

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On January 1, Bambrew has raised pre-series capital. round of $2.35 million that was led by Blue Ashva Capital and Supack Industries. This round also included involvement from Mumbai Angels and other angel investors.

“Single-use plastics are widely employed in a variety of applications even though their environmental impacts have been recognized for decades. There are only two variables that have influenced this decision in the past: cost and use. The previous attempts at sustainable packaging have been unsuccessful on either or the other of these aspects,” said Satya Bansal the founder of Blue Ashva Capital at the time of the funding, stating that Bambrew is a cost-effective alternative to plastic.

The composition of the product

Plastic is responsible for eight percent of India’s total waste The largest portion of this is plastic, with Delhi producing the most and followed by Kolkata and Ahmedabad according to Central Pollution Control Board of India (CPCB) reports. In India approximately 43 percent of the plastic that is manufactured is used to make packaging The majority of this is intended for single use.

When the greentech startup started its search for sustainable alternatives to straws, Vaibhav realized that plastics used for single use is a far bigger issue. He decided to incorporate it in packaging materials.

“We used the COVID period to conduct research and development period and developed a variety of options in the two years of online shopping, pharmaceuticals delivery, food and beverage packaging, as well as FMCG. Since then, we’ve always been developing new ideas,” recalls Vaibhav.

Bambrew manufactures eco-friendly packaging made from sugarcane, bamboo, and seaweed. The company sources their raw material sources from tribes located in Assam, Tripura, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka.

The greentech startup serves 170 customers across various sectors including retail, hospitality, FMCG and logistics. The clients include Amazon, Nykaa, 1MG, Puma, Chumbak, Zomato, Myntra, BigBasket and Zepto among others.

A new dawn

Bambrew states that its products are made using machines to create plastic packaging.

“There were two issues we were trying to resolve: making viable sustainable products that are commercially viable as well as growing quickly. What we needed to realize was that we needed to design a product that can be consumed immediately by the public without significant price differential,” Vaibhav explains.

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“This is the reason we chose to implement the form of a hybrid model, where we worked with companies who had previously worked using plastics,” the CEO says.

Bambrew is its very own set-up of manufacturing facilities in which it makes 7.5 million packaging bags every month.

Additionally the company also outsources the manufacturing of certain items to different manufacturers. The startup takes on clients through contacting companies or by contacting them. After the initial couple of clients, Bambrew has seen the “snowball effect,”” Vaibhav says.

“In the beginning the main challenge was to convince customers to participate in the opportunity to try their machines since they were expensive machines. They were skeptical about taking a test and would ask questions like “what happens on my equipment?’ and ‘what happens if my machine fails or fails to function properly?’. We’re also young who don’t trust the company,” Vaibhav recalls.

A road to the market ahead and through the streets

According to a report entitled “State of India’s Environmental Health 2022 released by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), India generated 25940 tonnes of garbage made of plastic each day.

The most important goal of the business is what can we do to solve the issue that our customers face in getting rid of plastics that are single-use within the supply chain Vaibhav says. Vaibhav.

The company claims to have has earned Rs 77 lakh in revenue during the fiscal year 2020-21. Bambrew’s revenue increased 13x to 10 crore during FY 2021-22. The company aims to earn at least 100 crore in revenue during the current fiscal year.

After experiencing the growth of India, Bambrew now wants to expand its reach worldwide. The company already has presence across the Middle East, Australia, and the USA.

“In the packaging industry there’s always a vendor or manufacturer. We’re trying to shake up the industry by establishing an identity. Bambrew is a brand that can be embraced by anyone and everything that is sustainable,” says Vaibhav.

At present, Bambrew is also developing a platform that is targeted at consumers of small and medium size, who “aren’t in a position to locate the most sustainable source of packaging products,” Bambrew’s founder claims. This platform will permit buying sustainable packaging with smaller amounts.

“Generally when you contact manufacturers, they will tell you my minimum order amount (MOQ) will be 1 or 2 million pieces. A small kirana business has been using bags made of plastic can’t match that number. Or, they buy local sellers with a high cost or continue to use the same bag. Because of our size which we operate, we are able to lower prices from mills and transfer the same advantage to our buyers.” says Vaibhav.

Bambrew faces competition from new startups such as Bizongo and Aggarwal Biotech and many more.

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