Early Stage

Converting Waste Streams into Value

Converting Waste Streams into Value


Raised to Date: Raised: $529,535

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Bolingbrook, Illinois

Business Type


Mycocycle, with a pre-money valuation of $7 million, is raising funds on StartEngine. The company uses a patent-pending technology based on mycelium, the underground part of mushrooms, to digest petroleum-based toxic chemicals, and convert waste into reusable byproducts. Joanne Rodriguez founded Mycocycle in June 2020. The current crowdfunding campaign has a minimum raise of $9,999.50 and a maximum raise of $945,455, and the proceeds will be used to treat more waste and grow aggressively. Mycocycle develops sustainable value streams and impacts people, planet, and profit by removing carbon from the waste products. The process is efficient and follows a closed-loop supply chain.

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Financials as of: 11/30/2020
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Over the past century, global waste generation has ballooned from less than one million tons a day to over five and a half million tons a day. In part this is due to population growth. However — particularly among developed nations like the United States — it is also due to the emergence of a “throwaway society.” Goods are manufactured to be disposable, even single-use, and thrown out on a regular basis. This is called “planned obsolescence,” and it provides manufacturers with reliable consumers. Simply put: rather than selling a sturdy, expensive table that could last for decades, manufacturers craft low cost, flimsy tables that will break within years, drawing the consumer back to the market for more.

The system has its upsides. Disposable utensils, clothes, and other goods reduce maintenance for consumers, saving them time and energy. The system has also been a massive boon for American manufacturing, providing a steady stream of return customers. Products of this system also have the benefit of being more sanitary than previous re-usable products, a particularly pressing concern in a pandemic-stricken world. In short, throwaway society is here to stay, at least for now.

Nonetheless, the world’s waste production continues to skyrocket, and landfills are reaching capacity. Plastic is a particular problem. Made from petroleum or natural gas, it takes forever to break down, and it is being manufactured in ever-increasing quantities. Quantities of municipal solid waste (MSW) overall continue to grow and could lead to the U.S.’s landfills being full up within the next two decades. While recycling of certain goods is increasing, waste generation remains a significant drain on resources and emits high quantities of greenhouse gases.

A possible solution to this imminent, if unheralded, crisis is offered by Mycocycle. This startup is employing cultivated fungi — mushrooms — to break down toxic petroleum-based waste from landfills and convert it into usable materials that can replace the very plastics it was broken down from. For a waste management industry nearing capacity and desperately seeking solutions, Mycocycle might just have an answer worth investing in.

Mycocycle’s current StartEngine raise has been rated a Neutral Deal by the KingsCrowd investment team.

Next Section: Price


Mycocycle’s StartEngine raise has a pre-money valuation cap of $7 million. The company is still in the early pre-revenue stage. However, it has demonstrated experimental success with its patent-pending, fungi-based, closed-loop process. Thus, this is a reasonable valuation that falls in the middle of the road, resulting in a moderate rating.

Next Section: Market


Solid waste management is a huge global market, sitting at a size of $1 trillion in 2019 and expected to grow at a 2.30% CAGR through 2026. However, Mycocycle’s most promising progress is in its mycelium-based breakdown of petroleum-based products, such as plastics. The global plastic waste management market, while significantly smaller, is still a significant $32.6 billion market, expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.1% to reach $37.9 billion by 2024. This smaller, obtainable market market does not grow at as high a rate as others in the startup world, nor is it as large as other markets.

The world produces 381 million tons of plastic waste every year, and Mycocycle hopes to treat 1.5 million of those tons a year by 2025. If it reaches even half of that goal, Mycocycle will manage to carve out a slice of the market for itself worth tens of millions of dollars. However, in the long-term the company may struggle to grow beyond a certain point as it finds itself limited by the slow growth of its target market. Therefore, Mycocycle’s market score is below average.

Next Section: Team


As a highly experimental startup that is very dependent on eventual patents, Mycocycle’s leadership team is of particular concern. The startup is helmed by President Joanne Rodriguez, a long-time participant in sustainable business interests. Rodriguez has worked her way up over time, most notably through a 16-year period with Tremco Roofing and Building Maintenance. In the last three years, she served as the company’s director for Sustainable and Strategic Initiatives. She has garnered respect and recognition among green businesses, earning a place on the EPA’s Environmentally Preferred Purchasing Pilot Panel for Paints/Coatings, has been a member on several other boards, and spoken at events. She doesn’t lack in construction industry experience, construction materials being Mycocycle’s target market.

