About You and Your Work

Your bio:

Since 2013, José Manuel Moller has been the dedicated CEO & Founder of Algramo. He holds a BA in Business & Economics and a MA in Advanced Design. As a TED & Ashoka Fellow, José has won many accolades including: Fast Company Most Innovative Company in LATAM-2015 & 2020, Chile’s Top Social Entrepreneur 2017-Schwab Foundation, World Economic Forum Global Shaper-2014 & Young Global Leader-2019 designation, MIT Solve-2019.

Leveraging technology and business model innovation, Algramo is able to solve environmental and social market failures. Algramo’s distribution system not only decouples packaging waste from FMCG consumption, it also solves a wicked problem called the poverty tax-which occurs when low-resource families pay ~35% more, on a per-unit basis, for buying products in smaller sizes. Algramo is now scaling its impactful & inclusive distribution system into the supply chains of Unilever & Nestle and others, so Algramo’s world-class impact can be scaled globally. 

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Project name:

Algramo-Catalyzing Reusable Packaging

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One-line project summary:

Inclusive platform technology enabling customers to buy the product, not the packaging so they can pay the fairest price.

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Present your project.

We are on a mission to work with stakeholders to shift consumption behavior until we have 20% of current single-use products replaced with reusable packaging systems. We are dedicated to doing this in a manner that reduces BAU costs by 20-40%-so our system economically inclusive. We are proud that our distribution system enables low-resource families to purchase small amounts of product at bulk prices-solving the-poverty-tax. This increases disposable incomes of marginalized families. 

If awarded funding, we will use the majority of funding to expand Algramo into a developing nation with high rates of poverty and mismanaged plastic waste-either Peru, Mexico or Indonesia. If Elevate can help us scale into new and economically diverse markets, we can prove to the world that Algramo has a market-based solution that can transform consumption habits and bend the linearity of existing FMCG packaging into smart, inclusive packaging fit for the twenty-first century.    

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What specific problem are you solving?

Mismanaged plastic waste has become a global environmental crisis. We are seeing high concentrations of plastic waste building up in the world’s most remote ecosystems. By 2050, by weight, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish. The global economy currently produces 1-million single-use bottles per-minute! The problem is that plastic packaging typically has minuscule, even negative, value after its short use-phase and its go-away phase takes hundreds of years. Dozens of studies suggest microplastics are building up in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, impacting plankton, whales to humans-it will likely take decades until we fully understand the full spectrum of impacts from microplastic pollution.

The primary reason Algramo came into existence was to solve the-poverty-tax.

Globally, there are billions of people living on modest and volatile incomes. This typically forces low-resource families to buy more frequently, in smaller sized portions-usually costing ~30-40% more-on a per unit basis. This market failure needlessly erodes disposable incomes of the most marginalized families. Small format packaging in low-resource communities is much more likely to end up in the environment and is a factor in why municipal governments, in developing nations, typically spend 20-25% of their budgets on waste management. 

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What is your project?

Algramo develops platform technology that enables consumers to buy FMCG products, not the packaging. Working with its brand partners, Algramo co-develops customized technology solutions-unique to product and distribution point. Our system decouples packaging waste from FMCG consumption. We are changing consumer consumption habits by providing access to FMCG products for the lowest possible costs, with maximized convenience. In Chile, Algramo is able to provide Unilever laundry detergent-Omo and dish soap-Quix, for ~35% below BAU supermarket prices. We do this while providing the convenience of free at home refill. During the Covid-19 crisis, with Santiago under lockdown, most of the time between April and June, June’s sales for co-branded Algramo-Unilever products saw a 356% increase compared to April sales.

The key technology Algramo develops include:

  • Packaging as a Wallet-PaaW
  • IoT connected vending machines-ICVM
  • Customer-facing packaging cleaning stations for ICVM
  • A cross brand, cross product global payment platform connected to PaaW

By offering a fair inclusive price our value proposition is clear to anyone who values paying the lowest possible price or to those who want to reduce plastic waste. We are proud to offer an inclusive distribution system designed for both developing and developed markets. 

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Who does your project serve, and in what ways is the project impacting their lives?

