CalStar raises $15 million in equity financing

Funding will aid in company’s continuing growth, expansion.

California-based CalStar Products Inc. has closed a $15 million equity investment to fund its continued growth and expansion of its green brick manufacturing business.

The largest investor in CalStar’s financing round was led by Nth Power, a venture capital group.

In late December, CalStar began making bricks in its first production facility in Caledonia. The 63,000-square-foot facility makes bricks using fly ash, a by-product of coal used at the nearby We Energies power plant.

Traditional bricks are made from clay and require as much as four days of baking time at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. CalStar’s bricks are “cooked” at less than 200 degrees for 24 hours, Thomas Pounds, CalStar’s chief executive officer, said previously. Pounds, who served previously as CalStar’s chief operating officer, was promoted to CEO earlier this month.

“We’re entering an era when carbon and energy efficient products that are competitively priced and deliver excellent performance in place are being specified by all of the leading architectural firms,” said Bryant Tong, managing director of Nth Power. “CalStar is well positioned to take market share immediately but it also has the potential to permanently replace supply from many of the nation’s shuttered brick plants.”

CalStar has already created a network of 29 brick dealers across the U.S. to serve the demand from architects, designers and builders for LEED certified buildings and sustainable hardscape projects.

Pounds said previously that CalStar hopes to operate a series of approximately six manufacturing facilities down the Mississippi Valley and East Coast after its Caledonia facility is running at full capacity. In January, the plant had about 15 employees. It will have approximately 35 workers when it reaches full capacity in the next two to three years, Pounds said.

To read a previous report on the CalStar facility, which includes a video interview with Pounds, click here.

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