Solegear Bioplastics

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Solegear Bioplastics Inc.
Industry Bioplastics
Founded 2006
Founder Toby Reid
Headquarters Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Key people

Toby Reid, President & CEO
Dan Homes, COO, CFO
Michel Labonte, CTO

Brian Schiedel, SVP Sales
Products Polysole

Solegear Bioplastics is an award-winning bioplastics company founded in 2006 and based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Solegear manufactures natural "high-performance" bioplastic materials under the brand name Polysole. Polysole is made by combining a base polymer, called polylactic acid (PLA), with a natural additive formulation which increases various mechanical, processing and physical performance characteristics of the material.[1]

Product Development[edit]

Solegear began its research and development efforts in 2006, focusing on the development of bio-based, high-performance and compostable plastics. Polysole was developed using Green Chemistry with an initial focus on injection moulding applications requiring greater performance from a strength, durability, processing and composting standpoint. Later development produced technologies and materials for thermoforming and blowmoulding applications, also with increased performance characteristics. Solegear has, and is, developing its technologies in collaboration with leading Canadian research institutions

NRC Industrial Materials Institute, Boucherville, Quebec[edit]

Solegear signed a joint collaboration research agreement with NRC's Industrial Materials Institute in February 2012, and performs applied research with the Polymer Bioproducts team, which is led by Nathalie Legros.

École Polytechnique, Montréal, Quebec[edit]

Solegear has been collaborating with École Polytechnique on bioplastics technology development since July 2010, working with the Chemical Engineering group under Dr. Charles Dubois.

University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia[edit]

Solegear performs its R&D with the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at the University of British Columbia.[2]


Solegear receives financial support from Canada's National Research Council through its support institute, NRC-IRAP (Industrial Research Assistance Program).[2]

Bioplastic Materials[edit]


Polysole is a compostable polymer. It can be used in durable applications such as children's toys and cosmetics cases.[3] It currently is available in three grades: Polysole TF, Polysole XD, and Polysole LV.[4] Each grade is intended for different purposes: "TF" stands for "thermoforming", "XD" stands for "extra durability", and "LV" stands for "low viscosity", the latter two being injection molding grades.


Traverse is a biocomposite material. Made of biomass fibers mixed with conventional plastic (like PE, PP, PET, or nylon), it can be used in durable applications such as outdoor furniture and automotive parts. The conventional plastic component of Traverse biocomposite material can come from recycled or virgin plastic.[5]

Operational Development[edit]

Product Launch[edit]

Solegear formally announced the launch of its proprietary bioplastic, Polysole, in the summer of 2010, after more than four years of research & development at some of Canada's largest chemical engineering institutes.[6] Solegear then launched its proprietary biocomposite material, Traverse, two weeks later, building out the company's product assortment for its launch period.[7]

Capacity Growth[edit]

After the successful launch of the company's award-winning product assortment of Polysole and Traverse, Solegear went on to generate small initial sales at the pilot scale level. These critical, initial milestones validated the company's launch and paved the way for the company to pursue the next stage in its development: building out capacity. The management team was upgraded while large scale production partnerships were established on both coasts of North America, giving Solegear the capacity to produce their materials for large customers into the hundreds of millions of pounds on an annual basis.[8][9]

Intellectual Property Development[edit]

International Patents[edit]

Solegear's research & development efforts began in 2006, accelerating in 2007 with the involvement with the NRC's IRAP program. In the fall of 2009, it was determined that the company was in a position to file its first two provisional patent applications. So, On October 31, 2009, Solegear, through its IP counsel at Gowling Henderson Lafleur in Vancouver, BC, filed these two provisional patent applications, converting them into full international patent applications one year later on October 31, 2010.

On June 2, 2011, Solegear received positive opinions from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) regarding its international patent applications, with the CIPO deeming the company's intellectual property to be novel and inventive.[10] The international patent applications are expected to be further examined by the CIPO with a decision on issuance expected late in 2012 or early 2013. Solegear expects to continue to deliver further innovations in the field of bioplastics through in-house and partner-based research & development.

