Imagine if you could take recycled bottles and turn them into flooring, countertops and even outdoor casual furniture. Well you don’t have to imagine it anymore because Mark Wassenaar and his startup Virtuous Products Inc, have created it. Well at least the business plan for it.
The material called Sedonite uses recycled glass with the strength and look of resin or cement based products at a fraction of the cost, and much greener.
“We were impressed by all the entrepreneurs who took part in this competition,” Todd Napier, executive vice president of The Development Corporation of Knox County and co-presenter of the program with the Knoxville Chamber and Tech20/20 said. “Virtuous Products shows an enormous amount of promise and the judges indicated they expect big things from the start-up in the years to come.”
The Knoxville Chamber Business Plan Competition actually started back in April. That’s when Wassenaar submitted his original business plan. He was able to survive four rounds of judging which included written summaries and in person proof of concept presentations.
As the winner of the competition Virtuous Products wins:
- $10,000 grant for start-up costs
- $15,000 potential investment: Tech 20/20 Venture Start-up Fund
- One-year’s rent at the Fairview Technology Center
- Accounting services provided by Rodefer Moss & Company
- Business coaching provided by CEO Advisors
- IT Hosting/Services by The IT Company & Digital Crossing Networks
- Legal Services by Kathleen Zitzman
- Chamber membership by the Knoxville Chamber
- Business coaching by Tech 20/20
Wassenaar has plans to use the prize money to purchase a glass crusher, which will allow him to take recycled beer bottles and smash them into a sand-like consistency. From there, his company takes the material and can put it into a molding with a proprietary bonding agent that creates a faux stone surface that is as strong and less expensive than most competitors on the market today.
“I’ve been in manufacturing my whole life. I try to get out but it just keeps coming back because there is so much creativity involved. I literally lie awake at night thinking of new ideas,” Mark Wassenaar, the founder and CEO of Virtuous Products said. “This competition, even if I didn’t win, it would have been an unbelievable opportunity because the competition really helped me along the way.”