Small Business Administration Awards Tibbetts for Best SBIR

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has selected Ecovative as a 2013 recipient of the Tibbetts Award for excellence in Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR). Ecovative’s Chief Scientist, Gavin McIntyre, accepted the award in a ceremony at the White House on Thursday, May 16.

According to the SBA, a study conducted by R&D Magazine between 2002 and 2006 concluded that 25 percent of the annual Top 100 Innovations came from companies that had received SBIR funding. In 2008, Ecovative received its first SBIR grant. Over the past five years, the company has achieved extensive progress toward the development of cost competitive and environmentally preferable biomaterials. In these efforts and accomplishments, the company has been supported by diverse forms of private and commercial funding, including five SBIR grants, three of which led to Phase II programs. Partnerships have included government agencies, academic institutions, and commercial representatives. Ecovative attributes its past successes and future opportunities to the many strategic decisions that have moved forward under a common, strongly supported mission to produce material products that offer safer, higher performing, and economically competitive choices.

The Tibbetts Award honors companies and individuals who demonstrate top quality performance in high technology research and deliver progress. Roland Tibbetts, founder of the SBIR program, joined SBA Administrator Karen Mills and Senator Mary Landrieu, Chair of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee in presenting 18 company awards and 3 individual awards for the 2013 event. After five years of research in the SBIR program, Ecovative is proud to join the SBA and the other award recipients in receiving this honor.

From The New Yorker: Form and Fungus by Ian Frazier

Ecovative’s past and future have been featured in The New Yorker’s May 20 innovation issue. Writer Ian Frazier conducted extensive interviews and research with our team members and supporters to understand and present the roots of our growth and the principles of Ecovative’s culture and focus. Frazier’s writing presents one of the best and most comprehensive written accounts of Ecovative to date.

New Yorker cover May 20, 2013The print edition will hit newsstands this week and access is available online for subscribers. Be sure to get your copy and share with friends or family.

Here’s a sneak preview:

Gavin McIntyre, the co-inventor of a process that grows all-natural substitutes for plastic from the tissue of mushrooms, holds a pen or pencil in an unusual way. Gripping it between two fingers of his right hand, he moves his arm across the paper so that his wrist grazes the inscribed line; because of this, he uses pens with ink that doesn’t smear. When he draws an explanatory diagram of the chitin molecule–chitin is the principal component of mycelium, the white, rootlike vegetative structure of fungi–he bends over his work, then looks up earnestly to see if his hearer has understood. The gesture makes him appear younger than his age, which is twenty-eight. He wears glasses and has straight black hair, dark eyes, and several piercings, with studs in his lip and ears.

The other co-inventor, Eben Bayer, won’t be twenty-eight until June. Bayer is almost six-five, and often assumes the benign expression of a large and friendly older brother. His hair is brown, short, and spiky, his face is long, and his self-effacing manner hides the grand ambitions that people who come from small towns (Bayer grew up in South Royalton, in central Vermont) sometimes have. When he says, of the company that he and McIntyre founded, “We want to be the Dow or DuPont of this century,” he is serious. He is their company’s C.E.O., McIntyre its Chief Scientist. People with money and influence have bet that they will succeed.

Ecovative Wins EPA Grant

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Ecovative has been awarded a Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency. This grant funds the development of Myco-material alternatives to plastics such as polyurethane and exotic woods like balsa. Ecovative will be exploring new fungal species and growth methods, and studying the resulting material properties. This research could lead to new material innovations that could have wide ranging applications from consumer products to aerospace.

The EPA has been a great supporter of Ecovative’s development, and has previously provided grants that lead to the commercialization of Mushroom® Packaging. If you want to know the history, check out this link the EPA SBIR program put together: http://epa.gov/ncer/multimedia/videos/sbir/ecovative.html

Announcing the Mushroom Tiny House

Announcing a bold new project: www.mushroomtinyhouse.com

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We’re not just building a tiny house, we’re growing it. That’s right, the Mushroom Insulation in the walls is literally alive and growing. This is a radical test of Ecovative’s building materials that are under development.

