A Seattle-based startup is drawing A-list investors with a new take on an old product: toilet paper.
Cloud Paper announced Thursday that its recent $5 million funding round drew investment from Bezos Expeditions, the personal investment company of Jeff Bezos, as well as backing from firms linked to actors Ashton Kutcher, Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow. Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has also supported the fledgling TP maker, as has Wilson’s wife, musician and fashion model Ciara.
So why are celebrities flocking to a sector dominated by a handful of bathroom behemoths? Sustainability, as pitched by Cloud Paper.
The company’s paper is bamboo-based, and made without tree pulp. Founded in 2019, Cloud Paper says it has sold 3 million rolls of paper towels and toilet paper, and, by the company’s math, saved 10,000 trees in 2021 alone.
“Cloud Paper is on a mission to transform the paper products industry to switch to tree-free products,” Kutcher, whose investment firm SOUNDWaves is backing the company, said in a statement. “We want to be part of that mission and further cement our position in this space as Cloud Paper expands into retail and pursues an aggressive [commercial] strategy, alongside growing their [direct-to-consumer] offering.”
Cloud Paper was founded by ex-Uber and Convoy employees aiming to develop sustainable paper products. The company started selling its toilet paper in mid-2020 as coronavirus pandemic hoarding made it a hot commodity.
The $5 million funding round will allow the brand to make significant investments in its supply chain, product development and recruitment, a company spokesperson said in a statement. Cloud Paper plans to launch new products and enter new distribution channels to reach individual households and businesses, including restaurants, hotels and stadiums.
The funding round comes after a year that, according to the company, saw the startup increase deliveries by 930% and increase revenues eightfold.
“Over this past year, we’ve seen and heard how much the environment means to our customers, and saving it through a small paper product switch is an easy way to make sustainability feel attainable for everyone,” Ryan Fritsch, co-founder of Cloud Paper, said in a statement.
Cloud Paper declined to share revenue numbers.