The world is on the verge of a biochemical revolution. The overall market for chemicals has expanded from $2 Trillion to $3 Trillion in the just past five years, but the fastest growing segment of the chemicals industry has been the biochemicals market. Biochemicals are made from renewable materials as opposed to petroleum and can be biodegradable. By 2050 50% of the multi-trillion dollar chemicals market will be biochemicals.
Tethis has developed a way to take simple carbohydrates and make high-value products. Tethis has a patented platform for the creation of these high-value chemicals using a common manufacturing process that is high throughput, low cost, and prevalent domestically and abroad.
Tethis began operations in 2013 as a spinout of novel technology discovered at NC State University aimed at the water treatment market. Tethis has gone on to discover, advance, and patent new and innovative ways to transform plant-derived feedstocks into performance polymers that are used in a wide range of applications and industries.
The global synthetic superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) market is $8B and consists of petrochemical-based, not green, materials that are tied to the unstable oil market. Innovation occurs slowly and capacity and feature planning take years and hundreds of millions of dollars. With the ever-increasing demand for greener more sustainable products made with natural/sustainable feedstocks, Tethis's SAPs represent a profound advance in this market.
Tethex SAP is a cornstarch-based SAP manufactured using green materials and processes with similar performance/ economics to traditional acrylic-based SAPs. Tethex SAP has superior performance in highly ionic fluids such as seawater, hard water, divalents, oil, and blood. Tethis can control the form factor and other features including coating substrates with SAP. Our flexible manufacturing platform has a very low cap-ex and op-ex and can be located close to the customers or supply chain sources and scaled to meet any demand. Our tunable chemical parameters also allow us to create bespoke absorbents tailored to the desired performance requirements (gel strength, speed, capacity, etc.).
To make world-changing superabsorbents economically, Tethis has also gone through a process of backward integration to develop an additional platform of charge-modified biomaterials: anionic, cationic, and amphoteric starches. These too can be tailored with respect to charge, charge density, solubility, viscosity, and molecular weight. The global modified starch market is projected to be $12.14B by 2022 and we believe our manufacturing process provides us with sustainable competitive advantages to traditional starch modification techniques that will enable Tethis to become a significant player in this space.
Robin Weitkamp, CEO – Robin was Chief Operating Officer of Elevance Renewable Science’s specialty chemicals business and, before that, was VP of Symyx Technologies, a Silicon Valley materials R&D technology development company. He began his career leading various chemical and materials business and manufacturing platforms within BP and Albemarle. He holds BS and MS in chemical engineering from the University of Arkansas and the University of Houston, respectively, as well as an MBA from the University of Chicago.
Chris Evans, Executive Chairman - Chris is an entrepreneur and philanthropist with offices in Raleigh, North Carolina. Evans served as CEO and founder of Accipiter, a leading provider of ad management solutions purchased by CMGI, Inc., and fully merged with Engage in 1998, and member of the Board of Directors for Engage (NASD: ENGA) a majority owned subsidiary of CMGI and provider of profile driven Internet marketing solutions from 1999 until 2001. In 1992, Evans founded Hotlinx, a publisher of print and online buyer's guides for software professionals, which was sold to a group of private investors in 1997. From 1985 through 1992, Evans served as the executive Vice President of DaVinci Systems, a company he co-founded.
Evans currently serves on the board of directors of, Community in Schools of Wake County, NC State Engineering Department's Entrepreneurs Advisory Board, and The Entrepreneurs Philanthropic Venture Fund. He also serves as an advisor to several businesses and not-for-profit enterprises in the US and Europe. Evans is also the author of Fruit at Work – Mixing Christian Virtues with Business published in 2Q 2012 by Lanphier Press.
Evans many accolades include the 1999 Ernst & Young "Master Entrepreneur" award; Business Leader Magazine's "Entrepreneur of the Year" in 1998, the 1998 North Carolina Council for Entrepreneurial Development "Entrepreneurial Excellence Award", and was named one of Advertising Age's Digital Media Masters.
Ryan Chan, PhD, VP of R&D – Ryan joined with fellow NC State colleagues Scot Bolin and Moataz Moussa to launch Tethis in June of 2012. He has since held various technical management roles within Tethis, while building Tethis’ R&D capabilities and technical team. Prior to founding Tethis, Ryan held multiple R&D roles at innovative companies such as: RTI International, NC State University, and Corning Incorporated. Ryan holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in Materials Science & Engineering from NC State University.
Frank J. Popola, VP Manufacturing Operations - Frank is a results‐driven executive with more than 25 years of management experience in the Plastics and Biopolymer industries. Prior to joining Tethis, Popola was the Principal at Process Solutions Group, LLC, a consulting practice focused in the Renewable Technologies sector and Sr. Business Advisor at The InnovaNet Group. He served as Chief Operating Officer for Aspen Research Corporation, responsible for the development and commercialization of Aspen’s proprietary biopolymer compounds and optimizing their contract development and toll manufacturing operations. Frank was Director of Manufacturing and Development with Metabolix, Inc. and Vice President and General Manager with Century Extrusion, Inc. He is a board member of the Extrusion and Bioplastics divisions as well as Chair for the Building and Infrastructure division of the Society of Plastics Engineers.
Tyler Tibbits, MBA, VP Sales & Marketing - Tyler has more than 29 years’ experience in sales and marketing, product management, and operations. He also has extensive experience launching new products and starting companies. Tyler grew up in and around the upstream oil and gas exploration and production business in Oklahoma and Texas and has a B.S. in Geology from the University of Oklahoma. He holds an MBA from UNC’s Kenan Flagler School of Business and has co-founded five companies.
Jim Bray, Ph.D. Chem. E., MBA, VP of Special Projects (former CTO) - Jim has 40 years of industrial experience with 30 years in the separations industry, including water purification. Jim’s has worked in large and small companies plus start-up environments and has served previously on the Scientific Advisory Board, Board of Directors and as CEO of several companies. His line management experience includes product and process development, customer application testing and manufacturing. Dr. Bray earned his BS in Chemical Engineering from NC State, a ScD in Chemical Engineering from MIT and an MBA from UConn.