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Start-ups invited to a cleantech showoff

Ten successful applicants will get a chance to pitch their technology to large firms

by Marc S. Reisch
January 10, 2018 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 96, Issue 3

Credit: Apple
GC3 is looking for cleantech start-ups whose technology could benefit electonic devices such as Apple's iPhone.
A photo of the Apple iPhone X.
Credit: Apple
GC3 is looking for cleantech start-ups whose technology could benefit electonic devices such as Apple's iPhone.

Ten sustainable chemistry and materials start-ups could get an expense-paid trip to present their technology at a green chemistry conference this spring. There, competitors will vie for investments, joint development agreements, and licensing deals from more than 100 large companies.

Winners will get to make a 10-minute pitch to companies such as Apple, BASF, Johnson & Johnson, and L’Oreal at the green chemistry conference, to be held at Eastman Chemical’s headquarters in Kingsport, Tenn., on May 8.

The Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (GC3), which sponsors the conference, has posted an application for would-be participants that have novel technology in areas such as adhesives, coatings, flame retardants, and ingredients for consumer products. The deadline for applying is Feb. 16, says Monica Becker, codirector of GC3, a group of chemical firms, product makers, and retailers interested in bringing clean technology to market.

Even applicants that aren’t chosen to take part in the event could benefit from applying, Becker says. “We’ll still share their application with 16 companies who submitted a ‘needs list’ to us,” she says.

Becker adds that GC3’s main goal is “to connect the start-ups to large companies and even retailers with private label businesses” who are seeking sustainable and biobased solutions.

The list of technology needs compiled by GC3 includes bonding agents without isocyanates, nonchromate corrosion inhibitors, alternatives to the solvent N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone for electronics manufacturing, and recycling technologies for textile blends that include spandex. “We’re looking for start-ups that are beyond concept and have some solid technology to offer,” Becker says.

The competition is a first for GC3, which is using the approach to attract a bigger and more geographically diverse group of companies. Two prior conferences included mostly U.S.-based start-ups and some from Europe, Becker says.

An inspiration, Becker notes, was AkzoNobel’s 2017 Imagine Chemistry start-up competition, intended to ferret out novel technology the Dutch company could use. About 1,000 start-ups registered for the first-time competition. Twenty were invited to pitch their technology at an event last June, and 10 were selected to receive support from the chemical firm. AkzoNobel has just issued a new call for start-ups to participate in another Imagine Chemistry event at the end of May.



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