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: Douglas Sturrock & Alice Hosted
Can you tell us a bit about your business?
We develop building materials that have social and environmental impact. Our product GEOBIND is a blended mineral based geopolymer binder that when mixed with hemp hurd as a bio aggregate creates a carbon neutral construction material, the properties of which also result in a warm and dry living environment, reduced waste to landfill (both during construction and at end of life) and use of a by product (being hemp hurd) from the hemp growing industry.
Rigorous testing through Callaghan Innovation has confirmed that when mixed with hemp hurd, GEOBIND excels in both strength and durability when compared to similar products.
GEOBIND is now available for hand placed application, further R&D is currently underway to develop GEOBIND additional value added products such as bricks, blocks and panels.
What’s the backstory for your business idea?
The idea for the business formed during COVID-19 lock down, driven by the need for the building industry to meet Government legislation to reduce carbon emissions and discovered hempcrete was being used widely through Europe and to an extent in Australia typically using a lime binder and hemp hurd mix. Hemp hurd had recently become available in New Zealand, but no binder was available in New Zealand. The cost of importing existing binders (from Europe and Australia) was cost prohibitive.
With a bit of a nudge from Northland Inc. the journey to develop a New Zealand made binder with the help of Callaghan Innovation started. Through many pivots and a lot of perseverance we now have GEOBIND which is outperforming the other available binders in the international market and has multiple application opportunities, and an array of value propositions that make it unique to the market.
What programmes, learning or mentoring have been of assistance so far?
- Funding and guidance from Akina Foundation to understand the impact of our product, and help get investment ready
- Business and commercialisation development advice from Get Better Problems
- Mentoring and Coaching through Creative HQ Impact Accelerator programme
- Support from NZTE (New Zealand Trade and Enterprise)
- Funding from Callaghan Innovation (Project Grant)