Truman's Cleaning LLC, a direct-to-consumer startup that makes concentrated hard-surface cleaning products, has raised a $5 million minority investment led by German consumer-products giant Henkel AG & Co. KGaA.
The deal comes just over six months after Lexington, Ky.-based Truman's launched, propelled early on by a video that's gotten more than 1 million views just from LinkedIn sharing. The video also helped the startup get the attention of Henkel.
The cleaning product is designed to be refilled by dropping them into reusable bottles and adding water, making it more environmentally friendly than competing products. It takes 30 truckloads of ready-to-use cleaners to equal one truckload of Truman's refill cartridges, according to the company.
"We thought we would probably partner with external investors at some point," said co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Alex Reed. But the brand did not envision working with a major industry player such as Henkel.
Truman's even turned down several meetings with Henkel at first. But he and CEO Jon Bostock were ultimately drawn in.
"They really believed this disruption in product is coming, and it was going to come from the outside," Reed says.
"We look forward to gaining insights from the Truman's team, as well as supporting them with our expertise and resources," Robert Gunther, corporate director of Henkel Ventures, said in a statement.
Procter & Gamble Co. and Unilever plc also have made eliminating single-use plastics a priority of late. They're among companies that joined the Loop ecommerce recycling system led by TerraCycle earlier this year.
P&G also has launched a startup brand, originally under the DS3 brand, later called EC30, of single-use cotton-like swatches of shampoo, bath soap and household cleaners that are activated by water. And it launched the Waterless brand of dry hair care products earlier this year in South Africa.