Investing for a more sustainable future, one flush at a time. Why we invested in sustainable personal care brand, Planera.

A new report by Garnier claims 73% of UK consumers want to be more sustainable in 2021. No longer is sustainability considered a ‘nice to have’, but rather a must-have. As a result, innovation to promote sustainability across sourcing, manufacturing, packaging, and delivery has accelerated, underpinned by an influx of institutional funding; according to Bloomberg, global VC investment into sustainability startups in 2018 increased 127% from the previous year to $9.2bn.

As sustainability moves further up the agenda, more and more consumers are growing tired of carrying the burden of responsibility when it comes to ‘doing the right thing’ and are increasingly pushing back on brands to demand they take sustainability further. Given 88% of consumers across the US and UK want brands to help them be more eco-friendly in their everyday lives, legacy ‘essentials’ categories such as personal care and cleaning are also beginning to experience and drive disruption.

In response to these converging consumer demands, Planera has sought to innovate within the largely undisrupted femcare vertical, by creating the world’s first flushable and fully biodegradable sanitary pad. The sanitary pad market is huge – worth £23bn globally – with Europe using enough pads annually to wrap around the planet 136 times. And whilst marketed as a disposable product, legacy solutions are not designed for disposal – while only usable for 8 hours, sanitary pads have an average lifetime of 500 years. Driven by the belief that sustainability shouldn’t mean compromise, founders Aaron Koshy and Liv Ahn have engaged in extensive R&D over the last three years to bring to market a truly innovative and disruptive alternative to this everyday product.

Whilst other recent femcare market entrants such as Dame, TOTM and Mooncup have innovated by offering customers a more sustainable alternative, these products can often be less convenient or effective than traditional solutions. Recognising this, and keen to prove that natural materials can outperform single-use plastics, Planera offers consumers a product that is in equal parts sustainable and convenient. Planera’s flushable pads (and packaging) are not only better for the planet, but also offer an all-round improved (and more hygienic!) consumer experience.

Aaron and Liv, who are deeply committed to changing the rhetoric around sustainability and focus on shifting the onus of responsibility from the consumer to the corporate to create innovative, convenient and sustainable products, don’t plan on stopping at sanitary pads. Using their unique, certified flushable and patent-pending IP as a base, the founders intend to continue innovating and disrupting legacy categories such as face wipes and nappies – helping to save the planet one flush at a time.

Although it is still early in Planera’s journey, we recognised both the disruptive nature of the brand as well as the strength of the founding team and were keen to get involved as soon as possible. The business is currently selling its products via its webstore to a limited pool of early adopters whilst they work to scale up production; and its clear our excitement around the brand is shared by many – the company now has over 10,000 people signed up on their waitlist!

For Planera, our investment represents more than just cash – the team recognised the breadth of our network and growing list of global Partners as well strength of our experience in the consumer sector, both of which could be key in helping them build out their team and advisory board, as well as help open doors for future growth. For True, investing in companies that are fit for the future is central to our DNA; our investment into Planera clearly epitomises this intention and we can’t wait to see what the future brings for Aaron, Liv and the team.

17 March 2021