About Universal Matter

Universal Matter has developed cleaner, faster, and less expensive technology to commercialize graphene, a carbon-based nanomaterial with multiple applications. Our proprietary Flash Joule Heating process can convert inexpensive carbon sources into ultra-thin graphene layers with an almost unlimited number of applications.

Headquartered in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, with U.S. headquarters in Houston, Universal Matter’s vision is to build on its strong R&D foundation to scale its production process and become the world’s leading supplier of lower cost and higher quality graphene materials from petcoke, agricultural feedstocks, recycled plastic, recycled rubber and coal.


Our Milestones

Our Milestones

Potential for GHG reduction and Industrial Upcycling (Industry 5.0)

  • Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality and environmental value.
  • The goal of upcycling is to prevent wasting potentially useful materials by making use of existing ones. This reduces the consumption of new raw materials when creating new products. Reducing the use of new raw materials can result in a reduction of energy usage, air pollution, water pollution and even greenhouse gas emissions.
  • The flash graphene process can convert inexpensive carbon sources, such as coal, petroleum coke, biochar, and carbon black into graphene. Additionally, previous waste or low value recycling streams such as discarded food and mixed plastic waste can also be effectively converted into graphene via this new process. Finally, this process uses no reactor/furnace, no solvents and no reactive gases.

Our Team

Our leadership team includes renowned scientists specializing in chemistry and nanotechnology, as well as a highly successful cleantech entrepreneur with a deep background in chemistry.

John van Leeuwen

John van Leeuwen

CEO & Founding Partner

  • 1996-2015 - EcoSynthetix Inc., (TSX:ECO) – Co-founder & CEO, Took company from start-up to largest Cleantech IPO ($105M on $500M valuation)
  • 2011 E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year for Cleantech, ON
  • 2012 Deloitte Fast 500 Technology companies: EcoSynthetix #9 in NA
  • Tech Inspirations – $70M VC fund focussed on Cleantech and S/W
  • Baan Software – Built NA business to $54M in 6 years leading to $6.8B IPO on Nasdaq in 1995
  • Strohn CIM Systems – Built a CAD/CAM/CAE solutions distribution business - sold in 1992
  • Shell Chemicals & Monsanto – 7 years in plastics industry
  • BSc in Applied Chemistry, U of Waterloo
Dr. Jim Tour

Dr. Jim Tour

Scientific Advisor & Founding partner

  • Inventor: Dr. James Tour, Rice University, Houston, TX
  • The NanoCarbon Center, Dept. of Chemistry, Dept. of Materials Science and Nanoengineering, Department of Computer Science
  • Top 50 most influential scientist in world (living)
  • Inducted into the National Academy of Inventors in 2015 and "Scientist of the Year" by R&D Magazine in 2013
  • Top 10 chemist in the world over the past decade by Thomson Reuters in 2009
  • 3rd most prolific graphene inventor in the world: 153 research publications, 41 US & 71 international patents
Dru Kefalos

Dru Kefalos

Chief Marketing Officer

  • Successful leader over 28 years with ExxonMobil Chemical across five different businesses; 10 years as an executive with global responsibility in both Marketing and Supply Chain functions
  • Vital position in divestment of ExxonMobil Chemical Films business and lead role in transition of that business to new owners
  • Led noteworthy turnaround of highly distressed Films business in <18 months for new owners
  • First employee and executive in newly formed JV based upon novel carbon nanotube solution for energy storage devices; Helped build organization and business over 3 ½ years.
  • Mentor with National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps program
  • Judge with Mass Challenge competition that strengthens the global innovation ecosystem by accelerating high-potential startups across all industries
Guy Hoffman

Guy Hoffman

Chief Financial Officer

  • Co-founder and Partner of Chambers Energy Capital
  • 20+ years as an energy investor and Investment manager
  • BBA, Texas A&M University; MABS, Dallas Theological Seminary
Peter van Ballegooie, PhD

Peter van Ballegooie, PhD

Vice President Strategic Planning

  • Pansophy Consulting Inc., President & Founder; Consultancy in CleanTech space to assist SMEs in developing and delivering their strategic objectives
  • EcoSynthetix Inc. (TSX:ECO), VP, Corporate Development; set up and led Marketing & Business Development teams across multiple product lines and vertical markets.
  • DuPont de Nemours (NYSE:DD), New Business Development Leader in Building Innovations; developed strategic plans for new product/market launches via direct and distributor channels.
  • DuPont Dow Elastomers L.L.C., Global Marketing Mgr.; led global marketing efforts for company’s synthetic chloroelastomer businesses.
  • Dow Europe S.A., Sr. Opportunity Analyst & Market Development Mgr.; evaluated and captured new business opportunities within automotive markets.
  • PhD (Chemical Engineering; University of Waterloo); MBA (Wilfrid Laurier University).
Vladimir Mancevski, PhD

Vladimir Mancevski, PhD

VP Of Engineering

  • 1997-2019 - President and Chief Technology Officer, Xidex Corporation. Designed key semiconductor industry tool for circuit edits for the next generation IC development. Demonstrated the first method for growing a carbon nanotube tip directly on a silicon probe
  • Expert in the field of nanomaterials
  • Principal Investigator for 22 SBIR/STTR grants by various US government agencies and several industrial contracts. Managed and coordinated joint R&D with several leading universities and national labs. Reviewer for the National Science Foundation
  • PhD, Physics and M.Sc. Mechanical Engineering - University of Texas at Austin, TX
  • 12 US patents, 4 pending patents, 6 research publications
Duy Xuan Luong, PhD

Duy Xuan Luong, PhD

Senior Scientist

  • Inventor and first author of the Nature publication for the graphene synthesis from Flash Joule Heating process.
  • Principle Investigator for DOE grant.
  • Reviewer for American Chemical Society, Wiley, Elsevier and Nature.
  • Expert in graphene synthesis/application and Flash Joule Heating chemistry
  • 8 patents, 23 research publications, 5 first author publications.
  • PhD and M.S.c Applied Physics, Rice University
Dr. Michael Shtein

Dr. Michael Shtein

Scientific Advisor

  • 2014-present - Dotz Ltd. (ASX: DTZ) - technology leader, specializing in the development and marketing of novel advanced materials used for tracing, anti-counterfeiting and product-liability solutions.
  • PhD, Nanotechnology, graphene - Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel

Join The Universal Matter Team