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Conversation
Highlights

 

Welcome to another episode of Category Visionaries — the show that explores GTM stories from tech’s most innovative B2B founders. In today’s episode, we’re speaking with Liz Gilligan, CEO & Founder of Material Evolution, a sustainable cement company that has raised $19 Million in funding.

Here are the most interesting points from our conversation:

  • Cement Chose Liz: Liz transitioned into cement research serendipitously, finding the vast potential impact of decarbonizing an industry responsible for 8% of global emissions.
  • Startup in a Garage: Early on, Material Evolution operated from Liz’s parents’ garage, where they developed two tons of material during the pandemic, showing resourcefulness and resilience.
  • Initial Target Market: The company’s initial customers are concrete manufacturers in the precast industry, which offers a controlled environment to test and refine their sustainable cement.
  • Navigating Traditional Industries: While many traditional cement companies are open to innovation, some resist change. Liz focuses on engaging with forward-thinking clients eager to adopt sustainable solutions.
  • Regulatory Changes: The evolving regulatory landscape, including carbon taxes and updated standards, supports the adoption of new, sustainable materials and technologies.
  • Challenges of Scaling: Building factories presents significant challenges, from securing adequate power supply to navigating environmental regulations. Material Evolution is learning and iterating from each step in this process.

 

Actionable
Takeaways

Leverage Personal Networks and Resourcefulness:

Liz’s journey from a garage-based startup highlights the importance of leveraging personal resources and networks, particularly in the early stages.

Early Market Focus:

Targeting industries with controlled environments, like precast concrete manufacturing, can provide a stable testing ground for innovative technologies before broader market expansion.

Engage with Regulatory Bodies:

Actively participating in regulatory groups can help shape industry standards and facilitate the adoption of new technologies, turning potential barriers into advantages.

Build Strong Investor Relationships:

Seek investors who bring more than just capital. Liz emphasizes the value of investors who offer strategic support and share the company’s vision for long-term success.

Techno-Economic Validation:

Ensure the economic viability of your technology. Liz advises validating your techno-economic model early to avoid costly pivots later in the development process.

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