Each month as part of StartHub's Startups to Watch Program we connect with the winning company to learn more about them. Our December Startup to Watch is Magnomer, a Boston-based startup that designs plastic packaging for recycling. Recently we had the pleasure of interviewing Ravish Majithia, CEO of Magonomer. Here’s what we learned:
Tell us about your company. What is Magnomer?
Magnomer is a packaging design solution to the problem of low bottle recyclability. Currently, only about 2% of all collected PET bottles are recycled back into bottles. The major problem is contamination from labels. Bottle labels are made from a different plastic resin requiring removal by recyclers. This removal process is currently very inefficient and uneconomical.
Magnomer introduces a Design2Recycle™: Magnetizable coatings that enable bottle recyclability. Our magnetizable coatings enable easy and efficient separation of labels from PET bottles by use of commonly available magnetic separation equipment in recycling facilities. Our coatings complement or substitute ink currently used during label printing requiring no operational changes to the bottle manufacturing process. Magnomer’s magnetizable coatings are a design tool for plastic packaging enabling environmental sustainability without supply chain disruptions.
What is your background?
I got my Ph.D. in Materials Science with specialization in nanomaterials from Texas A&M University. My technical contributions in the area of functional nanomaterials have been published in leading scientific journals, and I have authored ten scholarly peer-reviewed research papers which have been cited over 200 times.
Before Magnomer, I worked at Intel’s R&D fab in Hillsboro, OR for almost 4 years where I was overseeing Intel’s chip manufacturing process development in a lithography module.
I’m also a Babson Fellow and have an MBA from Babson College. I was recently named one of the top 100 MBA’s in 2018 by Poets and Quants and was awarded the prestigious Sorenson Merit Award by Babson College for my work on Magnomer.
How did you come up with the idea for Magnomer? Who is your target customer?
As a conscious consumer, it bothered me that we as a community discard perfectly recyclable packaging into the bin with very little to show for it. Quick research showed that the largest bottleneck is lack of ability to segregate packaging to ensure high-quality recycling. Concurrently, it occurred to me that our packaging is not designed to be recycled. The idea of incorporating a design element which enables segregation of packaging, and thereby leads to higher recyclability seemed feasible. As a trained materials scientist, magnetizable coatings seemed like a viable choice.
Our target customers are bottle label manufacturers and printers. These businesses seek solutions for recyclable packaging in response to demands by consumer brands.
How do you think Magnomer is going to disrupt the market? What are the main differentiators between you and your competitors?
Our biggest advantage is a novel design concept that delivers a needed feature (recyclability) without disruption of the supply chain. Often, brand new packaging ideas deliver environmental advantages, but require wholesale changes to the way waste is processed or collected.
We hang our hat on the fact that our solution syncs with current market and infrastructure realities. Our solution does not require operational changes in the manufacturing of bottles nor does it require changes at the recycler’s end. There is an economic incentive for all stakeholders in the value chain leading to environmental benefit for the community.
Who are your main investors?
Why did you decide to start your business in Boston? How long has your company been around?
Our Boston roots are traceable to Babson College. The concept behind Magnomer was fostered in Babson’s entrepreneurial ecosystem with the help of multiple faculty members and alumni.
What resources in the startup community have contributed to the success of Magonomer?
How do you use StartHub professionally?
We use StartHub to find interesting startup events in the Boston area!
What are the next steps for Magnomer?
Commercial pilot trials with customers are in the cards! We also have a promising product development pipeline for different packaging applications.
What is the most important thing our readers should know about Magnomer?
We are a team committed to making a difference! But we can’t do it alone. If readers like what we are doing and want to get involved – write to us. Contact details on www.magnomer.com.
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