Algramo has survived for 6+ years-a difficult feat when focused on servicing low-resource marginalized communities. Having a deep understanding of customer needs and how low-resource customers see our value proposition has been essential to Algramo’s survival. Algramo applies human-centered design principles to understand how customers interact with and use our technology. As we have become increasing successful and more impactful, we have attracted a deeper and more diverse pool of expert advisors and organizations who help us increase our impact and improve the services that we offer.

The roots of Algramo trace back to Algramo 1.0. This Algramo services a network of over 2,000 family owned stores (FONS), reaching about 350,00 end-customers. Algramo’s network of FONS enable customers to buy life’s essentials for a fair price and to eliminate the need for single-use plastic packaging. The value and convenience we created via our network of FONS that now sees reuse rates of over 84% is what lead to the birth of Algramo 2.0-Algramo integrating its reuse technology into the supply chains of global brands, so we can scale our value proposition and impact into global supply chains. Our aim is to reach tens of millions, instead of hundreds of thousands. 

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Which dimension of The Elevate Prize does your project most closely address?

Elevating opportunities for all people, especially those who are traditionally left behind
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Explain how your project relates to The Elevate Prize and your selected dimension.

Algramo came into existence to solve the poverty tax. Creating fair cost, inclusive prices for marginalized communities, has been baked into Algramo’s DNA since its inception. This pioneering focus enables us to create transformative uses of technology and business model innovation that enable us to be fearlessly competitive and disruptive in minimizing product costs for our low-resource customers. This bottom up social innovation centered on lowering product costs for marginalized underserviced communities is clearly focused on elevating for all-especially those who are traditionally left behind. To be successful we must transform people’s behaviors and beliefs related to packaging.

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How did you come up with your project?

While studying economics in Santiago de Chile, I had moved out of the comfort of my parent’s home into a highly marginalized community. While living here with several university friends, my job was to take our meager household funds and buy food for the household. In my marginalized community, we bought life’s essentials in the same manner millions of families across Latin America do, from small family owned neighbourhood stores. With our limited and volatile student incomes, we typically didn’t have the financial liquidity to buy larger sized products, we were forced to purchase smaller sized products. I quick noticed this type of consumption produced a lot more packaging waste (which often blew around my neighbourhood), and these products typically cost 30-40% more, on a per-unit-basis, than if we had the financial resources to buy a liter of a product, instead of 250 ml.

I put a name on this market-failure that I was studying and called it the poverty tax. The other issue, deeply connected to the poverty tax, that inspired me to create Algramo, was the ubiquitous plastic waste polluting my community. Algramo was born to solve these interrelated market failures-the poverty tax and plastic pollution.   

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Why are you passionate about your project?

I come from a fortunate Chilean family who has always seen their wealth as an opportunity to help those in need. Since I was a child, my mother has supported a kindergarten that is free for low-income families. While completing my university studies, I volunteered with a well-known and very impactful NGO in Chile, called Techo Chile. Volunteering at Techo Chile, where I eventually lead over 500 volunteers, during a national crisis, helped me see and understand the complex social challenges that my country faces and most importantly that I had the opportunity to leverage all the opportunities and blessings that I was given, to help those in need.

My work at Techo, combined with critically thinking about my economic studies, moving out of my parents comfortable upper-income, into a low-resource marginalized community, all pushed me to be more dedicated to Techo and later, created the motivation to create a business to solve the poverty tax: what would become Algramo. 

With Algramo, a key factor motivating me to pursue partnering with global brands is the urgency the world faces to deal with the climate change crisis. To have globally significant impact, Algramo needs to work with global supply chains.

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Why are you well-positioned to deliver this project?

With limited resources and investment, I was able to provide Algramo the leadership to grow its network of family owned stores from 1-2,000+ and in 2018, bring Algramo to financial breakeven. By leveraging advise and hard work with expertise from the organizations supporting Algramo, I was able to keep Algramo alive and grow it into a highly regarded company that is globally seen as a leader in reusable packaging solutions. Another important enabler of our success is that we have a systems view of the FMCG world, we understand all key stakeholders across FMCG value chains and we are able to leverage technology based solutions to scale up impact and create supply chain efficiencies.

