Serious Materials gets $50 million to get serious about manufacturing

As expected, the eco-friendly building material maker gets millions to start volume production.

Serious Materials, which has come up with a formula for eco-friendly drywall, has landed $50 million to build factories.

New Enterprise Associates, Foundation Capital and Rustic Canyon Partners participated in the second round of financing for the company, according to CEO Kevin Surace. Previously, Serious raised $5.5 million. The fact that the company was closing a large funding round came out earlier this summer.

Serious drywall samples bring glee to model Michael Kanellos/CNET Networks

The company's product is the equivalent of Jell-O instant pudding of the clean-tech set . Most drywall is made from gypsum baked at high temperatures. The cooking process releases substantial amounts of carbon dioxide. By contrast, Serious has a formula in which chemicals are placed into a mold and then congeal into drywall. It takes very little energy and thus results in low carbon dioxide emissions.

Serious, in fact, hopes to run its first factory, which will be capable of churning out over 400 million square feet of drywall a year, on a 100-kilowatt solar system . The new funding potentially could allow Serious to build two to three plants in the U.S.

EcoRock, the name of the eco-friendly drywall coming from Serious, will cost more than standard drywall, but the premium won't be prohibitive, the company has said.

Serious makes samples of EcoRock now, but won't get into volume manufacturing for commercial sale until next year. However, it already sells QuietRock, a soundproof drywall, so it has an existing sales channel. Snoop Dogg bought some for his house.

QuietRock has also helped it establish a channel for sales for Serious, which is key in the conservative, slow-moving building materials market.

Foundation, meanwhile, is expected soon to announce an investment in a company that makes eco-friendly cement .

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    Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.

     

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