In Founder Focus we introduce entrepreneurs and change-makers working on innovative startups, social enterprises and SME’s around Aotearoa New Zealand.
At a glance
Founders: Jo Mohan, Nick Jackson, Luka Licul
Business: Spout Milk
Can you tell us a bit about your business?
Spout helps reduce plastic milk bottle waste with reusable kegs. We supply milk in reusable kegs to businesses that use a lot of milk like cafes or workplaces. This helps these businesses avoid using plastic and diverts plastic bottles from waste streams.
Plastic waste is a big problem for New Zealand. Each year, more than 200 million plastic bottles are thrown away by kiwis. Often, these bottles aren’t recycled and end up in landfill or in the environment.
Spout solves this problem by avoiding plastic bottles entirely. We deliver milk in stainless steel kegs which can be reused thousands of times.
It starts on the farm where we work with local farmers who fill our kegs with pure pasteurised milk. We only work with farmers who embody sustainable practices like riparian planting and keeping calves with their mothers.
After our kegs are filled, they are delivered to customers across Canterbury and Otago. Once delivered, customers can store our kegs inside a kegerator. A kegerator is a fridge unit with a tap on top that can be used to dispense kegs (keg + refrigerator = kegerator). Customers can then hook our kegs up to the kegerator and start pouring.
Once a keg is empty, it’s set aside and picked up when the next batch of kegs is delivered. Empty kegs are returned to the farm where they undergo a three-stage cleaning process so that they’re ready to reuse.
We call this local delivery system our farm-to-flat white model.
What’s the backstory for your business idea?
We came up with the idea for Spout in early 2019 at the Venture Up business accelerator programme. At Venture Up, one of our cofounders pitched the idea of reducing plastic milk bottle waste and our other cofounders leapt at the opportunity to solve this problem.
Throughout January and February 2019, we trialled different prototypes with cafes in Wellington. At the end of summer, we moved the business down to Dunedin and continued to trial our idea.
Eventually, we landed on a solution that uses kegs and launched the business in late 2019. To our surprise, our idea caught the public’s attention.
We received massive amounts of positive feedback from across New Zealand and beyond. We featured in national news, spoke at events across the country, and even met with the Prime Minister.
Since then, we have continued the fight against plastic, adding new locations and products to our range.
What programmes, learning or mentoring, or resources have been of assistance so far?
- We are really grateful to Creative HQ for their help launching our business at Venture Up
- We have also received help over the years from Startup Dunedin and Ministry of Awesome