Just over a year after its launch, the Western New York Impact Investment Fund has purchased its third stake in a local company.
The fund is investing $750,000 in a cellulose insulation company that had moved from Massachusetts to Buffalo after winning a $500,000 award in the 43North competition.
CleanFiber Buffalo LLC – formerly UltraCell – uses recycled corrugated cardboard to make high-performance building insulation. The company's founders and management team developed a cellulose insulation that they say is more efficient and safer than regular insulation, using a patented process that infuses fire retardant directly into the fiber.
“CleanFiber’s cellulose insulation is a cutting-edge product that utilizes recycled materials which helps to reduce our country’s landfill issue," said Thomas P. Quinn, CEO of the Western New York Impact Investment Fund. "Because of its improved efficiency in heating our homes and buildings, it also can cut down the use of fossil fuels and lower our overall carbon footprint."
The fund's debt investment - part of CleanFiber's recent financing round - will help the startup company to advance its growth, including through construction of a production facility at the site of the former Bethlehem Steel plant in Blasdell. The company says it expects to create 30 to 35 new jobs once that facility is operational, and will start filling pre-orders later this year.
“We are excited to partner with CleanFiber, an innovative company with a unique and patented process bringing more manufacturing back to our region," Quinn said. "This means incremental jobs for Western New Yorkers and a product we believe shows promising potential in the marketplace while making a positive environmental and social impact."
Launched in August 2017, the Impact Fund previously invested significantly in EcoVerde Organics LLC, a compost company in East Aurora, and in Viride Parente, a renewable energy company located in the former American Axle & Manufacturing plant on Buffalo's East Side.