A LaunchTN SBIR Matching Fund Recipient: mobius, based in Lenoir City, is a high-growth CleanTech/Energy company with a vision of building a future where organic waste is not seen as a burden on society or the planet, but instead as a valuable resource.
We caught up with the mobius team to hear about the company’s mission, inspiration for starting the company, and opportunities for Tennessee to become the most startup-friendly state.
Would you give us an overview of your organization?
mobius is on a mission to create a world where “There’s Wonder in Waste”. We are building a molecular upcycling platform to convert unavoidable food waste from socially responsible food processors into upcycled ingredients and climate-friendly chemical building blocks, and sells those to sustainable brands and manufacturers who currently have a limited supply of carbon-neutral raw materials.
Who are the key team members at mobius?
Dr. Tony Bova: CEO + Co-Founder
Jeff Beegle: CSO + Co-Founder
Danielle Cowan-Banker: Biosystems Engineer
Dr. Patrick Caveney: Synthetic Biologist
Dr. Michelle Halsted: Systems & Operations Engineer
What inspired you all to start the company?
We are building a future where waste is not a burden on society or the planet, but instead, a valuable resource for new materials. This common vision led our founders, Tony Bova and Jeff Beegle, to start mobius pbc while they were in graduate school at the University of Tennessee in 2016. mobius is incorporated as a Delaware public benefit corporation to ensure that our vision and mission scale with our company.
What need is mobius currently solving or seeking to address?
We are building a molecular upcycling platform to convert unavoidable food waste from socially responsible food processors into upcycled ingredients and climate-friendly chemical building blocks, and sells those to sustainable brands and manufacturers who currently have a limited supply of carbon-neutral raw materials.
This allows food processors to gain value for the time, labor, and resources put into growing their valuable crops; sustainable brands and manufacturers can make more products their customers are demanding for a circular economy; and all while reducing carbon emissions from traditional waste management practices and land use change for more traditional bio-based feedstocks like corn, soy, and palm.
Could you describe your company in three words?
Fun, Weird, Nerdy.
How did you hear about the LaunchTN SBIR Matching Fund program?
We’ve known about the Matching Fund since its inception. We heard about it from the folks working at LaunchTN, notably Jill Van Beke.
Key people who helped make the SBIR Matching Fund opportunity happen?
Lynn Youngs: Executive Director of Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation UTK & mobius advisor
Ryan Kemp: mobius advisor
Jim Biggs: Executive Director of Knoxville Entrepreneur Center
What do you plan to achieve with this funding?
We plan to “Do More Faster” – a mantra we learned during Techstars. This funding will help us build more research capacity in our lab, iterate on our technology, and launch pilots with customers and partners!
Any other funding you are excited about?
Since starting our company in 2016, we’ve received over $2M in non-dilutive grant funding from NSF, USDA, The Kroger Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation, the Wells Fargo Foundation and the State of Tennessee! This has been instrumental in supporting our R&D efforts.
Favorite local business in your region?
Yassin’s Falafel House in Knoxville!
Date Founded: 2016
Company Based In: Lenoir City, Tennessee
Learn more about mobius and the organization’s mission at mobius.co.