We’ve been selling Mushroom Materials for a few years as protective packaging, helping big companies replace thousands of Styrofoam (EPS), EPE and other plastic foam packaging parts. We’re now working to develop new products for building materials. This is an exciting, radical and innovative approach to try a bunch of ideas, learn a lot, and grow something really awesome.

Updates will be coming about every two days until the house is unveiled in late June. Keep checking www.mushroomtinyhouse.com for updates and to watch it grow!

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Sealed Air and Ecovative Expand Relationship to Produce, Sell and Distribute Mushroom Packaging in Europe

ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. and GREEN ISLAND, N.Y., May 3, 2013  – Sealed Air Corporation (NYSE: SEE) and Ecovative Design LLC completed an agreement to expand their existing relationship in order to continue to accelerate the production, sales and distribution of Ecovative’s Mushroom® Packaging in Europe. Sealed Air plans to begin offering the products in Europe immediately.

Last year the two companies announced Sealed Air as the exclusive licensee for protective packaging in North America for Mushroom® Packaging, a new technology for rapidly renewable and environmentally responsible packaging materials made from agricultural byproducts and mycelium, or mushroom roots. In October 2012, Sealed Air launched Restore™ Mushroom® Packaging, its first commercialized product using Ecovative’s biomaterial technology.

“The agreement builds upon our successful, ground breaking relationship with Sealed Air and continues the overall momentum for providing an innovative and effective alternative to petrochemical based packaging on a much larger scale,” said Eben Bayer, CEO of Ecovative. “We are confident that we can extend this momentum into the European marketplace.”

“Ecovative has had a great deal of success using the unique properties of mycelium for protective packaging. We are looking forward to meeting the performance needs of potential European customers through a variety of packaging applications using this technology,” said Ryan Flanagan, President of Sealed Air’s Protective Packaging business.  “Through our SmartLife™ commitment, we are reducing waste throughout the supply chain and helping our customers achieve their sustainability objectives by choosing the right solutions for the right needs, without sacrificing performance or cost competitiveness.”

Details of the transaction were not disclosed.  Sealed Air does not expect the transaction to be material to its consolidated financial position or results of operations.

About Sealed Air
Sealed Air is a global leader in food safety and security, facility hygiene and product protection. With widely recognized and inventive brands such as Bubble Wrap® brand cushioning, Cryovac® brand food packaging solutions and DiverseyTM brand cleaning and hygiene solutions, Sealed Air offers efficient and sustainable solutions that create business value for customers, enhance the quality of life for consumers and provide a cleaner and healthier environment for future generations. Sealed Air generated revenue of approximately $7.6 billion in 2012, and has approximately 25,000 employees who serve customers in 175 countries. To learn more, visit www.sealedair.com.

About Ecovative
Founded in 2007, Ecovative is a materials science company developing a new class of home-compostable bioplastics 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 was incubated at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Rensselaer, together with 3M Company and the DOEN Foundation, are significant investors in Ecovative. 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, and follow @ecovative on Twitter.

Forward-Looking Statements

Company statements in this press release may be forward-looking.  These statements include comments as to future events that may affect the Company, which are based upon management’s current expectations and are subject to uncertainties, many of which are outside the Company’s control.  Forward-looking statements can be identified by such words as “anticipates,” “expects,” “will” and similar expressions. A variety of factors may cause actual results to differ materially from these expectations, including:  economic conditions affecting packaging utilization; changes in raw material costs; currency translation effects; and legal proceedings. For more extensive information, see “Risk Factors” and “Cautionary Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements,” which appear in Sealed Air’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and as may be revised and updated by Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K.

Media Contacts:

Ken Aurichio                                                  Sam Harrington

Sealed Air Corporation                                   Ecovative

(201) 791-7600                                               (518) 273-3753 ext. 1004

Ken.aurichio@sealedair.com                           sam@ecovativedesign.com