Renewable building material company ChloroFill LLC of Carmel Valley plans to launch manufacturing of its sorghum stalk-based building panels in Missouri by the first quarter of 2013 now that it has received a new round of funding.
The amount of the funding was not disclosed.
The close includes investment from Global Prospective Investments LLC, a new Missouri-based investment group formed for the purpose of investing in clean technologies and building a clean-tech cluster in Nodaway County, located in northwest Missouri. ChloroFill’s recent funding also includes $250,000 from the Missouri Technology Corp., a public-private partnership created by the Missouri General Assembly to promote entrepreneurship and foster the growth of new and emerging high-tech companies.
Michael Hurst, ChloroFill’s founder, CEO and president, said the region where manufacturing will occur is an ideal site for growing sorghum, a hyper-renewable material which grows to full maturity in 120 days with very little water. Hurst said the 4-by-8-foot panels that will be produced from the sorghum are very durable and are similar in aesthetics and application to bamboo panels. They will be marketed under the brand name DurahForm to the interior design and architectural community for use in countertops, architectural elements, wall and ceiling coverings, furniture, cabinetry, wainscoting, doors and flooring.
“We’re actually signing distributors both domestic and international and targeting the interior design and architectural community,” Hurst said.
Hurst said the company expects to produce at least 30,000 to 40,000 panels in the first year and scale up dramatically after that. Founded in 2007 and with 10 employees currently, ChloroFill expects to ramp up its staff by hiring nine employees in the first 12 months and likely doubling that in the second year.