December 9, 2019 | Alumni
Alumnae entrepreneurs raise $4.3 million for compostable bioplastics startup: The Globe and Mail
Volunteer Anne Ageh (left, BCom 2017 UC) and company founder Nuha Siddiqui (BCom 2018 UC) toss prototypes of EcoPackers' eco-friendly packing peanuts in the air (photo by Geoffrey Vendeville)
EcoPackers Inc., a social enterprise co-founded by University of Toronto alumnae Nuha Siddiqui (BCom 2018 UC), Kritika Tyagi (BSc 2019 VIC) and Chang Dong (MEng 2018), has raised $4.3 million in pre-seed and seed financing for its biodegradable bioplastics business, the Globe & Mail reports.
The idea for the startup, which produces single-use plastic from agricultural by-products, was conceived when Siddiqui was president of U of T social entrepreneurship club Enactus. It was developed with the support of the Creative Destruction Lab, a seed-stage accelerator based at the Rotman School of Management.
Siddiqui, who studied accounting at Rotman, told the Globe and Mail that she went to great lengths to convince people of her product’s eco-friendly credentials. “When people didn’t believe that it was 100 per cent compostable, I would eat the product,” she said. “People were shocked and concerned.”
She said EcoPacker's packing peanuts and other products are genuinely biodegradable, unlike many other bioplastic products. “You can put it in your backyard and, after a few rainfalls, it will end up becoming part of your environment and you don’t have to put it through any industrial-level composting systems, which is usually the case with a lot of bioplastics.”