Case Study

American Aerogel Corporation (AAC)

“Mount Royal Ventures has been an outstanding partner for American Aerogel. In addition to providing us with capital to grow, Peter and Jay helped create a winning culture, mold a new business strategy and attract top management talent. MRV has been instrumental in putting American Aerogel on the path to success.”

– Robert Mendenhall, Founder and CTO, American Aerogel

"American Aerogel is a clean-tech company in multiple ways. With non-petroleum based raw materials and a low energy consumption manufacturing process, AAC is insulated from the volatile and unpredictable price of oil. The insulation produced by AAC is the most advanced in the market, providing outstanding energy conservation for its end users, thereby reducing their carbon footprint. Finally, the insulation is non-hazardous and therefore easily disposed of after use."

Founded by Robert Mendenhall over ten years ago, American Aerogel had been in research and development most of it’s life. Robert and his colleagues had invented and patented a unique aerogel material that addresses acute needs in several large markets.

Various types of Aerogels have been made for over 70 years, but their use has been limited to niche applications since aerogel production costs were very high. American Aerogel’s revolutionary production process allows Aerogels to be commercialized cost effectively in numerous applications.

The first market for American Aerogel is in the thermal insulation field, specifically the transportation of temperature sensitive products. This includes biomedical and pharmaceutical packaging, insulated cargo containers and refrigerated tractor-trailers. By reducing overall shipping costs, improving efficacy and increasing customer flexibility, AAC will change the competitive landscape of these markets.

MRV was impressed by American Aerogel’s founder, technology and product and provided AAC with both funding and management. At the time of the first investment AAC was a nine person company with a non-professional management team. Jay McHarg and Peter Los took on interim management positions and gradually handed off responsibilities as the team expanded.

With MRV’s assistance AAC has fine-tuned its commercialization strategy, increased revenues by 10x, increased manufacturing capacity by 25x and seeded additional markets in the fields of energy storage and energy conservation.