Recycle your children’s unwanted clothes and trade them for quality, second-hand items. Swaplanet is a clothes swapping app that encourages parents around the world to stop buying clothes for the month. The value of this startup needs no explanation. Swaplanet‘s unmistakable vision is synonym to an action plan ready to favor circular economy and has rightly gained the trust of Think Bigger Capital, Demium’s partner fund.
Q: Tell us a little bit about the founding team. How come you started in Demium and how has the experience been so far?
Swaplanet is a baby born from three like-minded people, Sherif, Helena and Jimmy who want to see their kids and families living in a better world. We are a team of global citizens and parents who have realized that our consuming habits affect the planet and everyone living on it. By changing these habits, we can contribute to a healthier planet, get high quality, affordable clothing, and help people in need through partnerships with charities and other inspiring organizations.
Sherif, our CEO, has lived in Cairo, Montreal, Paris, Berlin, London, Casablanca, and Athens. He’s a father of two young children and has a lovely family, who is his inspiration in life. He is an engineer with a 10-years experience in Debt and Equity Financing in several textile and clothing companies, as well as a 5-years operations experience in production and as an inventory manager at a manufacturing plant.
Helena, our CMO comes from a large family and is based in Athens. She’s a real world trotter, having traveled extensively for business, pleasure and volunteerism to 35+ countries. She has 20 years experience in marketing, management, communications and event organization, 10 of which she’s spent designing and implementing community intervention, innovation and entrepreneurship programs for children and adolescents.
Jimmy, our CTO, is half English, half Lebanese, and grew up in Greece, which he considers his home. He is an engineer and inventor who has successfully created a product that saves horses lives. He lived 10 years in Dubai, successfully exited his startup, has recently got married and is ready to start a family.
The founding team met for the very first time at the AllStartup Weekend in Athens in September 2020. Jimmy and Helena were already in Athens while Sherif was on a road trip with his family around Europe, living his longtime dream. Needless to say, this did not stop him from participating in all our group’s meetings and delivering his tasks on time. The experience was very intense but also very rewarding for all three of us, since it took us only a few meetings to agree that we were going to work together. From that moment, we started discussing, noting down and shortlisting our ideas, to finally select Swaplanet as our project.
Q: Tell us about Swaplanet.
Swaplanet is a Kids’ Clothing Swap platform, backed by a sorting warehouse to handle everything for the customer, and guarantee quality. It’s designed to be a convenient, low-cost, and sustainable solution for renewing kids’ wardrobes.
How it works: parents receive an eco-friendly bag and fill it with outgrown clothes. We collect the bag from their home, and once the items reach our facility we quickly sort, value, wash, photograph, and upload the clothes to our website. We issue instant credit to parents’ virtual wallets, which they can only spend on our site, buying other second-hand clothes.
Whenever they need new clothes, we restart the cycle. Our inventory is therefore constantly replenished by parents, which actually encourages recycling (did you know that the textile sector produces 10% of global CO2 compared to 6% for plastics?). Also, every time we offer a credit for 10 planets (equal to €10 ) for a sweater, we offer it for 10 planets, (i.e. no mark-up), so parents know they receive and pay fair value for their clothing.
Our aim is to reduce each family’s environmental footprint by reducing and eliminating textile waste, while increasing access to good quality clothing – creating a win-win situation for everyone involved in the process. The clothes not used by our platform are donated to our collaborating charities and NGOs or go for recycling. Our solution will get you started early on with recycling, creating eco-habits that would last for a lifetime; sharing what is no longer needed with other people and reducing your environmental footprint from day one.
We would like to inspire families (and children in particular) to respect and take care of others by swapping unwanted possessions. It’s a way of respecting Earth, creating a global network of environmentally-conscious citizens, full of love and compassion for all living beings on this planet.
Q: What did you find investors valued most about your startup?
Before presenting our project to the Investors’ committee it was very helpful to have had a first meeting with the Demium Team
in order for them to assess the viability of our idea and give us pointers of what the Investors’ committee would be looking for. Based on their feedback we solidified our business plan and covered all possible questions posed by the investors.
We believe that the investors valued several facts about our startup. First of all, the fact that our team had the expertise needed to implement the plan and that we were very enthusiastic about our project and the positive impact it would have on the environment. Mind you, we had conducted a very thorough research of our competitors and have proved that our model was different from theirs, including the best ways to approach aspects, like speed of credit to customers, value for money, quality, convenience, environmental impact. Topping that, the scalability of our project and our plans for expansion to multiple countries after year 1, is something that would help us reach a consolidated revenue of €30M, in year 5.
Q: What role did Demium play in your first investment round?
Demium played a vital role in our first investment round. By giving us access to their subsidiary Think Bigger Capital we were able to receive our first investment round. The Demium Athens team supported us every step of the way, and the final outcome was a hugely positive one.