This enabled me to close a 7-figure series last year. This allowed me to hire a robust team with deep experience and expertise in the key areas that Algramo needs. So that we can scale Algramo's vision of an inclusive 21-century reusable packaging system, into the supply chains of global brands and soon into many new markets-in both emerging and developed markets. Clear proof of me and my team’s ability to solve our challenge (getting consumers on a global scale, to widely embrace reusable packaging), is that we have Unilever and Nestle piloting with us. We also have most major FMCG brands in the partnership pipeline. Some of the world’s largest technology providers are also keen to support our impactful business model by providing free or low-bono products and services, for example, Cisco and Amazon.

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Provide an example of your ability to overcome adversity.

In Algramo’s history there have been two major challenges. Both had potential to end Algramo, but through reaching out to mentors and advisors combined with hard work and perseverance, Algramo survived. The first crisis was in 2015, we won modest funding to support Algramo scaling to Colombia.

We jumped on this exciting opportunity without clearly understanding the challenges and seemingly minor, but massively important factors, like socio-cultural factors that were against Algramo Colombia. Specifically, Algramo Chile enjoyed a major source of income from liquid laundry detergent. Sales from detergent essentially subsidized other products with lower margins (like dry food staples). However, in Colombia, in the markets we solid in, very few people had laundry machines that used liquid laundry detergent. This effectively removed a primary product that was essential to Algramo’s financial sustainability. We held on to Algramo Colombia for too long and in the end almost bankrupted Algramo-this was a major learning opportunity/challenge. 

Another crisis occurred in 2018, when it became essential to legally separate with my ex-co-founder. This was a difficult and expensive decision, but it was necessary-for both of us. If we didn’t separate, interpersonal frictions, between co-founders, would have likely greatly impacted Algramo. 

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Describe a past experience that demonstrates your leadership ability.

A transformational leadership opportunity came into my life from an invaluable volunteer position at a prominent Chilean NGO-Techo Chile(A-Roof-for-Chile). My time at Techo definitely had transformative impact on how I saw my ability to create social impact. My experiences at Techo gave me confidence and increased my desire to create and lead a social enterprise.

I was only 20 when I started volunteering at Techo, within a year, I was leading 140 volunteers-who were working hard to enable Chile's most marginalized families to move out of illegal informal, unsafe homes-into real-secure legal homes. Me and the team of volunteers created live-changing transformative impact for hundreds of Chile's most marginalized families.

On February 27, 2010, my leadership development at Techo was transformed by a life changing event for many Chileans: An 8.8 mega-earthquake. The tsunami it created had devastating impacts as far away as Japan and California. The quake killed over 550 of my people, and near the epicentre 9% of families lost their homes. At this point, Techo Chile went into overdrive and I was tasked with leading 500+ volunteers. I'm both extremely proud of and grateful for my leadership development at Techo.



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How long have you been working on your project?

Seven

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Where are you headquartered?

Santiago, Chile
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What type of organization is your project?

For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models
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More About Your Work

Describe what makes your project innovative.

Algramo possesses a high-impact business model that connects technology dots to enable game-changing innovation that aims to transform how people consume FMCG products. The key technology dots that are connected and integrated into Algramo platform business model include: A business model based on a highly scalable platform model that connects technology dots between RFID (PaaW), IoT connected vending machines and an understanding of the broad and complex system required to enable reusable packaging systems of FMCG products. 

I also possess a deep and robust background in design and understand the importance of customer-centric, human-centered business models. This understanding and mindset enable a more robust alignment of Algramo’s value proposition to a more diverse and varied group of stakeholders. My leadership and aforementioned design insights have enabled Algramo to grow its packaging reuse rates for 10%, in 2014, to 84% today-Coke Chile, with one of the best corporate reuse rates has ~40% reuse rates for its reusable packaging. 

Increasingly and recently, after raising a multi-million dollar venture capital round, in late 2019, I have been able to develop a powerful, diverse and complimentary team, with a strong clear vision of social and environmental impact that can leverage the power of all the technology dots we are connecting and our innovative business model, into truly transformational and impactful innovation. With this, we are poised to help change how people consume FMCG products. Algramo is poised to create a smart-inclusive 21st century form of FMCG consumption that decouples packaging waste from FMCG consumption.  

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What is your theory of change?