Mycocycle has engaged several employees on a part-time basis. Peter McCoy, a pioneer in fungal technology, is the company’s part-time Chief Mycologist and scientific advisor. While McCoy’s expertise is not solely in the mechanics of mycology, but its history and cultural role, his interdisciplinary knowledge could serve as a useful tool in using mycelium for business ventures. Leslie Lopes serves in the marketing role and has 16 years of experience in consultant for branding, marketing, and web design. She holds a BFA from the Columbus College of Art & Design. Finally, Paul Rosas serves in a Finance and Operations role. Rosas is a serial entrepreneur, who co-founded his own startup in November of 2016.

While the team overall is diverse and holds a passable level of relevant experience in the industry, there are no perfectly-suited players, and its members have no past exits to boast of. As a result, Mycocycle’s team score is low.

Next Section: Differentiators


While employing mushrooms to break down garbage is certainly an innovative solution to a pressing problem, it isn’t entirely new. Mycocycle faces competition in Ecovative. Ecovative is a larger company which employs similar mycelium-based technologies to create fungus-based products, including some for construction companies. However, Ecovative appears not to have turned its attention towards meeting the needs of waste disposal markets, and Mycocycle has patents pending for its particular mycelium blend. There doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of competition in the market yet, especially in the US. If Mycocycle can secure its patents and early customer relationships, it will be well-positioned to grow. For these reasons, the company’s differentiators score is its highest across all five metrics.

Next Section: Performance


As an extremely early-stage startup, Mycocycle has no revenue as yet. It has lost more than $100,000 in net income in 2018 and 2019, but has reported no debt in its current filings. The company has seen early success in beta programs in California and New Jersey, is engaging in R&D for its post-process material, and has other potential customers lined up. Once the business has an actual product to offer, investors can better gauge its performance. As of now, there is little to go on. Due to the lack of financial data for the company, Mycocycle’s performance score is its lowest across all five metrics.

Next Section: Other

Bearish Outlook

Mycocycle doesn’t just face proof-of-concept trials — though the technology has yet to be proven successful and safe outside of an experimental environment. It also faces market competition for the product it produces. Manufacturing plastic grows ever easier, and as natural gas exploitation grows, it is much cheaper for companies to simply manufacture new plastic for their products than recycle it. Even if Mycocycle’s mycelium blends perform well in the company’s early contracts and produce useful byproducts that can be used in manufacturing processes, the company may struggle to secure markets for its end-products.

To that end, Mycocycle must not just be an ecological success story, it must be an economic one as well. Its end-product — so-called “mycocycle material” — must be high-quality and cheap enough that manufacturers see it as a viable alternative to traditional plastic. Otherwise, merely breaking down plastic products in landfills will have no significant impact, either on the globe’s health or the business’s bottom line. The company will also need to scale its product significantly to become profitable, which could be a challenge considering that its machinery is natural and subject to biological growth conditions.

Finally, even if the fungal blend serves to break down plastics, toxic heavy metals, and phthalates, there is no guarantee that it could be adapted to deal with other waste products, which could limit Mycocycle’s possible expansion across the market. For a startup with a highly-experimental product, these potentially limited verticals are concerning.

Next Section: Bullish Outlook

Bullish Outlook

Fungal breakdown of waste is a uniquely elegant solution to the world’s ever-expanding waste problem, and the company has the required expertise to break into the waste management industry. Assuming beta tests continue to go well,, it could ride an increasing consumer thirst for sustainable business practices to a profitable outcome. While competitors like Ecoventure have proven capable of similar fungus-based breakdowns of plastics, no one is doing it in the way Mycocycle is doing it. By securing a patent, the company could be setting itself up to thrive on the world’s waste, just as its mycelial machinery does.

Next Section: Executive Summary

Executive Summary

Mycocycle is seeking to address the world’s waste problem and offer ecological alternatives to harmful plastic products through its patent-pending mycelial blend, which breaks down petroleum-based materials into usable goods. The fungus can eliminate harmful toxins from landfills and take a 400 year shortcut by sequestering toxic heavy metals over four weeks. Assuming its process proves safe and effective, it is primed to take advantage of a modestly-growing waste management market, with relatively few competitors. They need only break into an industry that has been under increasing levels of pressure for decades and will soon be in dire need of space-saving, toxin-reducing solutions.

However, the Mycocycle system has yet to be proven in full practice. Its “machinery” is also potentially less scalable than other, mechanical processes. Should its concept bear out in the long run however, it could transform the way waste is managed in America, and have a positive ecological impact on the planet to boot. Therefore, Mycocycle has been rated a Neutral Deal.

For questions regarding the KingsCrowd staff pick or ratings for this company, please reach out to

Analysis written by Benjamin Potts.

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Mycocycle on StartEngine
Platform: StartEngine
Security Type: Equity - Common
Valuation: $7,000,000
Price per Share: $1.75

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