Over the last several years, he said, "we've just really had our heads down working away" to fine-tune its entire patent-protected process and build its reputation among potential customers and partners.
"We've made a lot of improvements in our plant science (and) our extraction process when it comes to quality and quantity of natural rubber," he said, describing Kultevat as a closed-loop company. "And we actually have a proven network of farmers here in North America that have shown that they would like to have another rotational crop that they can actually make money from.
"It's kind of like if you build it, they will come," he said. "Well, we've been building it, and guess what, they are coming."
Kultevat has partners in multiple sectors of the rubber industry, including tire, footwear and apparel. Due to nondisclosure agreements, however, he could not confirm specific companies with which Kultevat works.
"We've already demonstrated the demand for the rubber through strategic partnering with some of those tire companies, apparel companies and footwear companies," Swiger said.
"Now we're at a point that these partnerships will start to bear fruit, meaning we'll be able to continue to grow as a company and expand and commercialize on the demonstration."
The industry is beginning to see the "need and want" of TKS, he said. "And (manufacturers are) willing to make the sacrifice and switch over, but it's just like anything else, it takes time."
TKS can be grown in 42 states and is currently growing in seven, meaning there's "a ton of room for growth" as Kultevat expands to other states.
"We're building it, we've been building it, and it will become … a very instrumental part in this rubber segment, because there is a need and a want," he said of growing TKS' position in the NR market.
"We, as the United States, are 100-percent dependent on a foreign import," Swiger said. "And it is (Kultevat's) goal to really make sure that we have a domestic source of natural rubber, regardless of what application you might be purchasing or introducing the product to, and to make sure that there is a secure pipeline of natural rubber—and I'll take it one step further—with superior high-performance properties."