1. What is the innovation?
When a severe summer storm hit Sydney with hailstones as big as tennis balls, experienced builder Matthew Lennox (Stormseal’s Founder and Managing Director) was tasked with repairs and reconstruction. Over the next two months, in wet and windy conditions, Matt saw several damage claims multiply due to leaking, flapping, flyaway tarpaulins.
Matt thought there must be a better way. So he invented Stormseal.
Stormseal is a strong polyethylene film that heat-shrinks to cover a damaged structure and stays put until permanent repairs are made. Matthew Lennox developed Stormseal’s patented roof cover system with polymer expert John O’Neill.
2. What benefit does it bring?
When a property is damaged, it will take 6-9 months on average for the insurance claim to be processed and for the structure to be permanently repaired.
For many, they have to live under a tarpaulin for that length of time. Tarpaulins flap in the wind, causing noise and making it difficult to sleep. They can also rip and blow away, which can lead to further leaking and property damage.
Stormseal stays put.
The Stormseal film heat-shrinks to cover a damaged structure, preventing further property damage. Stormseal has been impact tested against rain, wind, UV and hail. This minimises trauma and insurance costs by allowing residents to stay in their homes safely.
3. What commercial success and/or benefit to society has it achieved?
In 2016, Stormseal received an Accelerating Commercialisation grant from the Australian Government and established a national training program for Stormseal installers, working with Australia’s largest insurance groups and emergency responders. Hundreds of Australian homes have been protected with Stormseal.
Stormseal has since built manufacturing, distribution and training capacity to full operation in Europe and the USA, partnering with large insurance claims managers.
Stormseal is currently working hard to train Stormseal accredited installers in Florida and help Hurricane Michael victims return to their homes.
4. What lessons learnt can you share?
- Marketing is important. When I first invented Stormseal I thought “I don’t need marketing or a website.” Now, I realise how vital marketing is for a business.
- Commercialisation takes a lot longer and costs a lot more than you think.
- Australia is more conservative in adopting new technologies. The US seems much more willing to have a go. In fact, we have had more success in the US in the first six months then we have had in Australia in the first 3 years.
5. How many new jobs has this innovation created?
So far, Stormseal has created 2-3 jobs. It has also generated economic growth through its training, manufacturing, marketing and distribution partnerships.