3D Gloop! Makes adhesives and coatings for 3-D printing, and now is the winner of the Metro-East Startup Challenge.

Co-founder Andrew Martinussen said plastics are generally hard to glue together — and 3-D printed plastics used by consumer grade 3D printers are typically even harder. According to him, their largest market is the consumer market.

“There’s super glues, epoxies, things like that on the market, but they don’t hold up to the bond strength of our adhesive at all. We blow everything else out of the water,” Martinussen said.

Martinussen said his inspiration came from his dog, who had bone cancer and

wanting to make an ergonomic wheelchair for her.

“I was doing a lot of 3D modeling for different startup companies at the time and I drew one up but couldn’t make one, so I bought a printer, ran into some issues and [co-founder Andrew Mayhall] created the first take at what this product would become,” Martinussen said. “That way I would be able to glue the parts together and not have warping on the bed and it solves the problem for me ... maybe somebody else, other people in the community would get a lot of benefit out of it.”

Co-founder Andrew Mayhall said they’re going to use the $10,000 prize money to expand their operations, and are looking into upgrading their manufacturing equipment, which will allow them to produce more at a faster pace.

“We’re really kind of reinvesting into the business. The entire business up to

this point has really been bootstrapped. So that’s just taking the profits from the company and reinvesting them in every which way we can to continue in further growth,” Mayhall said.

Jesse Campbell, owner of Missing Meadows, Inc., said his second-place prize of $6000 is going to help them grow their mushroom kit business. Campbell’s business sells gourmet mushrooms to restaurants, farmer’s markets and grow-your-own mushroom kits for at home gardeners. He said their first priority is refrigeration and then marketing.

“Right now, we’re trying to build out our climate control. [Refrigeration is] a good way to slow the growth of the mycelium, you kind of want to stall it and make the shelf life on the [mushroom] blocks last longer,” Campbell said.

Campbell said they began selling the mushroom kits before Christmas last year and sales took off. They now sell locally to restaurants like Moussalli’s Prime in Edwardsville. They are looking forward to ramping up production for this Christmas, Campbell said.

“We sell gourmet mushrooms to the restaurants, and we also want to sell to home gardeners. [These are] mushroom kits where they can grow their own mushrooms. That’s kind of what we’re trying to do before Christmas, get back to it again because people just love to grow mushrooms,” Campbell said.

Because they do all the complex work prepping the kits, Campbell said, anyone can grow mushrooms from home.

“They just buy a block that’s already pre-colonized, and they cut a hole in the

box and boom, you get mushrooms,” Campbell said.

Campbell said he became passionate about the mushroom business because of his interest in regenerative agriculture and learning from Greg Judy, a regenerative agriculturist from Columbia, Missouri, who focuses on the health of the ecological system as a whole and not just production of crops or livestock.

“I’ve just been really fascinated with this concept of rebuilding soil and I did a

field day with [Greg Judy] a couple years ago. He was growing shiitake mushrooms on mushroom logs. And I [thought] that’s a pretty easy way to get started in the regenerative agriculture aspect,” Campbell said. “Our substrate is literally an agri- cultural byproduct, it would generally be thrown away, but instead we’re able to inoculate it with a mycelium which is just rebuilding soil and it’s really awesome, so I love the concept.”

WholeBody Physical Therapy won third place and the prize for ‘women, minority or veteran owned business’ of the year. Rebecca Willmann-Albrecht, owner and physical therapist, said they are a hybrid physical and massage therapy running clinic, but all of their physical therapists have extra certifications and specialties.

While a typical physical therapy clinic would have a physical therapist with general knowledge of all musculoskeletal conditions, WholeBody physical therapists also specialize in different areas. Willmann-Albrecht specializes in runners and chronic pain, while another physical therapist specializes in pelvic floor therapy and postpartum rehab.

Willmann-Albrecht said she worked in insurance-based physical therapy for about 15 years, and was burnt out because she was triple-booked all day and that impacted the kind of care she could provide. Additionally, she said, insurance companies limited the kinds of treatments she could do.

“I’ve been a runner for 20 years and about 10 years ago I had a running injury that for the first time ever, I could not fix on my own. I was looking for a physical therapist that specialized in runners, and I couldn’t find any anywhere around here, and so eventually I just really dove into the research and ended up actually being able to fix myself,” Willmann-Albrecht said.

“But then it was really about, well, since this doesn’t exist, I need to make this.”

Willmann-Albrecht said they’ve spent the last two and a half years getting therapists together and the right physical location to be able to grow and offer different services, so the prize money will all be used for marketing.

“The next step for 2022 is going to be to really get our marketing on point, so

the money is going to go towards getting our marketing systems in place, so possibly hiring a coach, possibly just figuring out where we need to land come with sponsorships and ads and things like that,” Willmann-Albrecht said.

Jo Ann DiMaggio May, director of the Small Business Development Center for the Metro East, said this was the competition’s eighth year, and the competition continues to grow.

“It never ceases to amaze me how creative and responsive to the changing environment and innovative these entrepreneurs are. I just look forward to a great 2022,” DiMaggio May said.

DiMaggio May said she would love to see more student involvement in the competition.

“We usually have maybe one or two [student entries] every year, but [we] could definitely have more. I know there’s a lot of creative and entrepreneurial minds,” Di Maggio May said.

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