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Business

Corporations pledge aid to chemical start-ups

by Marc S. Reisch
November 27, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 47

New chemical ventures don’t make money for their investors nearly as often as start-ups in life sciences and software do. To correct that imbalance, corporations need to step up and support young chemistry-related university spin-offs, David Bem, PPG Industries’ chief technology officer, said at a conference for entrepreneurs. A start-up whose technologies align with PPG’s interests might leverage a relationship with the paint maker to gain market and technology improvement insights, Bem said. Such a partnership could improve the value of the smaller firm’s business before it starts to raise funding in earnest. Bem spoke at the ACS Entrepreneur Summit, held in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14–15. ACS publishes C&EN. Chemical firms should set up start-up incubators, he suggested, like Google and Johnson & Johnson and other health care firms have. Others attending the summit, including executives from Procter & Gamble, Evonik Industries, Mitsui Chemicals, and Waters Corp., also endorsed the value of outside innovators to their businesses. Gerard Baillely, P&G’s vice president of R&D, said, “We need entrepreneurs to help guide us to success.”

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