May 24, 2011, GREEN ISLAND, NY – Ecovative Design, LLC, the world leader in mycelium-based materials science, today announced that a group including 3M (through its 3M New Ventures business), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and DOEN Foundation has invested in the company. This funding will be used to scale Ecovative’s manufacturing operations and accelerate the development of its revolutionary, grown polymeric materials. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Founded in 2007, Ecovative produces home-compostable and cost-competitive replacements for conventional petrochemical foams using mycelium, or “mushroom roots,” as a self-assembling glue. The company and its co-founders, Eben Bayer (CEO) and Gavin McIntyre (Chief Scientist), have received international acclaim from sustainability organizations, businesses, and governmental agencies for their innovative technologies. Ecovative operates a pilot production facility in upstate New York, and plans to expand to new regional manufacturing facilities in the United States.
Ecovative’s technology has broad applications across a variety of industries including packaging, insulation, building products, automotive, and consumer goods. The company’s Mushroom® packaging, EcoCradle™, is currently used by a number of Fortune 500 clients, including Steelcase Inc. and Dell Inc. EcoCradle™ is a cost-effective replacement for conventional plastic packaging. EcoCradle™ is grown from agricultural by-products using substantially less energy than existing processes. EcoCradle™ offers the performance of traditional foams and is home-compostable, providing a much more environmentally friendly material choice.
In addition to Ecovative’s co-founders, the company’s newly-constituted Board of Directors includes veteran business leaders with experience in plastic foams, building materials, licensing, and manufacturing. New Board members include:
•Jerry L. Weinstein, former President and Chief Executive Officer of foam plastics producer UC Industries Inc. and former President of Owens Corning’s Specialty and Foam Products Division.
•Richard B. Kelson, former Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and General Counsel of metals manufacturer Alcoa Inc.
•Charles B. Deull, Executive Vice President with Clark Transfer, and former Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Scholastic Inc.
“We are thrilled to be bringing together such a great group of shareholders as we continue our mission to be both a triple bottom line business and one of this century’s leaders in sustainable materials,” said Eben Bayer, Chief Executive Officer of Ecovative. “This capital will allow us to expand our own manufacturing operations, while also creating new opportunities for licensing and manufacturing partnerships. We are particularly excited for the opportunity to work with 3M, a leader in innovative materials, and are looking forward to collaborating with their scientists and business units on new applications and in new industries for mycelium-based plastics.”
“Ecovative has the kind of disruptive, breakthrough technology that can be a game changer in various industries including automotive, construction and architecture,” said Stefan Gabriel, President of 3M New Ventures. “We are pleased to be working with Ecovative on the development and deployment of this exciting technology that we believe will enhance 3M’s footprint in sustainable polymer technologies.”
“We have watched Ecovative Design grow from an idea nurtured in the innovation ecosystem that is Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, nurtured in fact in a Rensselaer classroom, and growing into a transformational business, partnering with Fortune 500 companies. We are proud of their success, and proud to be part of it,” said Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., President of Rensselaer. “Ecovative Design’s products and processes clearly demonstrate the economic value of innovative approaches to meeting our world’s energy needs in a more sustainable way. There are no simple solutions to our global energy challenge, but Ecovative certainly is part of the answer.”
“DOEN Foundation is proud to provide Ecovative with the capital to scale up, which will allow more companies to benefit from its sustainable step ahead in the world of packaging,” said Jasper Snoek, CFO of DOEN Foundation. “It’s a pioneering company that fits with the mission of the DOEN Foundation. Ecovative is a revolutionary company, and manages to combine sustainability with a sound business model that could truly transform our world into a more livable place.”
This investment by 3M, Rensselaer, and DOEN is intended to strengthen Ecovative’s research and development capacities and fund additional production facilities.
Founded in 2007, Ecovative Design, LLC is a materials science company developing a new class of home-compostable plastics based on mycelium, an organism akin to a living polymer. Ecovative’s high-performance products serve as environmentally responsible alternatives to traditional foam packaging, insulation, and other plastic-based materials. Ecovative has been recognized with numerous international awards for sustainability and “green” technologies, and was named a Tech Pioneer at the 2011 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Ecovative’s growth has been fueled by grants, prizes, and support from key partners including the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. For more information, visit www.ecovativedesign.com, www.mushroompackaging.com, and follow @ecovative on Twitter.
3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products. Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M is the innovation company that never stops inventing. With $27 billion in sales, 3M employs about 80,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 65 countries. For more information, visit www.3M.com or follow @3MNews on Twitter.
DOEN Foundation was founded in 1991 as the main fund of The Dutch Postcode Lottery (Nationale Postcode Loterij), a charity lottery which enjoys the support of 2.5 million participants and raises more than USD 300 million for some eighty societal organizations such as WWF, Unicef and the Clinton Foundation. DOEN Foundation’s ambition is to help create a more livable world in which everyone can make a contribution. To do this, DOEN promotes sustainable, cultural and socially-minded business pioneers. Moreover, DOEN aims to discover, financially support, connect and inspire these pioneers to create impact.
About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is America’s oldest technological research university. The university offers degrees from five schools; Engineering, Science, Architecture, Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and the Lally School of Management and Technology. The Institute is especially well-known for its success in the transfer of technology from the laboratory to the marketplace so that new discoveries and inventions benefit human life, protect the environment, and strengthen economic development. For more information, visit www.rpi.edu.