( Courtesy Western Growers/S2G Ventures )

A company that can take waste and turn it into resins that can be used to make biodegradable polymers earned $500,000 in seed funding at the Western Growers 2019 AgSharks Competition.

Mobius pbc, Lenoir City, Tenn., received the funding from S2G Ventures after pitching its plan to turn waste into usable products that are biodegradable at the AgSharks competition Nov. 12.

The company’s first product takes lignin, a byproduct from paper and biofuel industries. Mobius makes a polymer from the lignin which are turned into plantable nursery containers and plastic mulch films that naturally biodegrade, according to a news release.

Future plans include making polymers from food waste.

 “Improving and maintaining the sustainability of our food system is critical for the future of agriculture and requires innovations focused on everything from the 260 billion tons of unavoidable organic food waste produced each year to the half-million tons of single-use plastics used on the farm for things such as mulch film and seed coatings,” Tony Bova, CEO and co-founder, said in the release.

“The direct connection with the front lines of the food system sustainability challenge — our growers — will be invaluable as we push for a circular economy in agriculture and pursue our mission to create a world where ‘There's Wonder in Waste,’” he said in the release.

Mobius and four other companies pitched their ideas at the competition.

“Mobius’ promising technology will play a role in sustaining agriculture, as well as aiding the industry in taking a great leap forward in food production,” Tom Nassif, president and CEO of Western Growers, said in the release.

The panel of judges for the competition were:

  • Chuck Templeton, managing director at S2G Ventures;
  • Neill Callis, general manager at Turlock Fruit Co. Inc.;
  • Audre Kapacinskas, vice president at S2G Ventures;
  • Frank Maconachy, president and CEO of Ramsay Highlander Inc.;
  • Aiden Mouat, CEO and co-founder of Hazel Technologies;
  • Craig Reade, a partner at Bonipak Produce; and
  • Matthew Walker, managing director at S2G Ventures.

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