Maine businesses boosted by rural tech fund with European roots.

February 29, 2024


  • RuralWorks Partners is investing in Maine-based enterprises utilizing proven European technologies.
  • American Unagi is revolutionizing the eel industry with recirculating aquaculture systems, while TimberHP is producing sustainable building insulation.

What are the chances that the first two investments of a fledgling fund focused on boosting rural economic development in the U.S. would be Maine-based enterprises using technologies with a track record in Europe, but unknown here? RuralWorks Partners’ initial impact investments—American Unagi and TimberHP—are shaking up their respective industries by harnessing proven technologies in aquaculture and insulation production.

RuralWorks Partners Backing Revolutionary Enterprises

RuralWorks Partners, launched in 2022 by Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Community Reinvestment Fund, USA and Conduit Capital US, is aimed at improving wealth, economic and climate resilience, and job creation in rural communities. The fund, led by Chief Investment Officer Skip Wyer, has made strategic investments in American Unagi and TimberHP, setting the stage for potential growth and innovation.

American Unagi: Disrupting the Eel Industry

American Unagi, founded by Sara Rademaker in Maine, is changing the game in the eel industry by introducing recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) to bring European technology stateside. Rademaker’s mission to boost the domestic fish industry led her to revolutionize the way eels are grown, processed, and distributed in the U.S., making the process more efficient and environmentally friendly.

TimberHP: Sustainable Insulation Innovation

TimberHP, co-founded by Joshua Henry and Matthew O’Malia, is making waves in the building insulation sector by producing sustainable insulation products from waste wood fiber. By leveraging European technologies and expertise, the company aims to reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption while offering a cost-effective alternative to traditional insulation materials like fiber glass and foam.