Tethis Sales & Marketing Leader
Having helped co-found and grow three companies from the startup phase to multi-million-dollar enterprises, Tyler Tibbits is no stranger to entrepreneurship (his first business started during his time as an undergraduate, funded his education. He has also held executive leadership roles at established businesses in the healthcare, consulting and IT fields. Today Tyler is VP of Sales & Marketing at Tethis. We recently spoke with him to learn more about his role and his predictions for the future of the company:
Tell us about the role you play at Tethis:
I joined the team on the first payroll in January of 2013 alongside former CTO and VP of Special Projects, Jim Bray, and my role here at Tethis is to position our product, Tethex, to manufacturers looking to improve the sustainability of their products. A lot of what I have done and continue to do is to explore different applications for our product, matching Tethex’ attributes with market needs, and talking with leaders in different industries about their strategic goals to find opportunities for our company.
How does your background translate to Tethis?
My experience lies heavily in product marketing and sales for both startup and established companies. Interestingly, I also happen to come from a family of Petroleum Geologists and have worked as one as well which gave me an understanding and appreciation for the energy industry. As a small-scale organic farmer, I have a deep interest in the land and sustainability, and as a father, I’m driven to do work that will make the world a better place for my kids. All these interests and experiences combine in my role at Tethis, and I’m thrilled to have played a role in the growth of the Tethis team over the years from our core group of four people to a team that includes scientists, engineers, technicians, operators, and more.
What is your leadership philosophy?
Curiosity is key in business as in life; I love learning and I do my best to instill this love in those who work with me. Books that I often recommend include Cradle to Cradle, The Tipping Point, and How We Decide. In my role overseeing marketing, I’m also very much enjoying exploring the science behind design and decision-making.
What got you started in the industry?
When I joined the Tethis team in 2013, our initial product was designed as a sustainable substance used to clean water dirtied by the fracking process. During our time exploring the water treatment path, we discovered, that the tremendous absorbency of material we were working with was more valuable to hygiene brands than in the oil field. It was a eureka moment. We thought “this is a feature, not a bug.” We started investigating these qualities and we found the substance had the potential for performance at a price-point that might make it very attractive to industries currently reliant upon petrochemical-based adsorbents. We made the pivot and have been perfecting our product ever since. Today we are having exciting conversations with large companies in a range of industries, from hygiene and consumer products to packaging and agriculture.
What excites you about the future of Tethis?
What excites me is exploring the problems our product can solve. We are continually assessing the landscape of chemicals, additives, and absorbents to see where Tethex could be applied to help reduce production costs and carbon footprint. Sodium polyacrylate, for example, is a chemical polymers used to absorb large amounts of water and, in many ways, have similar actions to Tethex. They are, however, made of carbon molecules that were produced in the oil field, so reducing the amounts of these chemicals in products will benefit manufacturers, consumers as well as the environment.
I’m also excited about the adaptability of our manufacturing process. It allows us to utilize different raw materials to make Tethex in different regions using locally available feedstocks. For example, we can produce Tethis from tapioca, peas, or corn as well as other starches. Sourcing raw material that are native to the specific region where we are operating also reduces costs and a product’s carbon footprint.
Our ultimate goal is to continue innovating and building better and more cost-effective plant-based alternatives that will replace conventional superabsorbents and other materials. We want to increase manufacturers’ options for sustainable additives and components that are authentically sustainable and will remove the guilt felt by consumers over useing single-use petroleum-derived products. And we are building a company that will be a force to be reckoned with!