Crowdfunding success for Collective Impact businesses

Virgin StartUp
Virgin StartUp
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
10 November 2021

Oxwash and Petit Pli, two businesses that took part in the Collective Impact programme delivered by Virgin StartUp and Crowdcube, have seen incredible crowdfunding success, both raising more than their funding targets.

Oxwash, a business that is re-engineering the laundry process from the ground up, raised £500k in just 15 hours on Crowdcube – twice its £250k target. Oxwash is aiming to achieve net-zero carbon emissions for the whole laundry process, from collection, through washing and back to delivery. Its goal is to be the world’s first truly sustainable and future-proof laundry company. 

“We knew being just another laundry app wouldn’t cut it. Developing a model that was hyper-local, carbon-neutral, and tech-enabled – that reversed the sector’s adverse impact on the planet rather than adding to it was fundamental,” said co-founder Dr Kyle Grant.


Holly Branson, Virgin Group’s Chief Purpose and Vision Officer, was so impressed by Oxwash when she met the founders, through the Collective Impact programme, that she has invested into the company personally. She said: “When I met Kyle and Tom, the founders of Oxwash, I knew immediately they were the type of purposeful leaders I love to work with; their passion, drive, and enthusiasm for sustainable laundry was infectious. Through the Collective Impact programme I get to meet the most inspiring founders and am constantly blown away by their innovative, creative and commercial approach to sustainable business. Oxwash will turn the traditional laundry sector on its head, proving yet again that purposeful business is great business.”

Ella Pugh, Head of Commercial at Oxwash, added: “Crowdfunding is something that I've always been aware could be an option for us since the early days of the business, but it wouldn’t have become a reality for us without the help of the Virgin Startup Programme.

“The Virgin StartUp team was phenomenal, they really take you from the genesis of an idea right the way through to executing a crowdfund through sessions and workshops where you can really explore your brand from an outside perspective.”

Petit Pli is a material innovation and wearable technology company that spun out from the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London. Petit Pli was launched to reduce the incidence of waste and CO2 emissions produced in the garment industry – the world’s second-largest polluter – by creating new materials and processes. Its first innovation is a patent-pending fabric that ‘grows’. An early application has been in the manufacture of children’s clothing, allowing a garment that might normally be sized 0-6 months, become 0-3 years.

Petit Pli’s crowdfunding campaign has also raised more than double its £150k target. 

Petit Pli
Petit Pli

Arabella Turek, COO of Petit Pli, said: “There is a dearth of support of mission-based businesses. Purpose-driven start-ups need purpose-led support and connections with like-minded investors and innovators. Through Virgin’s Collective Impact Programme, Petit Pli was able to not only connect with fellow founders such as Oxwash and Fruu Cosmetics, but grow alongside each other through bespoke and targeted support from start-up veterans – including Giles Humphries, Founder of Mindful Chef, funding gurus and purpose-driven thought leaders such as Holly Branson. Along with this, it provided the perfect training ground to launch a killer crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube. Our Equity for LittleHumans page became overfunded in just a weekend.

“It’s a programme which fills a real need within the start-up space. But was all the more meaningful for Petit Pli as we were enrolled during lockdown, when networking opportunities were low. This is why Crowdcube has partnered with an experienced network of investors, including Holly Branson, who bring capital and expertise to co-invest in opportunities alongside the crowd.”

Crowdfunding offers start-ups a great way to raise investment and take the business to the next level. The Collective Impact programme run by Virgin StartUp and Crowdcube helps purpose-driven businesses get investment-ready so they can scale and grow. Visit Virgin StartUp to find out more.