Originally published on Forbes (June 2022)
There’s a fascinating twist to the origin story of Footprint, a Gilbert, Arizona-based maker of fiber-based packaging solutions, which was founded in 2014 with the objective of innovating new alternatives to plastic-based food packaging. The impetus for that goal came not from the food and beverage business or the packaging world, but from the microchip industry. “I spent 15 years at Intel,” said Troy Swope, co-founder and CEO of Footprint. “That’s important to this story. We have over 100 engineers, and the core of that group is from Intel. It’s central to who we are–we’re not from the industry we’re disrupting. We kind of stumbled onto plastic outgassing in [computer chip] wafers, and that brought us to the need to get plastic out of food.”
The company has grown substantially from its first two employees, founders Swope and his fellow Intel engineering alum Yoke Chung, now Footprint’s CTO, to over 2,600 full-time people today. Footprint has locations that include its Arizona headquarters, R&D center and manufacturing plant, a European R&D headquarters in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, and a second manufacturing site in Mexicali, Mexico. That growth has been supported by business from big names like Unilever, Tyson Foods, Procter and Gamble, Nestlé, Quaker Oats and Conagra. The company is off to a strong start in 2022, with first-quarter revenue up 133% year-over-year, and revenue on track to meet the company’s goal for the year of $135 million.
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