Asian woman-owned EQUO creates 100% plastic free utensils
Vietnam-based sustainability company EQUO raised $1.3 million in seed funding to create sugarcane-based alternatives to single-use plastics. EQUO, founded in 2020 by Marina Tran-Vu, offers plastic-free and compostable products made of coffee, coconut and sugarcane.
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The difference with EQUO? Creating sustainable products that are convenient and require no change in lifestyle to adopt an eco-friendly alternative. The startup was named one of nine winners of the UNOPS S3i Innovation Center Sweden Global Challenge. EQUO was also a top 18 finalist in the Ending Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge by the UNDP.
EQUO products are available on Amazon, on their website and several retailers. The funds from the seed round raise will be used to expand the product line, develop the technical capabilities to scale the business quickly and to increase brand awareness.
“The best way for us to make an impact is not to recycle or upcycle single-use plastic, but to stop its production altogether,” said Tran-Vu. “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.”
As a sole female founder, Tran-Vu is part of a small percentage of startups founded solely by women who received venture capital or private funding.
“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,” said Tran-Vu. “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.”
The company first launched into the market with drinking straws. Now, they announced a line of utensils made of coffee and wood, sugarcane food containers and compostable bags.