Startup of the month: tocco

In this month's interview we asked Leon Ge Dongliang 10 questions about his company tocco, a Paris based B2B marketplace for low-carbon and regenerative materials.

Prequel Insights
Sustainability and Compliance

Company Name: tocco

No. of Employees: 9

Headquarter: Paris

Funding (How much money was invested into tocco to date): Preseed in 2022 - Not disclosed. 

Operating Markets (Countries in which you do business): tocco is available in the US, Canada, most EU countries, the UK, India, China, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia. 

Founders: Leon Ge (CEO) and Baptiste Debever (CTO)


Reference Customers: CUURE, The Bottless, Deloop

E-Mail Contact: 

Give us a brief company description of tocco. is the world’s first B2B marketplace dedicated to low-carbon and regenerative materials. Leveraging AI, our platform helps eco-conscious brands around the world search and co-develop their products with 1,500+ material suppliers worldwide. On top of the marketplace, we are building a knowledge hub and material bank dedicated to low-carbon and regenerative materials.

Tell us a bit about the founding story of tocco. When and how was tocco born?

I met my co-founder & CTO of tocco Baptiste Debever at a coliving place in Paris back in 2020. During dinner in the flat, we discussed how much plastic packaging had been thrown away after our grocery shopping, and how everything in the room could have been designed with regenerative materials. The spark started there. 

The beginning of tocco started in 2022, and the platform will be live in the summer of 2023. We have our first revenue stream soon after.

Who are the people behind tocco? Tell us about the founders and initiators of tocco and what motivates them.

tocco is proud to have a strong founder-market fit. As co-founder and CEO, I spent the past 10 years in the industrial ecosystem and in venture capital. I am trained in environmental sciences and industrial engineering at the Mines Paris-PSL and NUS Singapore. Baptiste, our CTO and co-founder, began his entrepreneurial adventure at the age of 18 and has accumulated 5 years experience with well-known Parisian scale-ups, including an e-commerce adventure with Gorgias.

Today, tocco has 9 members in total working from Paris, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Faisalabad, Shenzhen and Singapore. We've created an international team from the outset, and we really want to instil this diversity in the team over the long term. We're particularly proud of the fact that our team is made up of exceptional professionals who are 300% committed to the success of the project, have a wide range of skills and are fluent in several languages.

Which problem does tocco solve for its customers and what’s their biggest pain point?

Many brands struggle to find quality, sustainable materials. The search is long and uncertain, due to the novelty of materials. Although little discussed in the media, this is a daily challenge for tomorrow's companies. Our platform provides a clear and reliable solution to this problem while adding a layer of data critical to the transition. The market is highly fragmented.

On the sell side, suppliers encounter the difficulties of getting into new markets, showcasing their innovations to a larger audience, and hence, business development.

We play the role of market catalyst, matching eco-responsible brands and suppliers of low environmental impact materials. For brands, we simplify the search for materials by connecting them, in the blink of an eye, with certified suppliers through our global network (EU, China, Vietnam, Singapore). We reduce the information gap on these new materials.

What is the core competence or key differentiator of tocco? 

There are 2 assets that we are particularly proud of here at tocco. First of all, our platform is enhanced by artificial intelligence, optimizing every stage of sustainable sourcing, identifying all suppliers before they are listed on the platform, and aggregating all their data.

On the other hand, we have a network connected to every continent, thanks to our international team and investors. This symbiosis gives us an exceptional network for tracking down the world's best suppliers. 

How do customers usually interact with the platform? Do you provide services beyond exploration and sampling?

Brands can register to access the marketplace and order sampling directly from suppliers. Given the complexity of innovative materials, we also offer consulting services in product co-development as well as finding manufacturing partners for smaller brands that don’t possess the production capacity. 

How do you help the suppliers? Are there already any success stories you can share?

Sustainable materials suppliers do not always have the budget for marketing and business development, and tocco’s platform is an affordable and effective way to gain visibility worldwide and receive qualified leads with a monthly subscription.

Take an example of our Korean client in cosmetic packaging design. He was looking for bio-based, biodegradable plastic alternatives in Asia, for both raw materials and manufacturing partners. On tocco’s marketplace, he has screened 50 suppliers and conducted “RFQ” (Request for Quoting) directly on tocco’s platform. In 2 weeks' time, he successfully ordered suitable biodegradable pellets and found a manufacturing plant through our network.  

What are the materials or use cases that get the most attention currently and why? 

At tocco, we have seen recurring requests for plastic alternatives in cosmetic products. There have been signals from the market too. For example, L’Oréal group has announced that by 2025, 100% of their plastic packaging will be refillable, reusable, recyclable or compostable; and by 2030, 100% of the plastic used in their packaging will come from recycled or bio-based sources. This trend is driven by stronger consumer consciousness and EU’s regulation on single-use plastics.

Once a material or a use case for that material hits the mass market, will tocco still be an important partner for both supplier and buyer, or are you exclusively focusing on new things before they see major adoption?

For a B2B marketplace, tocco is more than a database of suppliers but a co-development partner for brands. We can always buy products on local supermarkets but why we continue to use Amazon? It is because of the integrated solutions and frictionless customer service that it provides to buyers. Same for tocco. With upcoming features like certifications, displayed datasheets for 3D designing, comparative analysis on various materials, we provide services to brands that go beyond searching.

How do you see the role of material innovation compared to example behavioral change or other factors in fighting the climate crisis? Which role do politics and regulators play and what is your prediction for the future here?

Material innovation is indeed linked with behavioural changes observed in 

customers. As consumers evolve, brands and retailers adjust their strategies to meet these shifts, often incorporating innovative materials. Concurrently, politics and regulators significantly influence these changes, as they shape the product strategies of brands, particularly in how materials are sourced. Stricter regulations further prompt these entities to adapt swiftly. 

As we look to the future, politics and regulators do play a role in the development of the tocco platform, mostly because they affect the product strategies of our brands and the way they source materials for their different needs. 

What else would you like to tell our readers?

Join tocco in our mission to accelerate the arrival of a regenerative economy! You can visit our website at, and follow our Linkedin page

Written by
Markus Boerner
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