founder

Hempitecture Founder Mattie Mead on Building a Sustainable Future

Introduction

Quality housing insulation is crucial to keep homes warm and cool and to regulate humidity. The most commonly used insulation material in the US is fiberglass, which is harmful to both people and the environment. Some popular alternatives, including rockwool and cellulose, aren’t much better.

Using building materials based on the hemp plant, Hempitecture offers a safe and environmentally friendly solution. The company currently sells its own hemp-based concrete and is developing a hemp insulation material called HempWool. We reached out to founder and CEO Matthew “Mattie” Mead to learn more about Hempitecture’s passion for the environment and how the founders joined forces.

Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

In your own words, how would you describe your company?

Mattie Mead

Hempitecture is a sustainable materials company. We are focused on the building materials sector because our built environment is responsible for nearly 40% of our carbon footprint and 40% of our energy consumption in the US. High-performing, sustainable, healthy materials are a solution to this problem.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

What inspired you to take the leap and start this company?

Mattie Mead

Hempitecture was initially founded out of a thesis study while I was an undergraduate student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. While studying architecture and environmental sciences, I looked at ways we could make our built environment more sustainable and healthy. My research led me to the applicability of earthen and plant-based building materials. From this concept, Hempitecture was created. Hempitecture was formally incorporated in 2018, four years after the initial thesis study. In between the original founding of the concept and the formal incorporation, I worked in architecture and hands-on custom construction and built a number of unique earthen buildings using hemp as a building material.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

Who is on your team and how did you come together?

Mattie Mead

In 2018, when Hempitecture became an incorporated public benefit corporation, I brought on my highschool classmate, Tommy Gibbons, as a co-founder. We bring different backgrounds and skill sets to the table as a co-founding team, ultimately coming together after Tommy was gaining interest in the building industry and attending conferences on home construction. The topic of sustainable hemp-based materials came up at one of these conferences, and Tommy noticed how the attendees were enamored with the concept. He was aware that I was working on launching Hempitecture, and we came together to add our complementary skill sets and forward the concept of the company.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

How is Hempitecture transforming the building materials industry?

Mattie Mead

Hempitecture is transforming the building materials industry by providing products that are the first of their kind in the United States. Our plant-based building material approach is resulting in products that compare to conventional building materials in their performance attributes while also resulting in end products that are highly sustainable, non-toxic, and healthy.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

What does the competitive landscape look like, and how do you differentiate?

Mattie Mead

The building materials landscape is crowded and is primarily occupied by multinational players who have entrenched interests in perpetuating outdated, unsustainable products. While these players put twists on their existing products to make them more sustainable as an appeal to changing consumer sentiments, Hempitecture’s offerings are truly sustainable. We don’t need to greenwash our products, as sustainability is at the core of our business model.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

How do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?

Mattie Mead

We will be using the proceeds from our round primarily for commissioning a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Jerome, Idaho. Additionally, we will use the remaining proceeds to accelerate marketing, expand headcount, and apply toward growth.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?

Mattie Mead

Hempitecture has worked to create a transparent and open process by listing our business on Wefunder for our seed round. Here, you can see the financial inner workings of our business and our strategy for moving forward. Hempitecture is dedicated to growing the market share of sustainable building materials, and we look forward to providing value to our investors, who have given us their vote of confidence at this early stage in our business.

Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? Have you set any future goals for the company?

Mattie Mead

Hempitecture believes that there is an active acquisition landscape that would benefit Hempitecture and our investors in the future by way of direct acquisition. Alternatively, an initial public offering could be a different avenue to pursue for an exit. With that being said, we have no interest in exiting at this time and will strive to make Hempitecture a household name when it comes to building materials in the United States.

We look forward to seeing where Mattie and his team take the company. Hempitecture is currently raising on Wefunder.

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About: Léa Bouhelier-Gautreau

Léa is passionate about impact investing and sustainability. Prior to KingsCrowd, she worked for Stanford’s accelerator, StartX, helping to select the most promising entrepreneurs. She also led the first award-winning study on the Malawian startup ecosystem. In her free-time, she volunteers to help entrepreneurs in Cameroon, Brazil and Colombia. Léa holds a degree in Anthropology from France and is currently enrolled in the UC Davis MBA program.

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