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Plant Food from Worm Poop

June 30, 2006

vcmike

Waiting to board my plane home from Seattle-Tacoma Airport, I was wandering through the newsstand when an article on the cover of Inc. Magazine caught my eye. “The Coolest Little Start-Up in America: Meet Terracycle, the ultimate growth company. Built on garbage. Run by a kid. Loved by investors.”

How could I resist?

Four dollars and ninety-nine cents (plus tax, I guess) later, I have now read the article.

And, boy, this does sound like a cool little company!

Here is a brief description from the company’s website:

TerraCycle produces a potent, organic, eco-friendly plant food that is the first mass-produced product in the world to be packaged in used plastic soda bottles. To go even further, the entire product is made out of garbage – from the contents to the packaging. As a result, TerraCycle Plant Food is the first mass-produced consumer product to have a negative environmental footprint.

TerraCycle processes organic garbage destined for landfills through a revolutionary process developed by the company’s founders while students at Princeton University. TerraCycle is able to convert all this into organic liquid plant food in only three weeks.

Proven at Rutgers University to outperform the chemical alternatives, TerraCycle Plant Food is more than simply environmentally friendly – TerraCycle’s products are environmentally beneficial, from production to application.

TerraCycle collects its used soda bottles by conducting environmental fundraisers at hundreds of elementary schools across the United States. TerraCycle has also partnered with numerous recycling centers as a source of these used bottles.

TerraCycle Plant Food can be sprayed or misted directly onto houseplants, lawns, and gardens. It is also applied in mass agricultural settings, distributed through the existing irrigation facilities of farms, vineyards, even golf courses and parks.

I am dying to learn more.

Before boarding the plane, I left a voicemail for Tom Czaky, the 24 year old founder and CEO. We’ll keep you posted on this one.

PS: for any of you out there who are VCs, I have dibs!

8 Comments

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  1. June 30, 2006

    Hey Mike – I read the article as well, and was impressed by the concept, though I was a little put off by the founder’s attitude: according to the article, Tom hadn’t printed a copy of his presentation out, nor did he dress the part for a presentation to Home Depot’s buyer, John Fuller: Tom showed up “looking as if he’s just rolled out of bed after a night of heavy partying – rumpled, unshaven, and dressed in jeans, a sports jacket, a shirt with no collar, and a John Deere baseball cap”. Maybe it’s part of his image, but to me it just makes us young entrepreneurs look bad. Some of us 24-year-old CEO’s take personal hygiene seriously. 🙂

  2. July 1, 2006

    I just read your post, and hit the link for TerraCycle. It’s a website for recumbent bike parts and accessories. The website for the Terracycle you are writing about is here: http://www.terracycle.net.

  3. July 3, 2006

    Ryan–yeah, I hear you, although to be honest sometimes I don’t look much better myself so I am not going to judge this book by its cover (at least not yet)

    Constance–thanks for the catch, I’ve fixed the link.

  4. July 7, 2006

    Hey Mike. I had the good fortune of taking part in a startup workshop with Tom a week ago. He is a very impressive guy. He is just the sort of focused and smart entrepreneur that you and I would love to back. Unfortunately, there won’t be any VC financing for Tom in the near future. He just raised a largish angel round and I’m guessing it is the last money he’ll ever raise.

    As for the question of whether Tom is giving young entrepreneurs a bad name, the answer is a resounding no. He is astonishingly polished. In our discussion at the VentureVoice Startup Workshop, Tom talked about preparing for meetings like the Home Depot meeting and he did anything but just roll out of bed. He practiced his pitch dozens of times until it was pitch perfect. Here’s a guy who funded the early stages of his company by entering business plan competitions — I think he said that he entered 6 competitions — he came in 2nd on the first competition he entered and won every one thereafter. Why? I’m guessing there were two reasons. One, his product is really compelling — it is a negative ecological footprint competitor to Miracle Grow that is better for the planet and costs less. Two, he’s a fantastic speaker and treats presentations as conversations, not your typical PowerPoint lecture. I’d bet on Tom in a heart beat. I’m hoping his next company has something to do with technology.

  5. July 9, 2006

    with the Internet, the barriers to entry are NOT very steep for mom and pop home start ups with Worm Poop…….I have Entered into a TEST Worm Poop Farm and we shall see where VOIP and Worm Poop take us!
    skibare

  6. July 13, 2006

    Mike, you might check out the VentureVoice podcast that featured TerraCycle:

    http://www.venturevoice.com/2005/10/vv_show_16_tom_szaky_of_terrac.html

  7. jondo #
    January 2, 2010

    Классные мультфильмы бесплатно на Кинозоуне.

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