Sustainable Ocean Alliance Alumni
Santa Cruz, California
Cruz Foam is a provider of bio-benign, sustainable packaging solutions using our novel foam materials created by harnessing the fantastic natural properties of a material called chitin from discarded shrimp shells. Their technology, Cruz Foam, is helping empower industry leaders to truly be the catalyst for change towards a cleaner environment. By working with the largest brands in the world as they rethink their approach to foam packaging, the adoption of Cruz Foam for packaging and other solutions at scale will have a significant impact toward a cleaner environment and more rapidly impact change in the volume of plastic waste on our planet. Their chitin feedstock also removes waste from the environment while enriching the substrate in which it degrades, underscoring our triple bottom line impact.
About the founders
Cruz Foam was founded by John Felts and co-founder Marco Rolandi. They collaborated at the University of California at Santa Cruz to find a solution to plastic waste in the ocean. As fellow surfers, they initially focused on replacing polystyrene foam blanks for surfboards and thought there must be a better material to make this out of and clearly a kinder way to treat our planet. Combining Marco’s decades experience working with a material called chitin, the second most abundant biopolymer after cellulose on the planet, with John’s chemical and materials engineering background, they launched Cruz Foam.
John is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Cruz Foam. John holds a BS in chemical engineering from UC Santa Barbara and an MS in materials engineering from the University of Washington. John co-founded Cruz Foam in 2017 with the mission of saving our oceans and helping end the global epidemic of plastic pollution. He is an avid surfer and lives with his family in Santa Cruz, California.
Marco is a Board Member and co-founder of Cruz Foam. He is the Chair of UCSC Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the appointed Faculty Director of the UCSC Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development. Rolandi is also a scientific founder of KitoTech Medical, a Seattle-based medical device company launched in 2012 to develop a wound closure device. Then, at the University of Washington, Seattle, Rolandi joined the faculty at UCSC’s Baskin School of Engineering in 2015. In 2017, he earned a Stanford LEAD Certificate in Corporate Innovation through a year-long executive education program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.