Our solution is the product of over 6 years of Algramo’s tested reusable packaging business model, now reaching 2,000+ stores and ~350k end-customers. The packaging waste aversion and cost savings of ~30% earned Algramo significant notoriety-in 2017 we were awarded Chile’s Top Social Enterprise. In 2018, Algramo was awarded one of 2 global awards Deloitte-with the D2i Fellowship. D2i provided Algramo with US $625k in pro-bono consulting to create a theory of change on how our business model could be optimized to maximize its scalability and impact. Interestingly, Deloitte came back to us and said they are excited by how we have implemented and pivoted with some of the key ideas and research they provided in 2018. 

Extensive Deloitte consultants in 2018 helped us formulate our Algramo 2.0 pivot, to move Algramo from selling its own white-label products in Chile, to co-developed technology platforms, to enable global brands to sell their products in an Algramo style reusable packaging systems-but with significantly evolved technology in both the packaging and distribution system. Now Deloitte has offered a new round of pro-bono, 2020, consulting services to support additional theory of change development, research support for our Series A+, and market-expansion research.

Since Algramo is offering a zero-waste packaging solution, we conducted significant research into why zero waste stores often fail to scale. From interviewing CEOs of leading European zero waste stores, the most common challenge noted for failing to scale was not having buy-in or products from global brands. Rather, most zero-waste stores have white-label or small regional brands that are typically not widely known/trusted and often come at a cost premium. 

Our TOC is if we have an efficient distribution system that eliminates packaging waste and by doing this creates the lowest possible prices, with the most convenient consumption options, we will have a diverse array of brand partners and these brands will enjoy a dedicated and growing customer base. As we pull in more brands and products into our platform, we will create double-sided positive network effects that accelerate how consumers embrace and support reusable packaging systems.  

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Select the key characteristics of the community you are impacting.

  • Peri-Urban
  • Urban
  • Poor
  • Low-Income
  • Middle-Income
  • Minorities & Previously Excluded Populations
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your project address?

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 2. Zero Hunger
  • 3. Good Health and Well-Being
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 9. Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • 10. Reduced Inequalities
  • 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • 12. Responsible Consumption and Production
  • 13. Climate Action
  • 14. Life Below Water
  • 15. Life on Land
  • 17. Partnerships for the Goals
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Chile
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Indonesia
  • Netherlands
  • United States
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How many people does your project currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?

Algramo has been developing its distribution system for over 6 years. Our 1.0 technology, selling Algramo branded products, serves ~2,200 stores, reaching ~350,000 end-customers.

Algramo’s 2.0 technology-next-generation IoT-connected-vending-machines (ICVM) are integrated into mobile electric product delivery. Our ICVM have the capacity to significantly increase access to co-branded Algramo-FMCG products. In one year, we project having 45 electric tricycles. Currently, 45 tricycles can potentially reach 1.5-2 million customers. If we capture 5-10% market share, we will add 75,000–150,000 new customers. In each country we operate we project Algramo Walls-(retail ICVM) will service ~50,000 customers in the first year-~100,000 between Algramo Chile and USA.

Year one=350k(Algramo1.0)+75k-150k(electric tricycle delivery)+100k(retail refills)=525,000–600,000 customers.

Our business model uses technology that enables exponential growth. Year 5 is difficult to project as our partners are global brands and global service providers. If our franchise strategy works well, we could be operational in 10+ countries and 100+ cities. If this reasonable, but slightly optimistic projection occurs, in 5 years, our technology would have potential to reach 250+ million customer/year-with 5%–10% of the market, 12.5million/25 million customers/year. A 20% market penetration would put us up to 50 million customers. 

Being conservative, in 5 years, with poor platform development and many setbacks we may only scale into 3 countries and reach only 20 cities. Under this pessimistic model we would have potential to reach 50 million customers. With 10% serviced, we would reach 5 million customers

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What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?

In late 2019, I closed a seven-figure investment round. Algramo is using these funds to grow our team and to have essential resources for rapidly developing and optimizing Packaging-as-a-Wallet, ICVM-both mobile and in-store and the cross brand/product type payment platform. We are currently working with several researchers (business intelligence/marketing/circular economy), Harvard Business School students and Deloitte D2i consultants to develop a franchising strategy to scale Algramo’s distribution system to global markets. The next 6-month focus is fully developing technology in Chile with our first market entries in Q3 2020. In the next 3 months, Algramo will pilot in New York and Jakarta-with Enviu-a Dutch NGO. In 9 months, Algramo will setup global headquarters in Amsterdam and hopes to scale into Peru.

