All eyes have been across the pond lately thanks to the nuptials of Meghan and Harry, but there’s even bigger news simmering in the UK that all vegans should rejoice over. A Shark Tank-esque reality TV show (Dragons’ Den is the UK counterpart) called Pitch + Plant is coming into its second season, offering a £100,000 prize investment plus backing from a crowdfunding company to one or more vegan startups with the chops to start a plant-based revolution.
While the program launched last year, the boon in vegan investing—which has its parallel here in the states among groups like the Vegan Mafia and Veggie Grill cofounder T.K. Pillan—prompted an exponential rise in the payout from £1,500 (and having garnered just 31 entrants). Contestants meeting the business requirements can enter through July 2, and six will be chosen to compete in London during a special vegan-themed entrepreneurial bootcamp for new businesses looking to make a mark in the industry. All the judges will represent the sponsoring company, BRAN Investments, and will be looking for a combination of impassioned resilience and a determination to gain loyal customers—aka, expanding the next generation of vegans.
Last year, two adorable siblings won with their coffee-based natural beauty line, Optiat. William and Anna Brightman were looking for a way to reduce the waste from all the coffee we drink, so they turned the leftover grounds from London cafes into a natural replacement for microbeads that fosters a circular economy. Their products currently include a variety of vegan body scrubs with clever themes like “The Hungover” and “Hit the Sheets,” hemp face masks, and chai black soap—and all of the ingredients are recycled from previous lives.
Here in the States, 2018 is proving to be the greenest year yet in terms of major funding for vegan companies. The biggest growth is in plant-based meat alternatives like Beyond Meat, but fashion, beauty, and even cars (!) are not close behind as new technologies allow for the creation of re- and upcycled textiles and ingredients to be used in a variety of contexts.
When the Beatles launched their cultural revolution in the UK, the world wasn’t too far behind on the uptake. Let’s hope that Pitch + Plant does the same for veganism—and that it’s not too long before we’re all humming along to a more compassionate, cruelty-free tune!
What’s your favorite vegan startup?
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Photos: Pexels; shop.optiat.com