Noissue, a New Zealand-based global packaging platform, wants to make sustainable packaging accessible to businesses of all sizes. Everything the company offers, from custom tissue paper and cards to totes, stickers and tape, is 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable, and with low order minimums, it's not just the big players who can afford to buy in bulk that are able to meet their sustainable packaging goals.
On Wednesday, the startup announced the close of a $10 million Series A financing round led by Felix Capital. Noissue, which mainly operates in the U.S., intends to use the funds to grow its global team, invest in the technology that powers its platform and localize its supply chain, according to Josh Bowden, CEO and co-founder of noissue. The startup relies on a network of manufacturing partners and suppliers based in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Europe, China, Vietnam and Australia, and it works with its logistics partners to offset carbon emissions related to shipping, the company says.
One of the massive downsides of an uptick in e-commerce and the boom of a creator economy is the corresponding packaging involved. Every time you get the dopamine hit of seeing a package delivered to your door, there's also the corresponding pang of guilt as you open it and pull the plastic intestines out of the box. A December 2020 report from Oceana, a nonprofit ocean advocacy organization, found in that year, e-commerce worldwide, and Amazon in particular, generated over 2.3 million tons of plastic packaging waste. The report projected that by 2025, there'd be more than 4.5 million tons. Ordering goods online isn't going to go anywhere, but as more companies set sustainability goals, noissue is primed to capture what may now be a market niche, but may soon become a necessity.
“Over the past year, we’ve seen an acceleration of the growth of the creator economy and ecommerce, as well as a shift in consumer preferences towards a more sustainable and mindful lifestyle,” said Frederic Court, co-founder of Felix Capital, in a statement. “noissue sits at the intersection of these trends, and we’re excited to be their partner to fully realize noissue’s potential to build a category-defining business in a large and growing market, leveraging their platform business model."
The team at noissue came up with the idea for sustainable packaging while starting a sustainable eyewear brand that makes frames from waste materials.
"When it came to do the packaging, it obviously had to be sustainable, as well, to be on-brand," Bowden told TechCrunch. "It proved challenging to find sustainable packaging that could be customized in the low minimums we wanted it in. We ended up sourcing the packaging ourselves and it turned out our eyewear stockists, who were small retailers, were just as interested in the packaging as they were the eyewear! After a bit of research, we realized there were very few places small businesses could go to get sustainable packaging that showcased their brand, so noissue was created to service this need."
Founded in 2017, noissue now serves more than 80,000 customers after growing 200% across North America during the pandemic. The company creates made-to-order, custom products for a range of industries, from apparel and home to beauty, wellness and subscription boxes, through to pets, plants and outdoor goods.
Part of the funds from the Series A will also go toward bringing new products to market, says Bowden. For example, noissue has recently launched compostable kraft mailers, recycled hangtags and reusable drawstring bags -- all driven by customer demand. Noissue's biggest customer group is retail and e-commerce, followed by hospitality and "makers."
"We’re extremely fortunate to have a diverse range of customers in a range of industries who use noissue packaging, and we’re really focused on continuing to deliver a world-class experience, a curated product range, and only release in-demand products for our customers," said Bowden. "Our customers drive our product roadmap by voting or suggesting new products as part of our customer-community, which means we are only releasing products that they’ve asked for."
Noissue's team is based in seven countries and works with creators and brands including Mon Coeur, Oak + Fort, Kuyichi, Coalatree, Aesop, McCormick & Company and Davines, according to the company.