Another impactful use of Algramo’s technology we are interested in exploring is using Algramo’s distribution system to reduce carbon emissions and waste for humanitarian supply chains. Once our technology is extensively tested and optimized in emerging markets, we are keen to explore how we could potentially leverage our technology to distribute humanitarian aid for the lowest possible costs. In essence, our impact goals are to integrate and leverage our distribution system, with values aligned partners who can help us rapidly scale up our impact and transform how people use and benefit from Algramo's reusable packaging distribution system.

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What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year and in the next five years?

One significant barrier is bringing together and motivating stakeholders who are resistant to working pre-competitively-this creates co-innovation risks that need to be carefully managed. We need to create shared value and enable competitive collaboration to maximize value creation for all stakeholders. We are seeking support from experts from WEF, EMF, and Harvard Business School to help promote and our technology. We are featured in EMF’s New Plastic Economy Reuse Report: https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/news/new-plastics-economy-reuse-book- The above initiatives/NGOs have significant experts across industry and government who can help Algramo overcome barriers. EMF

Financially, we need ~$10 million to optimally scale our distribution system into the United States-Europe-Indonesia-Peru and Mexico. Our 2019, investment round is enabling our technology to become fully developed and optimized in Chile by late 2020. Our technology will be ready for international expansion to NYC and Indonesia in Q3 2020. Expansion strategy will be guided by entering markets with favourable policies that promote circular business models by providing financial, technical, legal and cultural factors that remove market barriers to implanting Algramo’s reusable distribution system. Primary expansion markets: the EU (Amsterdam-Paris-London are key markets); Latin America (Peru-Mexico-Colombia); and Indonesia. 

To maximize short-and long-term growth we need to engineer our distribution system to create an optimized balance of convenience, exceptional user experience and cost savings. The more we increase convenience, while decreasing product cost, the more probable we will be able to create shifts in mindset and consumer behaviour that are required for widespread adoption of reusable packaging.

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How do you plan to overcome these barriers?

To bring together diverse stakeholders across the plastics value chain, our focus is to show each stakeholder that we can maximize value creation and reduce costs, for everyone, by intelligent pre-competitive collaboration that uses Algramo’s co-created distribution system. Key stakeholders Algramo brings together include NGOs, FMCG brands, packaging producers, retailers, customers, technology providers, researchers, universities and government. Using experienced experts like WRAP/EMF/WEF, to help us create maximum shared value for our stakeholders will help overcome implementation and growth barriers.

Technology wise, our most significant challenge is realizing that the entire distribution system relies on a complex array of technology, from packaging as a wallet (PaaW), to IoT connected-vending-machines and the platform that drives payment across our distribution system. In a platform, the system is only as strong as the weakest link. 

Beyond having key technology operating optimally, we need to engineer positive double-sided network effects into our platform, so we create maximized value and competitive advantage for the brands and products sold in our distribution system. It’s essential that we have the world’s best technology providers powering our distribution system. In addition to world-class brand partners, we are also using world-class legal, marketing and public relations companies to create maximized value and consumer demand for our reusable packaging distribution system.

All of the above strengths also are critical in helping Algramo overcome one of its greatest challenges: Changing consumer behaviour to embrace reusable packaging systems.

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What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?

Unilever-has been instrumental in co-developing our distribution system. Starting in late May of 2019, Unilever’s central office in London became more supportive and interested in Algramo. They are interested in backing our Indonesian pilot. 

Deloitte supports Algramo with pro-bono consulting from top US consultants-via the D2i Fellowship. Key focus is helping us partner with global brands, optimize the business model and develop a franchising strategy. In early 2020, D2i reached out to Algramo to offer a second round of pro-bono consulting to support our growth and business model development. 

Since mid-July 2020, we are selling Nestle dog and cat food (Purina), with electric tricycles/home refill. We have most major global FMCG brands in our partnership development pipeline.

Early stage discussions with one of world’s largest plastic resign producers and plastic packaging producers to make a new customized plastic designed for maximized longevity and a polymer/plastic as a service business model.

Cisco Chile is providing major support to Algramo to support our ICVM and platform. 

