Sydney startup raises $1.3m to manufacture bottle-saving drink machines

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

Sydney startup Refilled on Thursday announced it has raised $1.3 million in seed funding from impact investors to start manufacturing its BYO-bottle drinks machines in western Sydney.

The company said it will now be able to make 100 Refiller stations next year at its Penrith factory.

The machines are placed in shared spaces like offices and universities, offering customers chilled still or sparkling flavoured drinks with optional boosters like caffeine, at less cost than traditional vending machines while eliminating plastic waste.

Refiller machine
Refilled machines allow users to use there own bottle, cutting down on plastic waste. Image: supplied

Refilled machines are already in place at UTS university, Google offices and the Sydney Greenhouse Tech Hub, offering an alternative to single use plastic bottles.

The early adopters have stopped the use of around 24,000 plastic bottles, according to Refiller, which is on a mission to save 100 million bottles by 2030.

“Walk for five minutes in any Australian city and you will always find a way to buy a bottled drink, but not always a way to recycle it,” said Refilled founder, Ryan Nelson.

“The best way to reduce waste is to not make it in the first place. We want to unbottle the Australian beverage industry so that drinking options better reflect consumer behaviour and their expectations on plastic pollution.

“Now we have the support needed to grow the team and seriously ramp up local manufacturing. This investment will help us install 100 Refillers in 2024, eliminate our first 1m bottles next year, and 100m bottles by 2030.”

Refilled will also use the seed funding to expand its team and continue developing its product.

The company reportedly raised $600,000 through angel investors and Melt Ventures and was seeking  $1.5 million in the seed round.

The lead investor in the round was Melt Ventures, a hardware focused impact investor that has backed other promising startups MGA Thermal and Allegro. Envato co-founders, Cyan Ta’eed and Collis Ta’eed also participated.

“We all know we need to reduce our impact on the planet,” said Melt Ventures founder and managing partner Trent Bagnall.

“We also know changing consumer’s habits is hard without practical solutions that are easily adopted. Producing plastic bottles for water and beverages just doesn’t make sense. Refilled’s approach will save millions of plastic bottles from entering landfill and the environment while providing consumers with an enhanced and personalised experience.”

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