We Design New
Molecules for
New Materials

Building Blocks for New Materials

The potential for new materials and products is vastly underserved across most of our industrial applications. Only 14 fatty acids are used as material building blocks across the majority of industries; however, hundreds of fatty acids exist in nature. The diverse physical and functional properties of millions of products are enabled by these differing building blocks.

Checkerspot’s technology unlocks and expands nature’s palette of materials, and produces building blocks for new materials that can be scaled through commercial fermentation.

Nature has evolved over billions of years to deliver exquisite material building blocks that are unexplored or under-utilized because they don’t fit in the “industrial complex,” that defines itself by commodity scale and pricing. Our technology platform has the potential to enable the design—at the molecular level—of new materials.
We engineer microalgae to produce new molecular building blocks and apply chemistry, creating materials with novel physical properties, and ultimately we build these materials into parts and products we prototype.
Molecular Foundry

We use microbes found in nature that express a diversity of unique and previously untapped molecules to produce “building blocks” for materials. Our initial focus is on triglycerides, also known as oils. Our microbes make these oils through fermentation.

Chemistry & Materials Science

By expanding the palette of available building blocks, we can then apply novel chemistries to create materials with desired physical properties. Our initial focus is on high-performance polyurethanes and coatings made from our biobased oils.


Targeting specific use cases and applications, we design, prototype and test our materials in-use with state of the art manufacturing technologies.

Learn how we are applying this technology.


We are named after the Edith’s Checkerspot Butterfly, a threatened species endemic to California’s Sierra Nevada range. The butterfly symbolizes our commitment to the environment and to developing high-performance materials for better products – products that are better for our planet, and better for generations to come.

Small changes can have massive impacts, and we think changing the materials that are in products is a great place to start. With a design-centric approach we ask the question, “how can we make better products and make a positive impact?” Our integrated platform starts at the molecular level with the end product in mind.
Are you a designer, a materials scientist, or fabricator? How can new materials improve your products?