Awards & Recognition[edit]

Frost & Sullivan[edit]

In August 2010, Solegear was recognized by Frost & Sullivan with the 2010 New Product Innovation of the Year Award for its Polysole compostable polymer.[11]

BCIC New Ventures[edit]

In September 2010, Solegear received three awards in the BCIC New Ventures competition.[12] The BCIC Economic Impact Prize recognized the potential of Solegear and its products to have significant impact on the economy of British Columbia, both by creating jobs within the province and by exporting goods outside the province. The BC Hydro Sustainability Prize recognized Solegear's contribution to provincial environmental sustainability. The BCIC Second-Prize Package recognized Solegear's overall promise of growing into a viable and successful BC company.

Canadian Youth Business Foundation[edit]

In November 2010, Solegear received the Best Green Business award from the CYBF (Canadian Youth Business Foundation).[13][14]

Manning Foundation[edit]

In February 2011, Solegear's Founder was selected as a nominee for the annual Canadian Manning Innovation Awards.[15]

2011 G20 Youth Entrepreneurship Summit[edit]

In November 2011, Solegear's Founder was selected to participate as a member of the Canadian delegation in the G20 Youth Entrepreneurship Summit in Nice, France.[16]

2012 Vancouver Angel Forum[edit]

In May 2012, Solegear was Honored with 3 Investor Choice Awards (as chosen by Investors) at the 31st Vancouver Angel Forum – May 15, 2012:

  1. TSX Venture Exchange award for Best Presentation
  2. Fasken Martineau award for Best Company With Revenue
  3. Business Development Bank award for Best Company Likely To Be Acquired[17]

2012 Banff Venture Forum[edit]

In October 2012, Solegear was humbled to be chosen as the Best Presenting Company for Energy & Cleantech at the 14th annual Banff Venture Forum in Banff, Alberta, Canada. With the 2012 Forum hosting in excess of 40 venture capital firms, 47 presenting companies and 350 delegates, it is Canada's premier growth company financing event.[18]

2013 Global Cleantech Cluster Association Later Stage Award[edit]

In November 2013, Solegear Bioplastics announced that it has won the Best in BioFuels/BioEnergy for the Global Cleantech Cluster Association (GCCA) 2013 Later Stage Award. The GCCA’s Global Top 10 Winners represent the best of the association’s nearly 50 member clusters and over 10,000 member companies. The GCCA Global Top 10 Winners were selected by 22 cleantech venture capital and private equity investors and serial entrepreneurs, who collectively manage over $3.5 billion in global clean technology investment. This year’s awards were organized by the Finnish Cleantech Cluster.[19]


  1. ^ "Has Solegear found the Holy Grail of bio-plastics?". Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  2. ^ a b Solegear . "Overview | Solegear Bioplastics - Compostable Plastic & Composite Materials". Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  3. ^ "Natural bioplastic material could make cars biodegradable". CNET. 2010-10-06. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  4. ^ Solegear . "Overview | Solegear Bioplastics - Compostable Plastic & Composite Materials". Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  5. ^ "Wood fibers used in new plastics". 2010-07-07. Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  6. ^ "Solegear completes R&D and begins commercialization". BCIC New Ventures. 2010-06-07. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  7. ^ "Solegear launches natural fiber bioplastic". Plastics News. Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  8. ^ "Solegear Secures Strategic Manufacturing Alliances". LifeSciencesBC. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  9. ^ "Let them eat plastic". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  10. ^ "Vancouver company to patent bioplastics technology". Canadian Manufacturing. 2011-06-06. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "2010 BCIC Awards and BCIC-New Ventures Competition award $391,000 to Tech entrepreneurs". New Ventures BC. 2010-09-24. Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  13. ^ "2010 Best Business Awards « CYBF". Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  14. ^ "CYBF Blog - And the winners are...". Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  15. ^ Solegear . "Press Release – February 1, 2011: Solegear Founder & CEO Nominated for Manning Innovation Award". Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  16. ^ "B.C. entrepreneurs set for G20 Young Entrepreneur Summit". Business In Vancouver Interactive. Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  17. ^ "# $2 million invested directly by Angel Forum investors in 3 companies at last Angel Forum". Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  18. ^ "Energy & Cleantech Presenting Companies". Capital Road. Retrieved 2012-10-31. 
  19. ^

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