By Mark Ginocchio
February 9, 2008
For Jeff Marshall, saving the planet doesn't mean you should have to make sacrifices.
That's Marshall's mantra behind his new company - Green Earth Technologies Inc., which manufactures and markets environmentally friendly consumer products for cars, boats and gardens.
Green Earth, a publicly traded company that was founded last summer in California, is moving its corporate headquarters to the Waterside section of Stamford. Marshall, 52, of Greenwich, will be its president and chief executive officer.
"When building a company, there has to be a problem to solve," said Marshall, a longtime executive and venture capitalist who has helped many companies in his 30-year career. "This is a high-growth opportunity."
All of Green Earth's products - which include car and boat cleaners, motor oils and fertilizers - will be known by a green "G" on the label and marketed nationally. These cleaners are made from domestic materials.
Green Earth's cleaning products are primarily sugar-based, while the petroleum products are made from discarded beef tallow, which is no longer used in cooking because of fears of mad cow disease.
The company's headquarters will be in Stamford Landing off Southfield Avenue. Once established, Marshall expects from 25 to 30 employees to be based in Stamford.
Green Earth also will have employees at its laboratories in California and Oklahoma, a distribution plant in Michigan, its branding and marketing facility in Florida and its sales teams across the country, Marshall said.
The "G" line is the first of its kind to be released in the United States, but Marshall promised the cleaners and oils will be just as effective, if not more so, than those that are not all-natural.
"They can outperform the other products, and they are good for the environment," Marshall said.
Unlike other cleaners and oils, runoff from "G" products into the soil or water will not be harmful to the environment, Marshall said.
All lines will be sold at price points comparable with similar products on the market, he said.
With the country's green movement growing every day, investors and industry followers say they would not be shocked to see other products like Green Earth's enter the market.
"I think it's here somewhat to stay," said David Yarnell, managing general partner of BEV Capital, a Stamford-based venture capital fund focused on consumer-oriented businesses. "It's especially (marketable) when there's an entire line of products."
Officials from the Business Council of Fairfield County said they are not surprised by the growth of green-oriented companies.
"The green movement is making its mark on American business," said Lisa Mercurio, a spokeswoman for the council. "There seems to be a real appeal for environmental sustainability from both the consumer and the investor."
With his involvement with Green Earth, Marshall said he believes he's getting on the ground floor of an opportunity with incredible potential.
"It's a growing market, and over the next 10 years I see this as something as important as what the Internet was in the early '90s," he said.
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