Mike Smith from Zero Co: How to Make Friends and Influence Change with | #249

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Mike and Peter share the best way to leverage communities to drive growth.

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Nathan Bush is a director at eCommerce talent agency, eSuite. He has led eCommerce for businesses with revenue $100m+ and has been recognised as one of Australia’s Top 50 People in eCommerce four years in a row. You can contact Nathan on LinkedIn, Twitter or via email.


Mike is an entrepreneur, adventurer and mission-driven founder. Over the past 15 years he’s founded three startups in the surfing, wine and FMCG categories. Mike is infectiously passionate about having a positive impact on the planet and inspiring others to dare greatly. His radically transparent approach to business has driven Zero Co’s success and fostered a passionate, fast-growing community of 70,000+ customers in under two years.

You can contact Mike at LinkedIn

Peter has over ten years’ experience working in marketing and advertising technology in Australia and has held leadership positions at Celtra, Forrester and InMobi. Currently he oversees the revenue expansion team at and is responsible for growing the Partnership Cloud customer footprint across Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.

You can contact Peter on LinkedIn

This week our partner content is brought to you by who transform the way businesses manage and optimize all types of partnerships. In this episode we dive into how to leverage your communities for growth.

Joining Sales Director Peter Bray, is someone who’s been on my conversation wish list for some time – the man behind Zero Co, Founder, Mike Smith.  Zero Co is committed to solving the global single use plastic problem by producing personal care and home cleaning products in forever bottles with reusable refill pouches. They also do a whole lot of clean up work to get rid of plastics already in existence, some of which involves building pyramids in Egypt – more about that later. 

Zero Co have identified some really interesting communities to join them on their mission and with’s help, they’ve been able to grow and scale these partnerships with a winning outcome for everyone.  Today, Mike shares how to leverage communities to drive growth, the relationships Zero Co have built with AirBnB customers schools, investors and the sustainability community, to help them feel connected to the mission and the brand and how, on a recent trip to North Africa, Mike took a brave stand against blackmail, police investigation and something menacingly known as ‘The Pharaoh’s revenge’!  

“From day one, we’ve been building a community. That’s everything we do. How are we gonna inspire people to join us on this mission?

Mike Smith, Zero Co


(Mike) “At the heart of what we’re trying to do is build a people powered solution to the global plastic problem.  That’s why I started this business. That’s the heart and soul of everything we do. It’s my fundamental view that the global waste problem is not gonna be legislated out of existence. Governments are not going to move quick enough to solve this problem. It’s not gonna be big business who comes in and solves a problem because they’ve got a vested interest in not changing the way that things work because they make a lot of money out of the current system.

So it’s been my view from day one that it’s going to be startup founders that can build communities and engage and inspire people from everyday walks of life to make small changes in their daily buying and consumption habits that will add up to a big impact on the planet. 

So from day one, we’ve been building a community.  That’s everything we do. Everything we think about starts with how are we gonna build a community? How are we gonna inspire people to join us on this mission?”


(Peter) “What we do as a technology is just help brands be able to do things like awesome deep community initiatives.  How do they work with affiliates and influencers and content creators in better and different ways? So our mission, our purpose and what we do in our business hasn’t really changed, but the question is around how do we see our customers, how to see brands do things differently? And there’s no one better doing such a broad range of these type initiatives than Zero Co. 

Since June 2021 when Zero Co launched with, they’ve had over 380 new active partners driving acquisition.  The average month for month revenue growth has been 27%. And then the average monthly ROAS is greater than 17%. So from our perspective, when we see a brand that’s been on a great growth trajectory and we’ve been part of that, it’s been over indexing against a lot of the rest of the market, particularly in a growth period, it’s pretty fascinating to see.”


(Mike) “We’ve committed to doing a whole bunch of cleanups every year for the next hundred years. The ultimate ambition is to pull 15 million water bottles worth of rubbish out of the natural environment every year.  So we went over to Egypt and we spent about a month cleaning the Nile. We pulled a million water bottles worth of rubbish, which is just short of 20,000 kilos to give you a bit of weight perspective. 

We built the world’s largest waste pyramid in the middle of the Egyptian desert. It was 10 metres higher, taller than a three story building, and I set up a tent on top of it and camped on top for three days to try and get some global media attention about the global waste problem and to raise some money for the hundred year cleanup.  And so I think we’ve raised about $350,000 now. The goal is to get to a million bucks this year.”

Questions answered in this episode include
  • Where have Zero Co’s biggest challenges been in 2022?
  • What are some of the initiatives have helped Zero Co with?
  • Which community does Zero Co want to engage next?

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