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Startup Develops Eco-Friendly Material to Replace Wood and Plastic

By Mike Hower

Australian-based materials company Zeoform claims to have developed a new material made of cellulose fiber and water, which has the potential to replace plastic and wood in a variety of applications.

The company says the 100 percent non-toxic material has the beauty of wood, the strength of fiberglass and the versatility of plastic.

On October 11, Zeoform launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $10 million in 30 days. The company says it plans to promote its campaign later this month at the LA Green Festival. Raising such a hefty sum in such little time is not unheard of – both MIT’s Form1 3D Printer raised $3 million and the Pebble Watch raised $10 million in 30 days.

Zeoform says it plans to use the funds to construct a "Center of Excellence" educational facility and R&D factory – scheduled for completion in 2014.

The company turned to crowdfunding rather than traditional venture capital because it plans to open source the material and the knowledge, so that the technology is proliferated quicker.

“We thought, we want this technology to be embraced by everyone, so what better way to get money to build a factory than to get funds donated by everyone,” Emma Evans, product development manager for Zeoform recently told Sustainable Brands. “This way, we get to tell everyone about Zeoform, and it makes huge business sense to us as well because we get forward orders for our factory; we’re building a market already and have a massive fan base of people who want Zeoform.”

The campaign, hosted on Indiegogo, runs October 11 through November 10.

Crowdfunding innovation has become increasingly more common in recent years. Another Australian start-up called Who Gives a Crap? successfully tapped crowdfunding to raise $50,000 in less than 50 hours to produce the first order of its eco-friendly toilet paper. Fair trade and organic fashion company INDIGENOUS recently launched an Indiegogo campaign to crowdsource funds to increase access to its Fair Trace Tool and fund social impact research with artisans and farmers to bring the story of fair trade and supply chain transparency to the consumer at the point of purchase.

Based in San Francisco, Mike Hower is a writer, thinker and strategic communicator that revels in driving the conversation at the intersection of sustainability, tech, politics and law. He has cultivated diverse experience working for the United States Congress in Washington, D.C., helping Silicon Valley startups with public relations campaigns and teaching in South America. Mike also regularly writes for Sustainable Brands and would like to add that he is hopelessly addicted to travel and has a borderline unhealthy obsession with his golden retriever, Gerico. Connect with him on LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter (@mikehower).

Mike Hower headshot

Currently based in Washington, D.C, <strong>Mike Hower</strong> is a new media journalist and strategic communication professional focused on helping to drive the conversation at the intersection of sustainable business and public policy. To learn more about Mike, visit his blog,<a href="http://climatalk.com/&quot; > ClimaTalk</a>.

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