The following was provided while participating in the 2023 Destination Startup® Showcase.
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What We Do
Prometheus Materials develops, manufactures and licenses the use of microalgae to reduce and eliminate CO2 from concrete building materials.
Affiliated Institution: University of Colorado Boulder
Have we formed a company? Yes
Funding: Venture Capital
Our Company and the Problem We Are Trying To Solve
The construction industry as we know it is unsustainable. Traditional cement and concrete production pumps 11 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every day. This, and other carbon-intensive processes involved in the production and transportation of portland cement are responsible for 8% of the world’s total annual CO2 emissions. Prometheus Materials has developed a microalgae-based, ultra-low carbon material as an alternative to traditional portland cement-based concrete. By using natural microalgae already found in nature, the team uses a photosynthetic biocementation process to combine the microalgae with water, sunlight, and CO2, creating a bio-cement similar to the material that coral uses to build reefs and oysters use to generate their shells. When mixed with aggregate, this bio-cement creates an ultra-low building material with mechanical, physical, and thermal properties comparable or, in some cases, superior to portland cement-based concrete. The new material completely circumvents the carbon-intensive processes involved in the production and transportation of the 4 billion tons of portland cement made each year. The company’s rapid, scalable process enables the commercial production of bio-concrete building materials – which not only decarbonize construction, but could also one day mitigate climate change by sequestering carbon in buildings. Currently in research and development, this innovative technology (patent pending) is slated to undergo ASTM testing and move into full-scale production by Q1 2023.
Our Go-to-Market Strategy
Prometheus Materials will go to market with ultra-low carbon bio-concrete masonry units (bio-CMUs). These are alternatives to a widely used standard building material. There are hundreds of billions of these produced and sold world-wide on an annual basis. We will produce these blocks at our pilot facility in Longmont, Colorado. We will then open a larger production plant in Colorado followed by geographically dispersed production in North America. We will initially market for internal, non-structural applications followed by internal structural and then exterior applications. We are focused on the demand side. Our initial customers will be AEC firms, owners and builders who specify low-carbon building materials. Once established in buildings, we will then begin a licensing model. Prometheus will produce the bio-cement and license the use and production of bio-concrete products to producers and distributors of concrete and prefabricated concrete products world-wide.
How We Will Generate Revenue
Initially, our go-to-market strategy will generate revenue from B2B direct sales of ultra-low carbon bio-CMUs to builders. Sales will begin once the certification testing process is completed. Subsequently, Prometheus Materials will begin licensing its bio-concrete technology to manufacturers and distributors of concrete and prefabricated concrete products worldwide. Initially, Prometheus will produce and ship its just-add-water bio-cement for license to the concrete industry. Subsequently, the production of bio-cement may also be licensed. Revenues from licensing will be determined on a case-by-case negotiated basis.
How We Will Benefit From Destination Startup®
Prometheus Materials is currently expanding its ecosystem to connect with influential VCs in the sustainability space. Our goal for Series B is to raise an amount to be determined, with a closing in late 2023 or H1 2024. Proceeds from Series B will be used for expansion of production and distribution capabilities world-wide. Our successful Series A initiative was marked by prominent strategic partners, Microsoft, leading architecture firm, Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (SOM), Sofinnova Partners, GAF, and Autodesk Foundation. Over the next quarter we will be adding team members in manufacturing, biotechnology, marketing, business development, product management, and finance to position us for a successful 2023 and beyond. We’re also building a robust ecosystem of strategic partners that includes sustainability thought-leaders, investors, corporations, mentors, subject matter experts, influencers, colleagues, and customers.
Our executive team brings highly specialized talent to the organization to ensure long-term success. President, CEO, and co-founder, Loren Burnett, is a serial entrepreneur and founder of six tech companies, four of which were based on tech transfer agreements. Loren has five exits generating $375M in shareholder gains, raised $190M in funding, led 17 M&A transactions and one IPO filing. Lara Darvie, Head of Marketing & Communications is an entrepreneur and start-up executive with a broad range of expertise across a variety of industries. She has built global brands through the execution of large-scale campaigns and events. Lara holds a master’s degree in corporate and public communication. Vaughn Bigelow, VP of Manufacturing, has over 25 years of experience in manufacturing and construction with both startup and large corporation experience including modular, scaled supply to OEM customers. Vaughn promotes safety, quality, and efficiency in production environments and has been named on a number of utility and design US patents. Director of Biotechnology, Stephen Bell, Ph.D. specializes in natural product biosynthesis and synthetic biology approaches for producing valuable chemical compounds. Before joining the Prometheus Materials team, Stephen worked in the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries. Dr. Linfei Li, Ph.D., Director of Product Development, specializes in the long-term performance and durability of cement-based construction materials. He received his Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering and worked as a postdoc research associate before joining the company. He has published 10+ peer-reviewed research articles in the area of cement-based construction materials.