Funds for the future: founder of compost monitoring device secures six figure sum

26 May 2020

From The University of Queensland ilab to smart-tech startup, a world-first composting device has secured a significant six-figure financial interest from investors.

Ashley Baxter and Phoebe Long smiling and laughing at one another.
Ashley Baxter (founder) and recent hire Phoebe Long (Head of Business Operations)

Business and IT graduate turned eco-entrepreneur, Ashley Baxter and team hope to increase global sustainability and reduce carbon emissions through the use of their advanced composting technology, Monty, formerly known as EarthOffset. 

Despite the many challenges faced by most startups due to the coronavirus crisis, Ashley secured her first round of significant financial interest from investors for Monty in April.

Ashley explains that so many startups have dried up because of the pandemic, leaving an opening for Monty to receive offers from interested parties.

“Anyone who has capital is looking to deploy it somewhere,” Ashley said. “We’ve been lucky.”

“It was a complicated, long process to get here! There’s this idea around funding that you have one pitch meeting and then the investors write you a cheque. It’s not like this at all!”

“What’s most important to an investor is whether a person can execute what they’re doing. That you can show you’ve thought about what’s important from their perspective and made sure you can address it.”

“It’s taken years, so it’ll be exciting to physically have the product soon.”

The Monty team will use its new finances for an exclusive 100-unit launch: a pre-batch to test the product-making process prior to mass manufacture. This initial launch will create brand awareness and customer interest through influencer marketing.

By the end of 2020, Monty will launch to the mass market through a crowd-funding campaign. Ashley is now hiring staff, including mobile and software developers, and has a tight-knit team working alongside her.

"It’s not as much about the company as it is about the people,” Ashley explains.

“If the market is big enough and you have some way to protect it, everything else will work out!”

Ashley’s venture won her the top Shane Chidgzey Young Entrepreneurs Prize at UQ’s Accelerator Pitch Night in 2019. The ilab Accelerator six-month program is one of the many exciting entrepreneurial programs and courses offered by UQ Ventures.

Follow Monty @montycompostco