Source: Modern Milkman

Simon Mellin, CEO and founder at Modern Milkman

Online milk round business Modern Milkman is to launch a crowdfunding campaign after raising around £22m in an investor-led funding round earlier this month.

The Lancashire-based business delivers milk in glass bottles which are collected from its 100,000 customers, washed and reused up to 25 times on average. As well as milk, Modern Milkman offers a range of groceries delivered in returnable containers, while any non-reusable packaging is plastic-free, recyclable or home-compostable.

Customers subscribe on the brand’s app to regular doorstep deliveries and collections up to three times a week. Deliveries are made from 16 hubs up and down the country, which can cover a third of households in England.

The Series C round brought the total raised by the company to £50m since it was founded in 2018. This and the £1m crowdfunding raise will be used to expand the brand’s return and reuse range, and improve the online customer experience.

The company – which was founded by four friends “with a beat-up truck” after they were inspired by David Attenborough’s Blue Planet to help reduce the amount of plastic in the oceans – also plans to use radio frequency identification (RFID) inlays and tags to monitor and track the journey of its reusable glass bottles.

“This will be the very first time this technology has been employed to identify the end-to-end lifecycle of returnable glass bottles in the UK, ultimately reducing waste and increasing eco-efforts across the grocery sector,” said Simon Mellin, CEO and founder at Modern Milkman.

“We have some very ambitious goals to reboot the milk round and embed the circular economy into the fabric of the UK, and we can’t do it alone, which is why we’re giving the nation the opportunity to invest in our exciting business,” Mellin added.

Since 2019 the company has achieved 62% revenue growth and expects to close this year having doubled last year’s revenues. This year, the company expects the business to break even in the UK market.

The company works with a network of independent suppliers, including independent dairies, bakeries and producers. It has a strictly no single-use plastic policy and encourages customers to take a ‘little and often’ approach to buying produce.

Its approach has saved “over 55 million plastic bottles to date and counting” it says.

The latest funding round was led by existing investors Insight Partners and ETF Partners as well as new investors Praetura Ventures and Avery Dennison, a multinational packaging and labelling firm.

“We are committed to doing our part to reduce packaging waste, and strongly support the development of innovations to achieve this,” said Hassan Rmaile, senior VP, EMENA at Avery Dennsion. “We believe our investment and future collaborations with Modern Milkman can help drive new circular business models for consumers.”

Modern Milkman’s crowdfunding site, hosted by Crowdcube, opened on 17 November for pre-registration, allowing users to sign up to pledge money and be notified when the site goes live.

The crowdfund opens to the public on 29 November.