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Eben Bayer    

Cofounder & CEO at Ecovative

Growing green packaging material out of mushrooms might seem like the stuff of science fiction, but it’s exactly what Eben Bayer is doing at Ecovative. Bayer cofounded the company in 2010 with his friend Gavin McIntyre, whom he met while they were both studying mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. Since then Ecovative has raised over $14 million in funding, and its 65 employees already produce packaging for companies like Dell and Steelcase. The process involves using agricultural waste to grow mushrooms—and, more important, their binding vegetative roots known as mycelium—in mold for 96 to 120 hours. The resulting material is tough enough to keep your laptop safe during shipping but won’t spend 10,000 years decomposing in a landfill. Best of all, the mushroom stuff costs the same—even less—than traditional Styrofoam.

Eben Bayer received a dual B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Product Design and Innovation from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Prior to founding Ecovative he worked at ARA designing humanitarian de-mining vehicles.

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