We tracked down Gareth Robert, one of the founders of Cambond. This venture came in 3rd in 2014’s European Final. A lot has happened since then, Cambond is aiming to sell their first products by the end of May 2015. We interviewed him about his winning idea and what has been going on since that festive final.
What is the shortest pitch you can give about Cambond?
‘Cambond has developed a low carbon, formaldehyde free industrial adhesive based on biomass. Adhesives are used to make wood panels (plywood, MDF etcetera, a $500Bn a year industry). Adhesives alone are a $30Bn a year business.’
What is going on with your start-up right now?
‘We’ve worked hard to set up a Joint Venture with a construction company in Changzhou China. This has raised £1.5Mn in finance. We now have a manufacturing facility Xiaobin Zhao in China and are now finalising the production line. We aim to start manufacturing adhesive resin for sale by the end of May 2015. We have identified several of the largest wood panel product manufactures in China and are in discussions to supply them with ‘green’ adhesive. We’ve also identified a distribution partner to sell the adhesive across China. In the UK we have a development agreement with a large manufacturer and have just started development trial in the EEC.’
You entered the Climate-KIC Accelerator programme, what can you tell us about that?
‘We are pushing hard through Stage 2 to sharpen our business model, develop marketing materials and identify key customers. We need to look like a real company when we talk to other business partners.’
What was it like to participate in ClimateLaunchpad?
‘The competition helped us refine and focus our business idea. The materials we produced have been used dozens of times at meetings with potential investors and business partners. We are looking to collaborate with some of the other companies we met during ClimateLaunchpad. We also became aware of many other technologies and approaches. All in all, it was quite an education!’
Why should others join our competition?
‘It helps give your idea a reality test early on. You need to establish your idea is practical and credible as early as possible. Competition with others helps you do this in an efficient way.’