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CEOCFO Magazine, PO Box 340
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Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
Steve Alexander, Associate Editor
Bud Wayne, Marketing
& Production Manager
Christy Rivers -
R. Matt Villarreal
Interview conducted by:
Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor
Published – January 31, 2022
CEOCFO: Mr. Villarreal, what is the overall vision behind Infinite Composites?
Mr. Villarreal: Our vision is to create a world where composite products are as ubiquitous as metal products. To make this vision a reality, we are accelerating space exploration and sustainable transportation by replacing heavy metallic materials with ultra-
CEOCFO: What is wrong with the way we store today?
Mr. Villarreal: You have a variety of different types of gas storage technologies that are considered pressure vessels. Basically, they store gasses and cryogenic fluids under pressure. Right now, more than 95% are made from metal.
CEOCFO: Where were some of the challenges in creating this material?
Mr. Villarreal: There are a lot of challenges solving problems at the edge of physics. Neither my cofounder nor I had technical backgrounds when we began Infinite Composites. My background was in business administration and entrepreneurship and my business partner’s was in advertising and public relations. Luckily, I always had a passion for solving physics and engineering problems, which is what inspired me to start the company.
The biggest challenge with this type of technology is creating and controlling scalable manufacturing processes because on a fundamental level, we are storing the smallest molecules in the known universe in extreme conditions, and under immense pressure with string and glue. Metal tanks are well studied, and there is a lot of history of manufacturing using metal in these types of vessels, so there is a lot of baseline knowledge available. Cutting-
CEOCFO: What is the competitive landscape?
Mr. Villarreal: There are two other companies to my knowledge that have built what are called Linerless Composite Pressure Vessels. Neither has had a huge amount of commercial success and their strategies seem to be more academic. They may not have the entrepreneurial or aggressive approach to selling their products on a large scale, so they will stay small. There are not too many tanks on the market with our exact technology, but other direct competitors who have legacy technologies are quite numerous. Some are multi-
CEOCFO: Who is buying your products now and how are you reaching out?
Mr. Villarreal: The kinds of groups that are buying our products are private companies developing new vehicles and infrastructures like SpaceX, Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, as well as government agencies like NASA, the U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Army.
We have had an overwhelming number of inbound inquiries from customers around the world. One of our biggest challenges now is being able to respond to all these inquiries promptly. Some of these inquiries can be quite simple, but when we work with large spacecraft programs and their requirements and documentation, the estimates & proposals can become quite complex. It can take a lot of work to respond to some of the requests.
CEOCFO: When someone reaches out to you can you tell if they are really interested or who is just looking for information?
Mr. Villarreal: For the most part, we can tell who is serious with a few simple questions, but sometimes it can be challenging. The companies that ask the most questions or have the most specific requirements are usually more serious than others. However, because we work with companies ranging from small startups raising their first round or building their first vehicle, to huge companies like Lockheed Martin, the dialogue can be quite different. You can usually tell if they know what they are talking about, they have the budget & the time, and they have a specific use case for it. It is easy to tell when they are serious.
CEOCFO: There are two things on your site I would like to ask you about. One, up to 90% lower cost and reduced development cycles. How important are those features?
Mr. Villarreal: Those aspects can sometimes be contradicting. You think you may be able to get either speed, quality, or cost. However, because we eliminated that metal out of the equation, we can get all three. We price our products according to the end-
As the demand keeps creeping its way up, our customers are willing to pay more to get their project expedited to get certain customizations completed. We found that the terrestrial and commoditized applications are much more price-
CEOCFO: Do you have any standard products or is everything custom?
Mr. Villarreal: We do have existing designs that we offer our customers. Currently, we do not have any tanks that can just be instantaneously purchased by anyone, but that is something we are looking to do in 2022. It just takes a lot of testing and certification, as well as a lot of resources and capital to get those certifications.
Mostly, we cater to our customers’ specific requests. Often, they are niche products that need to be perfectly fit into a very tight space in a spacecraft or similar vehicle. Custom-
CEOCFO: Do you need to maintain an inventory of parts? Are there supply chain problems for you today?
Mr. Villarreal: Most of our current manufacturing is just-
CEOCFO: Are you seeking funding, investment, partnerships, as you look to grow?
Mr. Villarreal: We are constantly entertaining all sorts of strategic opportunities. We launched an equity crowdfunding campaign on Spaced Ventures, where both accredited and non-
We are raising capital from institutional investors as well this year, and also exploring a few different partnership opportunities.
CEOCFO: Would you tell us about recognition in the Forbes Next 1000?
Mr. Villarreal: Being on a Forbes list has been a dream of mine since I was a kid, so I was very happy to be listed in the first cohort of the Next 1000. I am very honored to be considered one of the top entrepreneurs redefining the American Dream. It was kind of a spontaneous opportunity where someone reached out to me via email, and I let it sit for a while. I did not fill it out, but closer to the deadline, I got a lot more motivated. It was an exciting opportunity. Once I was listed, we gained a lot of publicity and received a lot of interest from people who wanted to hear our story, as well as investors and customers. It has been great.
CEOCFO: What surprised you as the company evolved?
Mr. Villarreal: One of the things that surprised me the most is the challenges that come with managing a growing team, especially a team with many incredibly intelligent engineers and technical experts. Keeping everyone moving in the same direction when you have a lot of smart, creative people can be a major struggle without the proper structure and processes.
Another surprise was how our go-
CEOCFO: Why pay attention to Infinite Composites; what sets the company apart?
Mr. Villarreal: We are creating a new product category for storing compressed and cryogenic gasses, and a lot of people do not truly understand how ubiquitous products are in our everyday lives on earth and in space. Everything in space must be pressurized for people to travel, live, and breathe, all in pressurized environments. On Earth, the importance of pressure vessels is becoming more mainstream with alternative energy like hydrogen and natural gas ramping up. The tanks are one of the most critical components of any of these systems and one of the biggest. They are already ubiquitous in a lot of areas, but they are becoming more and more critical to the development of a lot of large industries.
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“We are accelerating space exploration and sustainable transportation by replacing heavy metallic materials with ultra-