There’s a lot of talk about smartphones. But the smartphone accessory industry, which sells 1B+ phone cases a year, is equally impressive.
While the market is massive, it’s also an environmental disaster. Most of those cases are made of plastics, which break down and end up polluting our oceans.
Enter Pela Case, the world’s first 100% compostable eco-friendly iPhone and Android case.
The story begins in Saskatchewan, Canada…
… a region that grows the most flaxseed oil in the world. A byproduct of that oil-making process is flax straw, a shock-absorbent material that is also biodegradable.
Materials scientist Jeremy Lang — a Saskatchewn native from a family of Canadian prairie farmers — created a material from the flax straw (Flaxstic) that forms the basis of Pela’s product.
The invention became a company around 5 years ago when Lang met an ecommerce entrepreneur named Matthew Bertulli.
Pela has grown rapidly since then
Today, it does mid-8 figures in annual revenue, and the success of its product has brought on 1000s of copycats, according to Bertuill, now the company’s CEO.
It’s not just the competition that has taken notice, either.
The company notched a ~$100m valuation in its latest funding round, attracting investors that include Jay-Z’s VC arm, Marcy Ventures.
Expanding from phone cases
Also under the umbrella of the the British Columbia-based Pela brand are:
There are plans for more verticals, all with an ethical spin.
Bertulli tells The Hustle that he modeled Pela after Patagonia, the outdoors retailer that is focused on environmental and social impact.
“They’ve been around for 40+ years and do a billion dollars in sales,” says Bertulli. “Having an ethical angle hasn’t slowed them down.”