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Sustainable sourcing platform Sourceful raises 12.2 million US dollars

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

Sep. 15, 2021

Business

Image: Sourceful website

Sourceful, a data-driven platform that helps businesses minimise the environmental impact of their supply chains, has raised 12.2 million US dollars in funding.

The seed round was led by Europe’s Index Ventures, which has also backed Glossier, Farfetch and Deliveroo, alongside participation from Eka Ventures, Venrex and Dylan Field, the founder of Figma.

The UK-start-up, founded in June 2020, has worked with brands spanning fashion, food, beverage, healthcare and online marketplaces across the UK, EU and US, to source eco-friendly packaging, merchandise and components. It has shipped over 1 million items and currently has more than 40 carefully vetted suppliers in the UK and China.

Sourceful is the brainchild of Wing Chan, who was previously chief marketing officer and chief technology officer at digital consumer giant The Hut Group, and Shiran Zheng, who is acting as the company’s chief operating officer, who also worked at The Hut Group, as well as the Chinese e-commerce platform Vipshop and Unilever.

“We built Sourceful because we wanted to strike at the root cause,” said Sourceful’s chief executive and co-founder Wing Chan in a statement. “It’s all very well to ask people to ‘shop responsibly’, but the reality is that consumers only have the choices that businesses offer, and it’s not fair to put the burden on individuals to constantly sacrifice cost and convenience.”

Sourceful will use the new funding to scale its current operating model and build out its technology platform for sustainable sourcing. While also investing in new hires across technology, sustainability, marketing and operations. Since the start of 2021, the company has grown fivefold and it aims to reach 60 employees by the end of the year.

Danny Rimer of Index Ventures, who will join the Sourceful board, added: “Today, businesses simply don’t have the tools to act: affordable solutions are scarce, accurate data is thin, and supply chains are complex. Now, for the first time, Sourceful’s platform enables businesses to move from intention to action.

“Using Sourceful’s data driven platform, businesses can access the best suppliers and understand the implications of their supply chains in a way that wasn’t possible before. Sourceful is being led by founders with deep insight from one of the largest e-commerce infrastructure platforms in Europe, with a track record of hiring and managing high calibre teams.”

Index Ventures leads 12.2 million US dollar seed funding round in Sourceful

Sourceful uses data to enable companies to source and manage eco-friendly products for their business, helping to make global supply-chain sustainability more rigorous, transparent and achievable for every business. It helps brands tackle supply chain emissions and shift the responsibility away from the consumers.

Approximately 83 percent of a consumer industry’s carbon footprint is in its supply chain, and a recent MediaCom survey found that 84 percent of people think that brands have a responsibility to be more sustainable.

Sourceful has also created a “universal standard” for brands and suppliers to assess the sustainability impact of their sourcing choices. These standards look at data on greenhouse gas emissions over the whole lifecycle of a product, from manufacture to shipping and logistics through to end of life. Sourceful then analyses their existing supply chains and identify areas of improvement.

The data-driven optimisations also provide “intelligent” inventory management and warehousing services. This means companies can proactively replenish and restock products, giving them more time to focus on their brand and cutting the need for significant on-site storage.

In 2022, Sourceful added that it will launch new services to help businesses find, customise and design packaging, to help them minimise their carbon footprint and to make products more cost-effective and of better quality.

Sourceful to use funding to scale its current operating model and enhance its technology platform for sustainable sourcing

Sourceful has worked with brands such as the sustainable luxury jewellery label Fenton, online marketplaces Floom and Stitched, café chain Foundation Coffee House and healthcare provider Elder.

Fenton, a certified B Corp company that specialises in transparently sourced engagement rings, has been working with Sourceful to help them design, source and produce their new packaging, wanting something that was a “truly sustainable, luxurious solution”.

The partnership has resulted in a ring box that is now 100 percent vegan leather and all paper-based components are FSC certified and 100 percent recyclable. In addition, leveraging Sourceful’s direct-to-manufacturer relationships, Fenton was also able to “dramatically improve” the quality of packaging, reduce the number of vendors whilst also reducing costs by 50 percent.

In a case study on Sourceful’s website, Fenton said: “Before Sourceful, we had several suppliers with different conditions and timelines. It was a nightmare to manage. Sourceful provided us with a reliable, comprehensive solution for all our needs with a team willing to go above and beyond. I’m looking forward to working with them even more as we expand our product range.”