Startups wanting to make it big in industrial spaces like manufacturing, freight, and supply chain often struggle in the early stages of gaining market entry.
Connecting with industry stakeholders and building traction within big, traditional companies is challenging for early-stage startups without warm introductions, especially when testing early prototypes, getting employee buy-in, and those first customers.
But today, that's about to change. Chemovator, the business incubator of BASF, opens its doors to startups outside of the company.
Chemovator provides deep-tech startups with early stage with access to expertise on the chemical value chain, access to BASF and many years of experience of the Chemovator team in business development and company building.
The teams benefit from mentoring, coaching and support from experienced entrepreneurs, investors and access to their network.
Startups receive financial support as well as advice, including in the areas of human resources, law, finance and marketing.
Fostering ideas for industrial sustainability
The incubator's opening comes at a time when the chemical industry is undergoing profound change. Important topics are renewable raw materials, circular economy and the reduction of CO2 emissions.
According to Markus Bold, Managing Director of Chemovator:
"The chemical industry is of central importance to the modern global economy. It converts raw materials into more than 70,000 different products. At the same time, it has also played a role in the emergence of some of the most pressing challenges facing our industry, society, and planet today. There are many opportunities for innovation here, and the chemical industry can be part of the solution.
Chemovator wants to contribute to this with its successful startups in the coming years."
In particular, Chemovator supports business models in sustainability and process, research and service optimisation. It also focuses on innovations in next-generation materials in fields such as fire protection, stabilisers for plastics, sustainable packaging and crop protection.
From ideas to spin out
Chemovator has a track record in developing scalable and investable business models from ideas that originated from within the company. BASF employees have presented more than 200 ideas, 30 of which were accepted into the program.
Three teams transferred back to BASF as portfolio additions and five companies were spun off, secured external funding, and successfully developed their business model.
An example is Loady, who has developed a digital platform for the logistics industry in response to the challenges of the road freight industry.
The logistics sector is highly fragmented, and the information flow is often manual, ambiguous, slow and error-prone.
In the chemical industry in Germany alone, more than 150.000 truck rejections — i.e., trucks can't be loaded or unloaded as planned, causing significant delay — could be avoided per year by using a standardised tool to manage logistics.
Loady helps shippers, customers, carriers, and truck drivers reduce their process costs, gain reliability, save time, and lower CO2 emissions.
Coworking startup 1000 Satellites has also spun out from BASF to offer decentralised coworking in Mannheim, Neustadt and Wachenheim. It raised €2.4M in Series A funding in March this year to aid further expansion.
Interested startups can apply via www.chemovator.com.
Lead image: Ousa Chea.