Welcome to another episode of The Marketer’s Edge, a series designed to share senior level marketing perspective about marketer challenges, opportunities, and agency relationships. Our goal is to help marketers and agencies learn from other marketers across different industries. Today we are speaking with Dave Kettner, President & General Counsel at Virent, Inc.

Virent, Inc.

Located in Madison, Wisconsin, Virent is creating the low carbon chemicals and fuels the world demands using a wide range of naturally-occurring, renewable resources. Its patented technology features catalytic chemistry to convert plant-based materials into a full range of products identical to those made from petroleum, including gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and chemicals for plastics and fibers. The products are drop-in replacements that enable full utilization of existing logistics infrastructure without blending limitations.

What We Discussed:

In today’s interview with Dave Kettner, we discussed a wide variety of issues:

  • What kind of organization Virent is and what Dave does for them.
  • What it means to create products that are “drop-in replacements” and everything that entails.
  • What the competitive landscape looks like for Virent and how they differentiate themselves from similar offerings.
  • Being such a niche product, how they go to market.
  • The need within the renewable fuels and chemicals industry to create an interest in the consumer to want those products.
  • Their focus over the last few years on working with B2C businesses to communicate to and educate their customers on the possibilities out there.
  • Virent’s work with Patagonia to successfully manufacture its first fully biobased product, the SugarDown Hoody.
  • Their work with Japanese materials maker Toray Industries to mass-produce the world’s first 100% plant-based polyester.
  • The challenge of building awareness and educating businesses like Patagonia on what it means to be biobased, and the sustainability advantages associated with that.
  • Virent’s efforts to commercialize its BioForming® technology and promote that brand name.
  • The challenge of building and expanding refining capacity.
  • One of the industry’s biggest challenges: education and getting people to understand the full dynamics and the opportunities presented.
  • Virent’s historic contribution to the aviation industry as their bio-based fuel was used in the first commercial passenger flight using 100% sustainable aviation fuel.
  • Virent’s partnership with Johnson Matthey to further advance the commercialization of their BioForming® process for production of bio-paraxylene (PX), a key raw material for the production of renewable polyester.
  • Their possible need to work with marketing agencies in the future, something they have not had to do up to this point.
  • Advice he would offer to agencies seeking to win business from him.

Thanks Dave for a great interview! 

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