Three impact focused business school PhD researchers-including Harvard Business School, INSEAD and EGADE.  

World Economic Forum, I'm a Global Shaper and Young Global Leader at WEF and they have invited Algramo to participate in their Consumers Beyond Disposability program. 

Harvard Business School promotes Algramo as a place to do MBA practicums-we have had strong uptake by HBS students. 

UNEP-Founding member of United Nations Green-Technology-Startup-Initiative.

Likely launching a reuse/refillable packaging campaign-in Chile-NYC-Jakarta, with one of world's largest environmental NGOs-should be public by mid- August. 

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Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

Key customers and beneficiaries are any end-customers who want to purchase consumer goods for the lowest possible price and/or customers who value purchasing products without packaging waste. 

Our business model is based on having FMCG brands fund the majority, generally near 100%, of CAPEX on technology and based on CAPEX investments, we negotiate margins for the co-branded products sold. Beyond the benefits of cost savings for consumers, eliminating packaging waste is especially beneficial to brands keen to sell products in markets where governments are placing restrictions on single-use packaging or extended producer responsibility schemes. Also, many FMCG brands have CEO-level commitments to embrace reusable packaging systems.   

The technology in packaging-as-a-wallet (PaaW) and IoT-connected-vending-machines (ICVM) capture precisely how many times each packaging unit is reused by customers-creating excellent gamification opportunities to lock customers into sustainable consumption. This is especially easy to do when our system offers products for the lowest possible costs. In Chile, we reduce Unilever product costs by about 35% below regular supermarket prices. Furthermore, our packaging and vending machine technology and our app can validate reusable packaging credits for the 350+ companies who have signed up to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment that obligates/motivates many companies to have reusable packaging solutions. Algramo’s distribution system also enables government to avert the need and extensive environmental and economic costs of recycling single-use packaging. Taxpayers and the environment win every time one of our reusable packaging units enables consumption without packaging needing to be landfilled or recycled.

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What is your path to financial sustainability?

Algramo 1.0 sells Algramo branded products to ~2,200 FONS in low-resource communities of Santiago-it reached financial sustainability-in 2018. However, this 1.0 business model doesn’t provide adequate profits for the technology development that we are implementing to enable Algramo’s distribution system to be integrated into supply chains of global FMCGs.

To develop our technology into and with FMCG brands, we are relying on FMCGs investing in CAPEX for our technology development. This means FMCG brands cover the main technology development costs of the hardware. 

We are structuring relationships with brand partners in a win-win manner that helps ensure a long-term financially viable and successful relationship between Algramo and brand partners. Brands are providing a margin on products that covers our operational costs. Furthermore, FMCGs are offering a minimum payment to Algramo for the implementation period, to ensure Algramo has an operational runway while we attract a critical mass of customers into our distribution system.   

In essence, Algramo 1.0 is an established high-impact organically growing social-enterprise-but it has limited financial resources to scale impact and lacks a business model to attract venture capital. 

Algramo 2.0 is a spinoff of Algramo 1.0, that is piloting/evolving Algramo 1.0's distribution systems with global brands-to co-develop technology and a new business model that can be rapidly scaled for maximized growth and impact. In late 2019, the early success of Algramo 2.0, enabled Algramo to close a 7-figure venture capital investment round. We are now starting our next investment round to scale Algramo on a global scale.

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If you have raised funds for your project or are generating revenue, please provide details.

Our key investors from our 2019 investment round have asked that we keep the round size confidential. However, we can note that we did raise well over US $1 million in our 2019 raise. Lead investor was Closed Loop Partners (New York), the other major investor was Sky Ocean Ventures (London).

Algramo’s 2019 revenue was US $2.5 million. The vast majority of this revenue was from Algramo 1.0 sales. 

In the past year, we won US $60k from MIT Solve Circular Economy Challenge, $105,000 from National Geographic Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge and most recently US $15k from VIVA Schmidheiny-for first place in environmental benefits in Latin America. All were grants-non-dilutive funding and total US $180k.

In the past year, we have also won over $50k in pro-bono software services from Amazon and Microsoft.  

We are just starting to launch our Series A+ which we anticipate being around US $10 million-we hope to close in October 2020.

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If you seek to raise funds for your project, please provide details.

In July 2020, we are starting our Series A+. We anticipate this round being around US $10 million and we plan to close in October 2020.

