Miki Agrawal, the founder and chief creative officer at Thinx, sees personal hygiene in no uncertain terms: "It's ridiculous that Americans are using paper to smear poop up their butt," she says. "Do you really want to kill 50 million trees to give yourself chronic hemorrhoids?"

To be sure, Agrawal is best known for her signature line of underwear, called Thinx, which are billed as an eco-friendly alternative to pads and tampons. The company has seen considerable success, booking tens of millions of sales since launching three years ago. These days, however, Agrawal is moving forward by looking slightly farther back.

Tushy, a company that makes bidet attachments for toilet bowls, announced on Thursday that it secured $500,000 in seed funding. The round was led by Propulsion Capital, a San Diego, California venture capital firm, and includes investment from angels such as Neil Parikh and Luke Sherwin, co-founders of mattress tech startup Casper.

"Miki generates incredible creative energy and a strong passion for breaking taboos and changing culture through storytelling," said Tikhon Bernstam, an investor with Propulsion, of his decision to invest in Tushy.

For the uninitiated, a bidet is an alternative to toilet paper. It sprays a steady stream of water to rinse the user after he or she uses the toilet. The way Agrawal sees it, doing away with toilet paper has both environmental and health benefits. Consider that nearly 6 million tons of toilet paper, tissues and other sanitary products are produced in the U.S. annually, according to the American Forest and Paper Association. Toilet paper alone decimates nearly 27,000 trees a day, and the city of New York has spent more than $18 million over the last several years on unclogging wet wipes from the sewer system, according to a New York Times report. Meanwhile, health experts have pointed out that toilet paper can cause everything from micro-cuts to bacterial infections and even lesions. (That's certainly one argument for shelling out $69 or more for a Tushy bidet.)

Agrawal officially launched Tushy in 2015, and claims that in the first year of business, it saw around one and a half times as much in revenue as Thinx. More recently, in January of last year, Agrawal hired Monica Pereira to serve as Tushy's CEO and CMO. These days, Agrawal takes more of a backseat role.

"Millennials are more thoughtful than previous generations about what we're doing for our planet," the entrepreneur says of her success thus far.

Still, it's worth noting that Agrawal initially said she was hoping to raise $1 million in seed funding. That Tushy was only able to secure $500,000 suggests that would-be investors were skeptical of the product--or the business more generally. "We became profitable in December so wanted to close it at this valuation," Agrawal responded.

It remains to be seen whether people will have as much interest in their backsides as they do their underwear.

Published on: Mar 9, 2017