- Founders: Sebastian Stricker, Iris Braun, Ben Unterkofler and Tobias Reiner.
- Founded in: 2018
- Employees: 130
- Money raised: -
- Ultimate goal: -
Why we write about this topic:
To give people the opportunity to help others while simultaneously mitigating social inequities
Whether it’s shampoo, granola bars or notebooks, every purchase should contribute to something good. share.eu began with this mission in 2018. The start-up has since grown significantly in both size and influence on the German grocery market. The benefit company can now be found on the shelves of almost every German supermarket and drugstore.
The founding team consists of Sebastian Stricker, Iris Braun, Ben Unterkofler and Tobias Reiner and launched the first bottle made from 100 percent recycled plastic in 2018 with its sustainable approach. In addition to the sustainable aspect of the brand, every product purchase also helps countries in humanitarian need with projects. In this edition of Startup-of-the-day, co-founder Iris Braun talks about the concept behind share and why it’s important to promote sustainable consumption.
With what goal in mind was share.eu founded?
“At share, we believe that sharing makes people happy. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for everyone to do good. We want to encourage our community to help people in need by offering everyday products and services that make it easy to donate or, as we call it, “share” with each purchase. If we inspire other businesses in the process, we’re even more pleased.”
According to share.eu, every product purchase is like a donation. How does the system work?
“Every time you buy a share product, you automatically donate to one of our worldwide social projects. This means that whether you buy share soap, water or our stationery, you are simultaneously helping someone else with a related cause. Currently, share offers products in the areas of food, hygiene, drinking water and education. Our food products donate meals, our beverages finance drinking water projects, our stationery supports education projects, and our care products support hygiene and sanitation projects.
To ensure that the donations go exactly where needed, we work together with various aid organizations. In the process, each product also gets a QR code so consumers can see exactly where the aid is going.”
What partnership are you most proud of?
“That question can be answered very easily: all of them. Without our collaborative partners, we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish as much as we have. Together, we have already generated over 100 million shares to date and have been able to help 1.7 million people in need. We can proudly say that every second someone shares with share.”
How do the projects come about?
“To reach as many people as possible, we work with local, national and international organizations. For the most part, our projects support international NGOs and their projects in countries where humanitarian aid is urgently needed (e.g., emergency aid in Bangladesh, Somalia and Nepal). At the same time, however, we also pursue projects that have a long-term approach and sustainably improve the development opportunities of the local population. This involves, for example, education projects, drinking water supplies or hygiene prevention and awareness work (e.g., Uganda, Malawi and Kenya).
“But we also know that social inequalities exist in Germany and our immediate neighborhood and that many people suffer from hidden poverty. That is why it is just as important to us to support local and national organizations such as the Tafel (e.g., Germany, Austria, Czech Republic), which distributes food from grocery stores that is still good but would be thrown out to those in need. In general, we base our projects on our ‘need for need’ principle to provide aid with each of our products. So every share snack donates a meal, every care product a hygiene product or service, every drink a day of clean drinking water, and every stationery a lesson.”
How do recycling and sustainability work at share?
“We are constantly working to improve sustainability that is aligned with our products and supply chains. We also pay attention to the environmental footprint of ingredients and packaging during product development, bearing in mind their environmental impact. In addition, we are currently working to ensure that we only use single or separable materials for our packaging (when possible) to increase their recyclability.
The recyclability of different materials is of great importance for future development and our internal sustainability goals. This is why we are constantly trying to improve here and find innovative solutions. In addition, we recently measured our Company Carbon Footprint together with ClimatePartner for2021 to make reduction and improvement potentials visible and operational.”
With what products did share take off? How would you describe your customer growth?
“We started with three products in 2018: Water bottles that provide a day’s worth of drinking water, energy bars that provide a meal, and soaps that provide a hygiene benefit. Everyday products with which people can easily do good, automatically and immediately while shopping. We want to bring social consumption to the mass market to achieve the greatest possible social impact. To this end, we have been able to steadily add new and important partners over the last four years who support our mission.”
What are share’s expansion goals in the coming months?
“In the last four years, we have already achieved quite a bit: Our four-person founding team has now grown into a share family of nearly 130 people. We now offer a product range of over 120 products from various categories, work with 14 aid organizations worldwide and can count on numerous strong cooperation partners. Our goal is to reach one billion shares by 2025. To achieve this, we need to open up new areas, expanding our product range in the process and gaining new cooperation partners to make share a holistic social impact brand.”