Today UK-based startup smol, the detergent-to-your-door brand now loved by more than a quarter of a million households – has raised €8.8 million to continue shaking up an industry that has barely innovated for a century. The Series A funding round was led by Balderton Capital with participation from JamJar Investments, and is being announced fresh off the back of smol releasing its first ever fabric conditioner.
Created by former Unilever employees, Paula Quazi and Nick Green in 2018, smol is taking on the big brands with its super convenient laundry and dishwasher capsule packs, which are compact enough to be delivered straight through letterboxes, offering convenience and powerful eco-friendly cleaning performance.
In March this year, smol launched what it believes to be the world’s first 100% plastic-free, child-lock packaging for its laundry and dishwashing products. A switch that is already helping to save more than four tonnes of plastic each week compared to other brands.
As part of its ongoing commitment to making sustainable and affordable high-performance products, smol has now launched a new super concentrated eco-friendly fabric conditioner. Free from the hidden animal fat which is actually a key ingredient in most fabric conditioners offered by the big brands.
smol’s new fabric conditioner bottles are made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic, are 100% recyclable and smol also offers a returns scheme for refill and reuse. By way of thanks, for every four bottles returned, smol will donate 24 laundry washes to charity.
smol spent two years developing a clever way to use fewer chemicals across its range compared to rival homecare products – cutting chemical usage by up to 5 tonnes per week without any loss in cleaning performance. This means smol’s formulas are kinder to clothes, kinder to skin, and kinder to the planet.
Coming in at around €5 for a box of 24 capsules, smol’s laundry capsules work out at around around 21 cents a wash – up to half the price of the big brands. New customers can even give smol a whirl with a nine-wash trial for free. smol’s new fabric conditioner is available in a compact around €12 starter twin pack which provides enough doses for 128 washes. Each dose is so concentrated that you only need 8ml, which means one pack could last up to five months.
smol is now one of the fastest-growing laundry brands and leading detergent subscription service in the UK, powering 1.5 million washes a week. Since the start of the corona virus crisis, interest in smol’s products has tripled. The startup has successfully responded to this increase in demand by taking measures that both protect the workers fulfilling these orders and maintain supply levels to minimise disruption.
The brand continues to have an “Excellent”, five-star Feefo and Trust Pilot rating across more than 15,000 reviews and a loyal, engaged Facebook and Instagram community of over 120,000 followers.
“With our busy lives, laundry, and particularly shopping for laundry detergent, is hardly something the majority of us look forward to! Having seen how the industry has barely innovated in over a hundred years we launched smol to take the hassle out of washing for families whose laundry needs have been ignored for decades. To give everyday people like us one less thing to worry about, while keeping a keen focus on sustainability and affordability. We’re delighted that Balderton and JamJar share our vision, and believe in our potential to revolutionise how we wash our clothes, dishes and beyond!”, said Paula Quazi, co-founder of smol.
“When people think of technology disruption, it is normal to think of digital products and internet tools. However, technology has the power to make life better for us in the most unexpected ways and we believe Paula, Nick and their amazing team have tapped into just such an opportunity at smol. Every day, smol’s products are used to wash the clothes and dishes of a quarter of a million households across the UK. Each time, the company saves customers money, cleans more effectively and leaves less of a mark on the planet,” said Suranga Chandratillake, Partner at Balderton Capital. “Household cleaning is a great example of a product category where giant incumbents have ignored potential innovation. smol has exploited that complacency, built a product people actually want and, as a result, got people excited about laundry and dishwashing all over again.”
“We feel very fortunate to have both Balderton and JamJar join our team. They bring great knowledge and expertise that is invaluable as we look to accelerate our growth. It’s an exciting time for smol. With scale comes even more opportunity to have a positive impact,” said Nick Green, co-founder of smol.
The funding will see smol push into new product categories, expand further into new markets and bolster its team while staying true to its customer-focused, no-nonsense approach.