‘Damaged houses became ruined waiting for repairs. I saw not just physical impacts and financial losses, but terrible mental and emotional suffering, which continued long after the storm was over,’ says Matt.
‘I knew that severe storms were becoming more common around the world. I was determined to find a better solution than tarps for protecting damaged properties.’
Matt put his frustration to work. He spent the next five years consulting with John O’Neill, one of Australia’s leading chemical polymer engineers, to develop Stormseal: a strong, durable polyethylene film that heat-shrinks to cover a damaged structure and stays put until permanent repairs are made.
Two patents have been granted for the Stormseal film and its innovative application method. In 2009, Matt demonstrated Stormseal on The New Inventors for ABCTV. Based in Rockdale NSW, Stormseal Industries P/L was incorporated in 2015 and received an Accelerating Commercialisation grant of $450k from the Australian Government in 2016.
‘We were absolutely ecstatic when the news broke that we were successful,’ says Justin Gallagher, Stormseal’s Sales and Marketing Director.
‘The grant enabled us to establish nationwide systems for installer training and distribution in Australia, and to continue building our partnerships with insurers and their networks of contract builders and roofers, as well as emergency responders, creating capacity for rapid scale up for disaster relief.’
In 2017, Stormseal entered the US and European markets, and was selected from hundreds of innovative and highly commercial Australian companies that are changing the world, as the winner of Anthill’s SMART 100. For building both economic and social resilience to climate change, Stormseal went on to win the Global Social Impact Award in the 2019 Australian Technologies Competition.
Stormseal has now protected more than 9,000 buildings across the globe, including homes and businesses damaged by major storms such as:
- Hurricane Michael in Panama and Florida in October 2018;
- The December 2018 Sydney hailstorm;
- The Bahamas following Hurricane Dorian in August 2019.
- The major hailstorms in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne in January 2020. This included covering 25,000m² of damaged roofs in Canberra.
‘That’s what it’s all about,” says Matt. “Alleviating the trauma, preventing further damage and enabling people ravaged by storms to get on with life.’
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