In Founder Focus we introduce entrepreneurs and innovators working on our next generation of new business startups, social enterprises and small businesses.
At a glance
Founders: Ben Scales & William Murrell
Can you tell us a bit about your business?
We’ve developed a synthetic composite material akin to fibreglass, but plant based, solving technical and environmental problems faced by every global industry.
Companies in industries such as manufacturing, construction and transport are not satisfied with the performance nor sustainability of existing synthetic composite materials.
Our material has unique properties which solves problems faced by existing synthetic materials, thereby improving companies’ products.
What’s the backstory for your business idea?
We’ve always been fascinated by doing things better, improving things and solving problems. We discovered the natural fibre composites industry in our undergraduate studies, and realised it was starting to emerge in the likes of Formula 1 and Aerospace – key areas of interest for William and I.
Around the same time, we learned about the rich history of the NZ flax (harakeke) industry. We put these ideas together and now we’re revitalising one of Aotearoa’s oldest industries, with a modern twist for an emerging market.
What programmes, learning or mentoring have been of assistance so far?
- Early on, KiwiFibre participated in the University of Canterbury’s Entre 85k challenge, as well as the University’s Summer Startup programme. We participated in the Food, Fibre and Agritech Supernode Challenge, presenting at the annual Boma summit.
- More recently, KiwiFibre joined the Phase One community, started by Mahesh Muralidhar.