Meet Innovator of the Week
Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Granite State Biofuels
Please provide your 30-second pitch about your company.
Granite State Biofuels has developed a proprietary and highly compact end-to-end method for biodiesel production based on technologies most commonly found in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. These technologies produce consistently high-quality biodiesel and attain significantly greater levels of efficiency than conventional biofuel production. We have developed the system to be easily replicated and, very importantly, permitted. This allows for rapid, cost-effective scaling by locating additional plants close to available resources and end users.
Who or what was your best resource for starting your company?
We were very fortunate to have the guidance and support of a number of wonderful advisors, friends and family members right from the beginning. We also used the wonderful SBA resources including SCORE to aid us in the incorporation and general formation of the company. We truly lucked out with SCORE, who sent us two individuals that were absolutely pivotal at important times in our evolution. Our business also would not have been possible without a visit from John Hamilton from Vested for Growth. John also brought along Mark Olsen who has been with us ever since. The contributions Mark has made to our business plan, financial model, and overall financing strategy are why the light appears so bright at the end of our tunnel.
What was your biggest obstacle in starting your company and how did you overcome it?
Like all start-ups, the list of “why-nots” is pretty overwhelming. If you ask any entrepreneur that lays everything they have out on the line to start and see a vision through to completion, they will tell you that it’s all about managing the fear to fail. We have had to do that throughout the whole process.
Many people rightfully thought we were nuts doing what we did. Still, it was the passion and commitment to create a global game changer that allowed us to connect with people of similar goals and inspiring visions. We quickly learned that they were also experiencing the emotional ups and downs; it reminded us that we were not struggling alone.
What’s the best advice you have received?
SCORE was especially helpful with getting us a visit from a former Exxon Executive and Chemist that opened our eyes to the concept of the scalability we didn’t even know we had. During his visit, he asked some very difficult questions that allowed us to see from a far wider angle and expand our expectations and vision considerably based on the strengths he helped identify for us. That invaluable two-hour visit completely clarified our business model and clearly defined our growth strategy.
What about the NH lifestyle appeals to you?
New Hampshire has a strong and inherent sense of independence that is a requirement to innovate disruption into the status quo of big business practices like the oil industry. This state is full of refreshing people who want to know if we can do it better rather than continuing to do it the way it’s always been done. We are seeking to penetrate and disrupt the largest industry on the planet. To do that, we need innovative policy, finance, and support that understands our efforts are for the betterment of all.
Live Free and Start, The New Hampshire Business Finance Authority, and programs like Ultimate Connection all exemplify the understanding New Hampshire has for the importance of supporting entrepreneurs and small business development. We are very grateful to be a part of it.
What does the future look like for your company?
We are extremely excited about getting this Bow plant fully up to capacity and ironing out all the logistics and operational parameters. From there, we will be able to build other regional facilities. This will further expand the availability of Made in the USA, cleaner burning, sustainable liquid fuels while reducing our dependence on foreign oils. We will also be keeping dollars that would have otherwise been spent on oil imports right here in the communities where Biofuels are produced.