Austin green products startup BlueAvocado raises $1.7 million for expansion

Nov 14, 2013
Austin American Statesman

In 2007, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban plastic bags. The following year, Austin startup BlueAvocado launched its first line of reusable lunch kits


Today, BlueAvocado’s line has grown to include totes, travel gear and accessories, all of which are made of recycled plastic bottles. Its products are sold in 8,500 stores and online retailers nationwide including the Container Store, Whole Foods, Target and Amazon


Now, the eight-person company has raised $1.7 million to make an expansion push in the multi-billion dollar green consumer product market


Plans include hiring a vice president of marketing, carrying out a national marketing campaign and building out the company’s online store


The new investment round was led by San Antonio-based Barshop Ventures, with participation from Gamefly.com co-founder Sean Spector; TV personality and designer Lauren Conrad; Jack Long, chairman of PeopleAdmin and the Baylor Angel Network


The company, which has offices on West Koenig Lane in North Austin, previously raised about $2 million


BlueAvocado’s national retail efforts got a big boost in March, when the company became B Corp-certified. Started in 2006, B Corp certification highlights companies that prove their commitment to sustainability, community, transparency and fair employee treatment


Following certification, Target increased the number of stores selling BlueAvocado products from about 300 to more than 1,000, George said


BlueAvocado entered 2,500 other new stores, including Kohl’s, QVC and The Shopping Channel, and plans to break into 500 additional stores by year’s end


The company doesn’t release financial information, but George said revenue is expected to double for the third consecutive year in 2013


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