Funds will be used to more aggressively expand Algramo 2.0 into global markets-using a franchise strategy that connects strategic implementation partners with our turnkey technologies and our brand/technology partners. 

Early key expansion markets include: the United States (Q3 2020), Indonesia (Q3 2020), Amsterdam-Q1 2021-Global Headquarters & 2 or 3 other key EU markets, Latin America-Peru, Mexico and Colombia are key expansion markets.

Almost every week Algramo gets requests from people or organizations interested in franchising Algramo into a new market. Funding from our A+ will enable us to service high-quality franchising opportunities into markets with strong implementation partners, where our brand partners see strong demand for Algramo's distribution system.

If MIT Elevate is able to provide Algramo with support to help us raise our Series A+, we would be extremely grateful and keen to explore suggested options.

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What are your estimated expenses for 2020?

All expenses in USD and correspond to Algramo’s expenses from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

Marketing $67k

Labor $793k

General Expenses $314k

Technology Expenses/Projects $297k

Consulting (Experts/Legal) $278k 

 Total 2020 Operational expenses $1,749k  

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The Prize

Why are you applying for The Elevate Prize?

 

To be honest, despite all of our success to date we realize we are trying to do something extremely challenging and that our success depends on Algramo changing consumer behaviour. Furthermore, we are dedicated to global impact and global expansion-we will do this across emerging and developing markets. To be successful, we need support from as many values aligned stakeholders as possible. 

Algramo is fortunate to have won many innovation, sustainability and impact challenges, from high-profile organizations, we are extremely grateful for each and every award. Every award has typically brought us not just financial benefits, but also significant non-financial benefits. Often, these non-financial benefits have brought us equal, or even greater, benefits than the financial awards.

Out of all the awards and challenges we have won, in less than a year, Solve has brought the most diverse, extensive and valuable non-financial benefits-via its deep network of impact focused partners and organizations. We see MIT Elevate, like Solve, but perhaps with a deeper and longer-term support network. If this is true, Elevate would be transformational in supporting Algramo reaching its moonshot-scaling its impact on a global scale. In doing this, we could, on a global scale, change people’s attitudes, beliefs and behaviors around how we consume FMCG products. In doing this, we can help solve wicked problems: Market failures like the poverty tax and ocean plastic pollution. Our impact would be wide and across society and our environment but especially transformational for those traditionally left behind in low-resource marginalized communities.

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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Funding and revenue model
  • Talent recruitment
  • Board members or advisors
  • Marketing, media, and exposure
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Please explain in more detail here.

Funding and revenue model-In July 2020 we start our Series A+, with a ~$10 million round. This investment will be critical to our rapid, robust and optimized global scaling. If Elevate could provide us with support for our Series A+, expected to close in late 2020, we would be extremely grateful. 

 Talent recruitment-If MIT was able to promote Algramo to its business or engineering students for practicums or future employment, Algramo would be honoured and grateful.

Board members or advisors-We are constantly looking for world-class advisor/board members to support Algramo’s growth. Especially interested in advisors/board members with high-level experience in FMCGs, logistics and Forth-Industrial-Revolution Technologies. 

Marketing/media-Algramo is starting an aggressive expansion into many new markets, in diverse emerging and developed economies. As we enter new markets, marketing or media exposure, would be extremely valuable for helping Algramo overcome one of its greatest challenges, changing consumer behaviour. 

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What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?

Any FMCG brand or retail partner interested in co-developing a reusable packaging distribution system for a product. We are especially interested in faster moving products.  

Any technology provider, especially in Forth Industrial Revolution Technology, who sees an opportunity to integrate their technology into Algramo’s platform or distribution system, in a manner that can enable us to sell products more conveniently, for a lower cost, or with a lower environmental impact.    

Material science experts for new circular business models for our packaging. We need support designing and creating high quality, high performance polymers customized for reusable packaging. We have some resign producers, packaging producers and circular economy focused NGO’s interested in supporting this new transformative way of viewing plastic packaging. We are interested in being part of a plastic or polymer as a service business model, with a packaging provider, FMCG and Algramo. 

Global NGOs or organizations who can help us change consumer behaviour so customers will adopt our reusable packaging system on a wide scale. 

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Solution Team

 
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