Z Spools Reflection 8

Having received correspondence from Filabot and Davidson’s Venture Pitch Fund, this

was quite an eventful week. The good news first: I received a signed Non-Disclosure Agreement

from Filabot. Not just this, but through LinkedIn, I was able to contact and speak with Tyler

McNaney, the CEO of Filabot and a Forbes 30 under 30! I was able to introduce myself in the

following message:

3D Printing with Invasive Species

Dear Mr. McNaney,

My name is Lorena James, and I am the founder of Z Spools. My early stage

startup manufactures 3D printing filament out of invasive species found in the

Great Lakes.

This startup arose out of a senior thesis project completed at my high school in

Buffalo, NY. This project involved competing in Erie Hack, a pitch competition in

Cleveland, OH centered around the theme, “innovation around Lake Erie.” As a

native of Buffalo NY, I have grown up around this body of water and have

experienced both its beauty and its negative qualities, many of which involve

invasive species.

At Erie Hack, I pitched a business plan that would lessen the detrimental affects

of zebra and quagga mussels (two of the most prominent invasive species in Lake

Erie) and provide a new type of biodegradable 3D printing filament. I won this

competition with Z Spools and, as a result, gained financial support and

mentorship from the Cleveland Water Alliance, Ohio State University, the

University at Buffalo, 43 North, and Davidson College.

I would not have been able to accomplish much of this work without the services

and materials provided by Filabot. I have experience working with your PLA

pellets, EX2 Extruder, Spooler, and Airpath; I have nothing but good things to say.

I look forward to continuing this relationship with Filabot as I continue with my

3D printing, environmental, and business endeavors; by the end of the month, I

will send some Z Spools materials to Filabot as to take advantage of your Plastic

Extrusion Testing Services.

Thank you for such exceptional and supportive services; I anticipate what is to

come with Filabot and Z Spools!


Lorena James

Davidson College 2021

Z Spools, Founder

In response, Mr. McNaney expressed interest in writing a Filabot blog post about Z Spools! In

the upcoming weeks, I will move forward with this relationship along with filament testing with



In other news, unfortunately, I was not chosen as a Finalist for the Venture Fund Pitch

Competition. While this competition was worked into my syllabus, as always, I must change and

adapt. So, I now plan to organize a final presentation in May as to showcase my work with Z

Spools at Davidson. This presentation will allow me to not just provide a business pitch, but a

more cumulative view of Z Spools and my work thus far.

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Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Davidson College