22 November 2022 • AlumsEntrepreneurship Mead '13 Wins at Grow-NY By Colin Spencer '19

Matthew “Mattie” Mead ’13, a co-founder of the hemp-based material business Hempitecture, won $500,000 in this year’s Grow-NY Food and Agriculture competition in Syracuse, New York, with the finalists pitching their businesses on Nov. 15-16.

Hempitecture was one of 20 food and agriculture startup finalists in this year’s competition, with a grand prize of $1 million. The business sells home and building materials made from hemp and other natural resources to reduce harmful waste and create more environmentally sustainable buildings. The company additionally offers installation, consulting and design services and training for industry professionals.

“It was an honor to take home a top prize at the Grow-NY contest,” says Mead. “After nearly 400 companies were vetted and 20 very strong companies made it to the final stage, it was anyone’s guess as to who would receive the awards.”

The competition identifies, supports and funds the top food, beverage and agriculture innovations across the world. The winners will commit to making a positive impact for startups located in Central New York, the Finger Lakes and the Southern Tier. 

The victory provides Hempitecture with the opportunity to expand into the East Coast from its current base in Ketchum, Idaho.

“We are so thankful for the support we have received along the way, from our mentor to our team, to local and regional economic development officials,” says Mead. “We look forward to deploying the funds and setting up a presence in the region.”

Centennial Center Entrepreneurial Fellow Ed Bizari served as a mentor to Mead during the competition.

As a student, Mead was a final contestant in the HWS Pitch competition in 2013. Along with his high school friend Tommy Gibbons, Mead founded Hempitecture in 2018. In 2020, Mead and Gibbons were featured in Forbes’ “30 Under 30” for their work with Hempitecture. 

Mead majored in Architectural Studies and minored in Environmental Studies and Studio Art at HWS.

The company constructed the country's first public-use building made of hempcrete, hemp-based building materials that absorb carbon dioxide emissions and improves insulation.