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How These 20-Something Founders Are Trying to Kill Styrofoam

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2018 REVENUE: $25 million


For James McGoff, Charles Vincent, and Brian Powers, eliminating Styrofoam from shipping supply chains wasn't something they set out to do. It was just the cheapest thing around that needed fixing.

"When you're a student, you don't have a deep R&D budget," says 28-year-old McGoff, referring to the early days of TemperPack, which today makes Styrofoam-free insulation that keeps products cold during shipping. (Think: a customizable cooler inside a packing box.) Packaging was "really cheap to rapidly prototype."

It's also a massive industry that had been stagnant for decades. Now, though, "with consumers becoming more considerate of sustainability and the environment, that's starting to change," says R.J. Hottovy, an e-commerce analyst at Morningstar, a financial services firm in Chicago with which Inc. shares an owner. Hottovy points out that the global packaging market, which research firm P&S Intelligence expects to reach $294.3 billion by 2023, is still anchored largely by Styrofoam, a brand of thermal packaging made from extruded polyurethane, which is not biodegradable. When it comes to startups entering the sector, he adds, "if you have both the technology and sustainability, that is a winning combination."

So far, it's working for four-year-old Richmond, Virginia-based TemperPack. With customers........

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