SVP Blog Series: Magnomer
Magnomer is a Babson startup focused on improve recycling efficiency through a patent-pending process. The name Magnomer is a mashup of magnetic and polymer, since the company is applying magnetized materials to plastics so that recyclers can separate plastics from other items. The company is currently working with Preserve (also started by a Babson alum), the leading maker of performance driven and stylish 100% recycled household products, and is testing with their first partner, Casella Recycling, a publicly traded company. Among other successes, Magnomer has been awarded grants from the Babson Seed Fund and the Lewis Institute’s Inventureship fund. The company is founded by Ravish Majithia, who worked on the company during Babson’s Summer Venture Program.
When did you initially have your inspiration for this business?
I have been curious the recycling industry for a long time, and it turns out that the biggest problems recyclers face is segregation of items. I have a materials science and engineering background, so I thought “what if I could design a product to separate the items”.
How did you get involved with the Summer Venture Program?
Before I applied, I had my co-founder working on the technical side of the idea, and a roadmap of what we wanted to do. We had seen the gap in the market, but we didn’t know how we would generate revenue or which plastic product to work with. So we applied to SVP, and as a result figured out the revenue model, pricing model, and even got a potential customer who we are now piloting the product with.
Did you feel like you missed out on anything this summer?
I came to Babson to start a business, so I didn’t want to do a summer internship. Even if my venture fails, I will look back and think that SVP was worth it.
Were there any particular programs or workshops that helped you,
I think the one on one sessions with David Chang, and also the one on ones with industry professionals were extremely helpful. They would always ask “have you thought of a,b, or c?” and it would help me think at the next level.
Did SVP grow your network? How?
We eventually got our recycling partner, Casella, through SVP connections. We also ended up talking to a lot of consumers who we probably wouldn’t have, like restaurants. Through SVP we spoke with companies like Boloco, Dunkin Donuts, and other companies that are part of the network. Preserve, our partner, also connected us with number of companies, including Keurig and Kellogg’s.
Did any mentors or advisors give particularly good advice (and what was that advice?).
The biggest one was to continue pushing on all cylinders, especially when we didn’t get the big grant were hoping for. A lot of people told me to keep pushing. I think the big thing is that with ventures you have to expect that you’ll have successes and failures.
How was it being around the other startups in SVP?
The community was very helpful. For example, the SVP folks from Olin College helped build a miniature functional version of the separator that helped us learn a lot.
What was your experience with the SVP Showcase?
For Magnomer, it got people excited about the concept, and it gave us a lot of feedback on the concept. Further, I became a more confident public speaker as a result. It helped me think about how to communicate the idea better.
Was there anything that the Summer Venture Program provided that was indispensable? That you couldn’t have got anywhere else? That was particularly “Babson”?
I think SVP gave us a chance. When we applied, Magnomer was as a company and we had identified a space, but we didn’t have product focus or revenue yet. SVP provided us with a chance to succeed because they believed in the idea and believed they could give us an opportunity to make it work; I’m not sure if any other accelerator would do that…and that is very Babson.
Was it the outcome you were hoping for?
The outcome we were going for was a solid revenue model and operating model, and we got that.