Who are you? Corruven Inc.
What do you do? We make environmentally-friendly, corrugated products for the packaging, building materials, architectural, and furniture markets.
When did you start business? We’ve been in operation since 2009.
Where do you operate? We’re based in Northern New Brunswick and have clients around the globe.
Why do you do what you do? We want to build a better world through game-changing innovation.
USING CORRUGATION TO SAVE THE PLANET.
He may not admit it, but Daniel Beauregard-Long seems to have a competitive streak. The two-time ultimate frisbee nationalist and Chief Operating Officer of Edmundston, New Brunswick-based Corruven wants to win, both on and off the field.
Born and raised in Edmundston, Daniel – an avid reader – sees lots of opportunity in Northern New Brunswick: “One of the biggest pros of doing business in New Brunswick is that we get some very good team dynamics. People are loyal, passionate and dynamic.”, he relates.
He also embraces that in New Brunswick, everyone is so willing to help. “In New Brunswick, you make a call or two and people are willing to help.” In fact, “they’ll go out of their way to help you.”
We recently chatted with Daniel to learn more about him, Corruven and where he sees the future of this innovative company.
Your company was started by a crowdfunding effort. Did that raise any eyebrows when the idea was first conceived?
Yes. You need to remember, when we started this in 2009, not a lot of people knew about crowdfunding at the time – the word was definitely not mainstream! We didn’t know we were doing it, but that’s how we wanted to raise capital. We finally heard about the word crowdfunding later on, like many people.
Crowdfunding raised eyebrows because it was different and when you do something different, you need to expect that. You need to find a way to show people why this is important and why from a risk standpoint it was a better way to approach fund raising.
As we “grew up”, we transitioned to larger shareholders in later stages, but the first two rounds of fundraising were crowdfunded.
Why do you focus on doing research and development?
First, our vision is to change the world through game-changing innovation. R&D is a critical pillar to make this happen as you are in unchartered territory. It’s a big part of our culture: we have lots of initiatives internally and with external partners with universities, research chairs and companies in both Canada and the U.S. We believe the research advances the fields in which we are competing.
You need to be progressive with R&D and be thinking about it, otherwise you become a commodity.
As part of our efforts, we have an in-house lab (which is a renovated Zellers kitchen – now dubbed the “Innovation Kitchen”) where we do our research and we know the right partners to call when we need help.
As a relatively young manufacturing company (Corruven started in 2009), has your “youth” been an advantage when you are going to market?
Definitely! We have the opportunity to build it right and do it right for the future, and we stress this to the team, including when making capital investments. Some of our competitors have their hands tied because it would destroy their existing market if they changed things.
Your focus is on corrugated products. What does the average person not know about this type of product?
Many people don’t know about it because it’s a new technology. What people don’t know is that there is a lot of science behind it to make it right. We don’t think making it bigger to make it strong fits with our reality. If you want it stronger – build it smarter. Instead of putting more material, we work on the design.
How can corrugated products help solve environmental problems?
The reason we went with corrugated products is that we thought it was an (inventive) way to use materials. While we didn’t invent this method of manufacturing (think corrugated steel and cardboard), we wanted to use the method of corrugation for wood-based products because it didn’t exist at the time.
By using corrugated products, we use less material and energy. This has great benefits for things like transportation and logistics, because when shipping corrugated products, you take all the air out. This can mean that we can save 50%-75% on project costs, as there are fewer damaged products, reduced handling requirements, fewer trucks required for freight (due to reduced volume) and so on.
It’s about getting the right materials for the right uses. You could be smart on design, uses, and so on, but if you have the material wrong, you’re not doing any better. You need to understand the sustainability aspect. For us, we use all FSC-certified wood and fiber in our products. All of those things matter because if we want to build a better world and community, we need to think about those things. Our population is growing, and that’s one of the basic tenants of Corruven: we need to smarter choices. So, when thinking through solutions for clients, we take a holistic approach.
Where are your clients in the world?
You can find our clients in Toronto, Montreal, the Southeast U.S., the Midwest, Central U.S. and in Switzerland.
What’s got you most excited these days? What lies ahead for Corruven?
That’s an interesting question! What excites me most is the big changes in terms of sustainable packaging that we’re seeing. This includes initiatives by companies like Walmart, Target and Amazon, who are making a big push to sustainable packaging for their products with a goal of 100% recyclability. Billions of dollars worth of products need to be redesigned and rethought on how they get around the supply chain, so having these guys on board is important. They know this is important and they are doing this for the long-term.
Secondly, new materials are coming up all the time; we find tremendous opportunities to marry materials together. We’ve been exploring new materials and developed technology to make shapes. Things like smart textiles, mushroom fibres, metals, ceramics… it’s fun to see all this innovation!
As far as what’s next, for us, we’re focused on building our North American presence and developing sales: what that means is that we need a lot of new talent on board. It’s a major challenge but it’s also a lot of fun! This process puts us in touch with amazing people that are around this province and outside the province too!