Scrapp Profile

Scrapp logo.

Scrapp is a cleantech startup that is making recycling easier for consumers than ever before. With their easy-to-use app, consumers are able to scan barcodes and labels to determine whether goods are able to be recycled in their community.

Founder(s): Dan Marek, Mikey Pasciuto, Evan Gwynne Davies

Industry: Sustainable

Founded in: 2019

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Email: enquiries@scrapprecycling.com

Overview of Scrapp

Interview With Dan Marek

Describe your product or service:

“Scrapp is a mission-led platform that makes recycling simple, fun, and rewarding for everyone.

Our free app enables you to see if an item is recyclable or not, according to your local recycling rules, simply by scanning the barcode. That’s not all, though, because with Scrapp, your climate-conscious efforts earn you Scrapp points, our brand new digital currency. You can spend these points to get money off your favourite eco-friendly products or services via our in-app, sustainable marketplace. Or, you can contribute points to help support planet-positive causes like removing ocean-bound plastic or planting trees.

The app uses a crowdsourced sustainability approach — we call it the recycling revolution. This approach enables anyone to submit new packaging information to our library, which benefits the entire community. In return for submitting info, we remove five plastic bags from the ocean on their behalf, thanks to our friends at NGO Plastic Bank. This has proved to be an effective way of building our library of products since we’ve already crowdsourced over 20,000 products in just four months. Our proprietary verification system allows us to minimise any incorrect info getting through.”

Describe your company values and mission:

“To empower people to recycle right and to encourage brands to choose more sustainable forms of packaging.”

How are you funded? (I.e. venture capital, angel investors, etc.)

“All bootstrapped so far and supported through our success in several competitions. We’re also currently crowdfunding to support Scrapp’s global expansion! So if you’re interested in investing in Scrapp, you can watch our video and read more on our page: www.wefunder.com/scrapprecycling.”

How big is your team? Tell us a little about them (I.e. co-founders, freelancers, etc.)

“Dan, Mikey, and Evan (the co-founders) are joined by Thomas (CTO), John (CIO), Teresa (sustainability coordinator), and Callum (software developer). We’re an international team working remotely across five countries.”

Did you always want to start your own business? What made you want to become an entrepreneur?

“As co-founders, we’d either had our own previous entrepreneurial endeavours or grown up around family businesses, so I guess you could say we’ve always had that streak. But with zero formal business qualifications, we’ve had to learn fast!”

How did you come up with your startup idea? How did you decide to actually act on the idea? What gave you confidence that you were on the right track?

“In 2019, the co-founders met in a sustainable engineering class where we learned that over two-thirds of all recyclable consumer packaging ever made has ended up in landfills. So, we decided to come up with a solution. Our adolescent naivety probably gave us the confidence to start, if I’m honest. But it’s no doubt been our relentless, systematic approach to overcoming adversity that’s got us where we are today.

This quote from Mary Annaïse Heglar, a climate justice writer, summarises our perspective perfectly. “The thing about climate change is that you can either be overwhelmed by the complexity of the problem or fall in love with the creativity of the solutions.

We first designed an elaborate AI module that would automatically sort recyclables but realised early on that we’d face significant challenges in scaling the solution and ensuring it was accessible to all. It was at this time that we stumbled across the ‘Tiny Habits’ book by BJ Fogg. His research inspired us to take a far more behavioural science approach. This led to us pivot our solution to a free app that would educate and empower people to recycle right, without the need for costly retrofits/additional infrastructure.”

What is the greatest challenge you faced in starting your business, and how did you overcome it?

“Our greatest challenge has always been the time we’ve been able to dedicate to the cause. We started during our final years of our Masters-level University degrees, so that was a pretty challenging balancing act. Half of the team [is] still juggling full-time jobs. So, I suppose what we’ve already achieved is [a] testament to the hard work (and frankly many late nights) we’ve put in to get to where we are today. 

Our crowdfunding raise is going to allow us to employ the whole team, so we’re extremely excited to be taking Scrapp full time and looking forward to what’s coming next.”

Who is your product or service made for? Who is your target market?

“The free mobile app is for anyone who’s ever asked themselves ‘is this recyclable, or not?’ But it is also for those who just want to be part of a community — who are working towards making their personal impact go further.

Our B2B services are for organizations/local authorities seeking to increase recycling participation rates and reduce costly landfill fees as a result of contamination. Scrapp is uniquely positioned to maximize engagement in recycling programs and educate & empower people to recycle right.

We’ve already begun licensing our data to some of the largest AI robotics companies, and we’re currently involved in discussions with several leading supermarkets around how we can integrate with their existing platforms.”

What’s your marketing strategy?

“Our focus so far has been on organic channels, to continue our value-first approach by delivering educational content that people actually want to share with their friends. We’ve also been featured in several articles, including Pebble, the leading sustainability magazine in the UK.”

How did you acquire your first 100 customers?

“Through leveraging email marketing and growing our Instagram community.”

What are the key customer metrics / unit economics / KPIs you pay attention to to monitor the health of your business?

“While we’re still [at a] very early stage, our focus has been more on qualitative data, so lots of surveys and interviews with early-adopters around how we can continue to make Scrapp better for them. 

But we also track the typical metrics, so number of downloads, monthly active users, and KPIs specific to our platform. We’ve already had 1,000 downloads in less than three weeks, purely organic traffic, so that’s pretty encouraging.”

What’s your favorite book on entrepreneurship?

“‘Happy Sexy Millionaire’ is a fantastic book by Steven Bartlet. After I finished reading it a couple times, I gave it to my Dad. He’s been quoting lines from it back to me ever since!”

What is your favorite startup or business podcast?

“Personally, I’ve found a lot of gems from Steve P Young’s App Marketing Pod. But, I’ve also got to shout out ‘Diary of a CEO’ by Steven Bartlet. His interview with Mo Gawdat (the happiness guy) is an episode everyone must listen to.”

What is something that surprised you about entrepreneurship?

“The amount of genuine friendships I’ve made through starting Scrapp was something I didn’t expect. It’s especially great to meet folks doing a similar thing at a similar age who can actually relate to the experience.”

How do you achieve work/life balance as a founder?

“This is something I’m still honestly trying to work on. I’ll have to get back to you when I think I’ve found it!”

How do you stay motivated?

“Getting plans with friends in the calendar that I can look forward to. For me, staying active, eating well, and working out does a lot of good stuff for my mental health.”

Did you have to develop any habits that helped lead you to success? If so, what are they?

“Recently I’ve forced myself to get better at managing tasks. I’m responsible for all things UI/UX on the product side as well as managing all of our marketing efforts, content, and socials — so that’s a lot of projects to handle! 

I used to have some terrible ways of keeping track of these (I’m embarrassed to even say what they were, but you can probably imagine). But then I switched to using the app Todoist and Google Calendar, which have both helped me to structure my days far more efficiently.”

What are you most proud of as an entrepreneur?

“Building a solution that’s having a measurable, positive impact on the environment is incredibly rewarding.

To be working with such a great team is an absolute honour too. They share my passion for making the world a better place and keep me on my toes, which I’m very grateful for.”

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