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Peequal, UK’s first women’s urinal, to make a splash after closing funding round

The Business Magazine article image for: Peequal, UK’s first women’s urinal, to make a splash after closing funding round
9 February 2022

The team behind the UK’s first female urinal, Peequal, have raised £250,000 in their first funding round, as they strive to pioneer ‘pee-equality’ for women and make long queues for the ladies a thing of the past.

University of Bristol graduates Amber Probyn, 23, and Hazel McShane, 25, say their flatpack portable urinals made of recycled sea plastics are six times faster to use and produce 98 per cent less carbon than traditional portable toilets.

And investors agree. Peequal has closed its first funding round, with a quarter of a million pounds raised to take the business into its next phase.

The investors are the British Design Fund; Monzo co-founder Tom Blomfield; former Gü COO Sarah Jones; and angel investors Chris Stamp and Elaine Groenestein.

Amber and Hazel’s urinals will become a common sight at British festivals and events, with 250 units currently under construction and several deals being signed with large-scale festival operators in the coming weeks. Deals are also underway with European festivals for the 2023 season.

Hazel said: “This funding is not only a huge vote of confidence in Peequal but also a big moment for pee equality the world over. We want Peequal to empower women to take back their time and break the taboo around female urination.

“We are building a team to bring our urinals to festivals, sporting events, outdoor shows and more.

“We’re really proud to be changing the way women pee, and doing it in a safe way which reduces time spent in queues. Because our urinals are modular and flat packed, just one of our festival orders this summer will take 70 lorries – or 140 lorry trips – off the roads.”

Tom Blomfield, co-founder of Monzo, said: “I'm proud to be an investor in Peequal - it's important that women have access to toilets that are quick, safe and sustainable.

“I was really impressed with Hazel and Amber's drive and determination, and the progress they've made with the business is magnificent. I'm sure you'll see more of their urinals at UK festivals this summer.”

Peequal is working with social enterprise PeePower to turn the urine into electricity. Peequal also has plans to convert the urine into fertilizer in the future.

The pair came up with the initial design while studying at the University of Bristol and the idea won them £15,000 from the institution’s start-up competition. Since graduating in 2021 they have toured UK festivals, gaining user feedback and tweaking their design.

Christine Dent, site manager of Shambala Festival, said the urinals were “excellent” and “the best solution I have seen”. She added: “We look forward to having Peequal back next year.”

Fashion stylist Twinks Burnett, said using the Peequal urinal at a 2021 festival was the “best wee of the weekend: it felt right, it felt safe, it felt beautiful”.

According to the Alison Rose review of Female Entrepreneurship, less than one per cent of UK venture funding goes to all-female teams and nearly half (48 per cent) of investment teams include no women at all.

Amber said: “Being part of the one per cent of women who successfully raise funding, I feel humbled and passionate about helping other female founders do the same.”

Peequal now has offices in Runway, the University of Bristol’s student and graduate start-up hub.

Mark Neild, programme director for Runway at the University of Bristol, said: “Amber and Hazel are the perfect examples of what intelligent and dynamic young people are capable of doing – disrupting a stale market that doesn’t work for half of its consumers.

“We are excited to have them join our new Runway space to inspire others and share in the community we are creating to help student start-ups fly.”

Amber and Hazel both studied at the University’s award-winning Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Students at the Centre take one of 14 regular subjects and combine their studies with Innovation units.

 


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Peter Davison is deputy editor of The Business Magazine. He has spent his life in journalism – doing work experience in newsrooms in and around Bristol while still at school, and landing his first job on a local newspaper aged 19. By 28 he was the youngest newspaper editor in the country.

An early advocate of online news, he spent the first years of the 2000s telling his bosses that the internet posed both the biggest opportunity and greatest threat to the newspaper industry and the art of journalism. He was right on both counts.

Since 2006 he has enjoyed a career as a freelance journalist. He lives in rural Wiltshire with one wife, two children, and three cats.

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