Is Bamboo Toilet Paper The Next Big Thing?
You wouldn't think Mark Cuban, Gwyneth Paltrow, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson have much in common.
All were brought together to invest in Cloud Paper, a startup that hopes to reinvent the toilet paper industry. Along with Salesforce founder Marc Benioff, Robert Downey Jr. and Ashton Kutcher, the group contributed to a $3 million seed funding round led by venture capital firm Greycroft.
Cloud paper wants to end deforestation by selling tree-free toilet paper made with 100% ultra-soft bamboo. Cloud Paper is on a mission to save one billion trees and is targeting toilet paper first because it accounts for approximately 15% of global deforestation, according to the company.
Cloud Paper is a direct-to-consumer company, whose 3-ply bamboo toilet paper costs $28 for 24 rolls, which the company says is in line with regular toilet paper. The company's subscriptions vary depending on how many members are in your household and include free shipping in packaging that's 100% plastic free, recyclable and compostable.
Cloud Paper says that Americans flush the equivalent of one Central Park's worth of trees down the toilet each day. They even provide an interesting graphic of what Central Park would look like without trees.
The four-person company was founded about a year and a half ago by Ryan Fritsch and Austin Watkins, who previously worked together at logistics startup Convoy and Uber, which could explain Khosrowshahi's involvement in the funding round. Cloud Paper says it has seen signups for its toilet paper subscriptions increase by 800%.
"We know that deforestation is a leading cause of climate change. We're giving every person an opportunity to be a part of the solution by preserving forests every single day," Fritsch said. "We are resetting the status quo by moving away from tree-based paper and using ultra-sustainable, renewable resources like bamboo instead."
Cuban, who is a notoriously tough investor to win over on Shark Tank, admits he doesn't use Cloud Paper in his home but is waiting for his shipment. "I think it's a great product on the right mission!" Cuban said.
While the funding round is relatively small, Cloud Paper is quickly attracting big names to take on the largest companies in the industry. The company says it will continue to expand products to meet its goals.
"We'll have more tree-free products launching soon and won't stop until we're no longer cutting down billions of trees each year for paper products," the company's site reads. Leftover Crumbs
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