News & Insights

Meet Our Founders: John Starke


MyMatR- MICRO Fall 2021


Published April 14, 2022

Today, we introduce John Starke, founder of MyMatr in Raleigh, NC. MyMatR has developed the next generation of smart public waste containers. Waste is identified and automatically sorted into trash or recycling at the source of disposal.

Q: John, what problem are you trying to solve and what influenced you to start your company?

A: Inefficiencies in waste. Throwing away an aluminum can, even into a recycling container motivated me to determine how to capture value from that material.

Q: What are you most excited about right now? What keeps you up at night?

A: Improving the product by solving engineering challenges to help the customer’s problems.

Q: What have you enjoyed most about starting your own company?

A: I have really enjoyed seeing my own growth. I am growing in areas I didn’t even plan to stretch myself in when i started this journey. I find that I have less time or the luxury to negotiate myself out of my fears and that forces me to just act and grow past my perceived gaps. And even though I am working harder than I ever have, I love the flexibility of vision, thought and time being an entrepreneur affords me.

Q: What does the road ahead look like for your company?

A: Exciting. There has been a lot of positive feedback on the idea, and the prototype work as intended.

Q: How will your NC IDEA grant funds advance your company?

A: The funds will help us go from a beta prototype to finalizing a device that customers will be excited about.

Q: When did you know you wanted to take an entrepreneurial path?

A: Not entirely sure, but probably sometime within the last 4 years. I always enjoyed solving problems, especially engineering related. Had an engineering job for 4 years, and realized I could get more done if I set out on a more independent journey.

Q: What is one thing you wish you understood about entrepreneurship before you ever got started?

A: The level of complexity when dealing with a variety of “departments”.

While visiting Raleigh, John recommends:

  • Taking a walk around Umstead park in the morning

  • Going to Vinos Finos Tapas and Wine Bar in the early evening


Support John and My MatR by:

  • Providing feedback on the idea. The more diversity of thought discussing the problems and possible solutions the better.