A new service hoping to reduce the waste caused by children’s toys has raised new funding to expand its offering.
Toy sharing subscription service Whiri has secured €4.3m (£4m) in a seed funding round led by Octopus Ventures, with participation from MMC Ventures.
Founded in 2018, the London start-up is targeting Millennial and Gen Z parents with a platform that allows toys to be borrowed rather than bought.
Its an approach which the firm hopes will promote ‘sustainable consumerism’. The firm said that of the £300m of toys bought each year, the majority are not played with.
Over Christmas, it said around £135 is spent on toys per child, but by January one in four Christmas toys will already be neglected.
The new funding will support Whirli’s plans to expand their range of rentable toys, and increase delivery and return options.
Whirli said it will continue to invest heavily in their proprietary technology, building on the existing technical infrastructure.
All toys processed by Whirli’s own facilities and are fully cleaned and sterilised before being sent on to a new family, it said.
Nigel Phan, founder of Whirli said: “Consumers wanting to shop sustainably should not have to compromise with higher prices or greater inconveniences.
“We’re really proud to be at the forefront of this technology-enabled disruption that is reshaping consumer behaviour and retail.
“Through the power of the sharing economy, Whirli has created a winning proposition for parents and for the planet, and we are delighted to welcome Octopus Ventures and MMC Ventures on our journey.”
Dele Akinyemi, from investor MMC added: “Whirli enables parents to make more ethical and sustainable choices in a large market that has seen limited innovation to date. We have been impressed by Nigel and the Whirli team and we are looking forward to supporting them as MMC continues to invest in companies helping to create a more circular economy.”