from their website:
Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre were fascinated by mushrooms growing on wood chips, and observing how the fungal mycelium strongly bonded the wood chips together. This inspired them to think of new ways of using mycelium as a resin. In a class at Rensselaer, called Inventor’s Studio, they formulated a new process for binding together insulating particles, creating some remarkable materials that could replace Styrofoam™. Rather than just decreasing the environmental impact of conventional polystyrene foams, this invention created a whole new paradigm where composite materials are literally grown, harnessing the incredible efficiency of nature.
More about the history of the company here
The Ecovative Design home page is here