A Singular Experience: Sourcing Venture Capital for a Unique Reusable Packaging Venture

After several iterations of a business model to buy and sell used cardboard boxes, Marty Metro recently shared with The Reusable Packaging News how he shifted from the bricks and mortar approach of his Boomerang Boxes outlets to one involving the creation of a national website to facilitate the buying and selling of used cardboard boxes across the country.

Marty, founder and CEO of UsedCardboardBoxes.com (UCB), was a consultant at Andersen consulting before the dot.com crash steered him towards the opportunity of cardboard box reuse. Acquiring venture capital for such a novel concept was no small undertaking.

“Raising money for a “non-traditional” venture is probably the hardest thing I have ever done,” Marty commented. “It sucks the life out of you.  It sucks the confidence out of you.  Its consumes you.”

“Depending on the economy, no matter what you do, and how confident you are,” Marty elaborated, “there is always someone on the other side of the table, with the money you need, telling you your plan will never work, or telling you that you are doing it all wrong.  You have to have the confidence, or insanity, to tell that person that they are wrong, that you are right and you are willing to put everything you have on it.”  He pitched the idea to hundreds of capital sources, including banks, investors, investment bankers, venture capitalists, friends, and family.

Marty tried different approaches, different amounts, different projections, and different time lines.  “You can never actually project how well you will do on a completely new venture,” Marty said.  “There are too many variables.  You just have to keep knocking on doors, keep pitching and keep making sure people know you are ‘in it to win it’ and won’t stop at anything.  Then, and only then, you might get someone to invest in you.”

With venture capital funding obtained in 2006 and the launch of UsedCardboardBoxes.com, venture capital oversight also was included. “The venture capital firm assigned me an analyst who blew my mind,” Marty continued  “Over the next two years, David Krasnow (that analyst) and I worked together to completely dissect our business and create a profitable, scalable model that would provide for an attractive ROI to investors.” David is now Chief Operating Officer at UCB.

The company provides an online portal and logistics network for buying and selling used cardboard boxes for moving as well as for business to business shipping. For the home moving market, the company provides a number of different moving kits, depending upon how many rooms to be moved. Free delivery is included in the price, according to company information.

Marty recently acted as emcee fof the Walmart/Good Housekeeping/Shell Oil “Speaker Series” at the Northwest Arkansas Green Expo, appearing on a local NBC affiliate.

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