Toby Reid, Solegear Bioplastics | BCBusinessSolegear founder and CEO Toby Reid champions sustainability with compostable bioplastics.
Solegear Bioplastics Inc.’s star is rising. The developer, manufacturer and distributor of non-toxic, bio-based and compostable plastics has recently closed financing with clean-tech investor Yaletown Venture Partners Inc. and landed a strategic investment from Best Buy Capital (the investment arm of NYSE-listed Best Buy Co. Ltd.). It counts five global brands as clients, including key players in the electronics, cosmetics, toy and IT industries. Not too shabby for a Vancouver-based startup with a dozen employees.
Solegear’s Polysole resin is designed to biodegrade, turning into H20, CO2 and soil within one year in an industrial composter. Solegear’s business model is a rare combination of scientific readiness and refined market-development skills: it works with partners, using their equipment and facilities instead of building its own, cutting costs and allowing it to sell its products at competitive prices compared to the petroleum-based incumbents.
Solegear is still an early-stage company. Its 2012 revenues were nominal as it continued to refine its product, supply chain and market support. This year, with product commercialization in full force, founder and CEO Toby Reid is forecasting revenues approaching $6 million or $7 million.
“Not very many startups get to go elephant hunting out of the gate,” says Reid. “We’ve been fortunate that with our team, technology, business model and our sales approach, we’ve been able to do business with Fortune 1000 companies.”