Papernomad Makes Biodegradable Sleeves for Mobile Devices A low-tech material protects high-tech products and reduces waste.
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Entrepreneurs: Designers Christoph Rochna of Germany and Mario Bauer of Austria, with Benjamin Kwitek, an entrepreneur from Colorado Springs, Colo., founded Papernomad, which makes biodegradable sleeves for mobile electronic devices.
"Aha" moment: Rochna's girlfriend wanted mismatched flea-market chairs to go with their new dining table. Knowing it could take months to find the right chairs, Rochna fashioned temporary ones out of corrugated cardboard packaging from IKEA purchases. "The chairs lasted for six months, which got me thinking, If this crudely constructed cardboard furniture could last this long, it's something we should pursue," Rochna recalls. In 2009, he invited former colleagues Bauer and Kwitek to partner in a business. With $200,000 in seed capital, the trio launched Vienna-based Papernomad.
Construction paper: Papernomad partnered with an Austrian manufacturer to create a patented biodegradable composite of paper, viscose fabric and biopolymer.