“I spent nearly all the money left in my development fund on MMT. I’d already put five years into the product. I needed help with the business plan.”
Jeremy Lang is a material scientist, environmental consultant and the “ultimate garage inventor,” according to his business partner. He developed a compostable plastic alternative made from flax straw, a waste material leftover from flaxseed production. With his sustainable invention, Jeremy designed the first compostable phone case, Pela, tackling the huge, environmentally devastating smartphone accessories market.
His product was poised for a perfect market fit with the rise of consumer awareness surrounding waste. But Jeremy needed help with marketing, online sales, and growth. “I was working a full-time job, then working on Pela nights, weekends, holidays. And we were still just barely growing,” he recalls.
Jeremy met e-commerce wizard Matt Bertulli at MMT Napa in 2015; they soon became business partners. A few years later, Pela was valued at $100m with an investment from Jay-Z’s firm.
“The big change was going from ‘I got this’ to ‘We got this,’” Jeremy says of his partners and investors—many of whom are MMT members. Jeremy’s business grew in tandem with his relationships.
Here’s what happened
2011: Jeremy launches the Pela phone case
2015: Jeremy is invited to MMT Napa, where he meets Matt Bertulli, e-commerce expert
2016-2017: Matt invests in Pela and boosts online sales
2018: Jeremy and Matt recruit another MMT member, Brad Pedersen, as a third partner. Brad’s manufacturing expertise proves crucial for Pela’s demand planning.
2019: Pela is valued at $40m after investment from several MMT members—and rapper Jay-Z
2020: Pela is valued at $100m. Canadian Business Magazine ranks Pela 9th among the Fastest Growing Companies in Canada.
2021: Pela launches one of the fastest funded Indiegogo campaigns for its new vertical, a kitchen composter called Lomi, with help from another MMT member, Gareth Everard
“I know how to make it. Matt knows how to market it. Brad knows how to scale it,” Jeremey says, assessing the professional dynamics between his business partners. Still, as an entrepreneur with his dream on the line, there was more to consider.
"When you are finding business partners, trust is one of the most important things,” he explains. “I knew Matt and Brad were great guys. Knowing that MMT curates members based on values and not just net worth added another layer of trust and comfort for me."
Though our community fosters deep connections, not just transactional encounters, business partnerships often sprout organically at MMT. Everyone is a good culture fit.
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