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May 17, 2021 | Tom Ballard

Newest tenant at ETSU’s Innovation Lab is focused on research, product development, and manufacturing

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

After more than 30 years in academia and industry, most recently at Eastman Chemical Company, Mutombo Muvundamina decided he “wanted to do something on my own.” That “something” is a new company named Tendaya Technology Group.

Launched last September, the company includes five others – all seasoned scientists or engineers with a combined total of more than 150 years as experts in their fields – who form the company’s advisory board. Tendaya Technology is also the newest tenant at East Tennessee State University’s (ETSU) Innovation Lab, moving into its space at the beginning of this year.

“We provide research, product development, and manufacturing” Muvundamina told us in a cent interview. “We are also working to develop and commercialize novel materials for use in energy storage.”

He says those materials can be applied in green energy technology and medical technology platforms with specific focuses on polymeric membrane materials for use in high-capacity batteries for various applications, polymeric materials for use in biomedical-related applications, and adhesives and composite polymer film/adhesive for utilization in various applications, particularly electronic and energy storage.

Those areas of focus align well with Muvundamina’s more than 30 years of combined experience in academia and industry conducting research and product development in the fields of polymers, material processes, engineering processes, and formulation and manufacturing of various adhesives including hot melt, water based, solvent and reactive systems. These products were used in electronics, packaging, hygiene, automotive and general assembly. He also has expertise in surface science, coating, lamination and colloidal chemistry.

Muvundamina was a Research Scientist at H.B. Fuller Company for 18 years. Prior to joining H.B. Fuller, Muvundamina served for six years as an Assistant Professor in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering. His last industrial stop was at Eastman for more than five years before founding Tendaya Technology where he serves as Director of Technology.

As he works to grow the new company, Muvundamina says he expects the work for others to consume more of the team’s time than development of new materials, but he hopes that will change over time.

“Materials are being manufactured around the globe,” Muvundamina says. “We can evaluate them in terms of fitness for use.” A complete list of services can be found on Tendaya Technology’s webpage.

Muvundamina says joining the Innovation Lab was a logical decision.

“First of all, it’s an incubator,” he says. “That gives us proximity to other small companies. We can learn from them. It also provides access to ETSU expertise.”

In that regard, the Innovation Lab is assisting the company in establishing research collaborations with ETSU faculty and internship opportunities for ETSU students.

“We are very pleased that Tendaya Technology has joined the Innovation Lab and look forward to Dr. Muvundamina’s potential collaboration with faculty at ETSU,” stated Dr. William Duncan, vice provost of Research and Sponsored Programs.

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