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Cruz Foam Awarded a National Science Foundation Grant for Small Businesses

Cruz Foam, a bio-benign foam and plastic packaging alternative provider, was awarded a $1 million in non-dilutive funding with an NSF SBIR Phase II Grant in support of the development of its patented sustainable packaging material.

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Cruz Foam is a sustainable replacement for traditional EPS and other polymer-based foam and foam-blend packaging material. This work is supported by America's Seed Fund powered by the NSF.

The grant was awarded to complete the development of Cruz Foam’s proprietary EPS replacement foam and foam-blend formulas for the use in the primary and secondary packaging of high-value consumer goods ranging from consumer packaged goods to electronics and appliances. The initial formula is targeted at protective tertiary packaging and the company is currently in commercial trials and pilots with a number of global brands. Cruz Foam has wide ranging potential uses from packaging to insulation, and a variety of potential uses in other industries.

Unlike some sustainable alternatives, Cruz Foam has created a low barrier to entry for brands and supply chains to switch feedstock as production doesn’t require new equipment, personnel, and is cost-neutral. Cruz Foam also uses a water-based production method that does not require the use of harsh chemicals and the novel material, chitin, is sourced from waste materials from the seafood industry that would otherwise end up in landfills, or worse, dumped back into the ocean causing great ecological damage.

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“We are humbled and excited to have the renewed support of the NSF and to receive this America’s Seed Fund grant,” said John Felts, CEO, Cruz Foam. “These funds will enable us to expand our internal production facilities as well as finalize commercial trials. We have completed exploratory projects with companies such as Ford and PepsiCo and are working with other major brands to develop sustainable protective packaging to fit their needs. We are now at the point where technology is not our barrier to growth, but rather our ability to scale to meet the demand from our beachhead customers. We have found our pilot partners are all very forward-looking and are aggressively re-thinking their approach to foam,” added Felts.

Cruz Foam recently expanded its team and will continue to hire throughout the course of the summer to prepare for commercialization. Expansion will include larger facilities, also in Santa Cruz, for the in-house production of materials. 

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