On October 21, Pangaea Ventures brought together senior thought leaders from some of the world’s largest companies, respected academics, venture capitalists and company creation evangelists for the 2015 Advanced Materials Commercialization Summit. As the name suggests, the goal was to share strategies and ideas on accelerating commercialization of advanced materials technologies. Themes included value chain roulette, partnership lessons learned, making the big bets and the recipe for a high multiple exit.
We feel that entrepreneurs and companies must get innovation and products to market faster if they are successfully going to solve the world’s biggest challenges. By the end of the day, the Vancouver convention center was buzzing with excitement from the insightful speakers and lively panel discussions.
Accelerating Materials Innovation Panel: Nicolas Gravel, BDC, Wendolyn Holland, Holland Consulting, Kurt Gielen, StartupBootCamp, Raphael Stargrove, Autodesk and Valerie Mann, Lawson Lundell
Alan Shaw, CEO of Calysta, Dr. Elicia Maine of SFU, Dr. Ilan Gur of Cyclotron Road (LBNL) and Rob Niven, CEO of CarbonCure
A global panel from Netherlands, Canada, Washington, DC and Silicon Valley discussed strategies on accelerating materials innovation. Nicolas Gravel from BDC, Wendolyn Holland from Holland Consulting, Kurt Gielen from Startupbootcamp and Raphael Stargrove from Autodesk said that incubators and accelerators need to compress commercialization timelines by matching problems with solutions and by helping companies network into partners and customers. Everyone has a role. Big companies can partner and develop an ecosystem. Accelerators and incubators can develop another layer of the ecosystem and small companies can create the innovation.
Josef Wuensch from BASF, Dr. Yi Hyon Paik from Samsung and Ed Williams from the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association played value chain roulette. Their key takeaway was that early-stage companies must focus on the “sweet spot” of the value chain where they add the most value. Dr. Paik warned companies not to go too far downstream for fear of disrupting customers.
Playing Value chain Roulette Panel: Purnesh Seegopaul, Pangaea Ventures, Joseph Wuensch, SVP Structured Materials of BASF, Ed Williams, Vice Chairman of Colorado Cleantech Industry Association, and Dr. Yi Hyon Paik, President and CSO of Samsung SDI
There was a lively panel that looked at partnering between large and small companies. Elin Miller of Marrone Bio Innovations, Michael Rosenberg of Novinda, and Kiersten Stead of Monsanto Growth Partners, agreed that the partnership must be a “win-win” relationship. But they had somewhat different views on the optimal timing and IP strategy. How much IP should a small company give away to get access to market and scale-up expertise is often a difficult issue.
Dr. Elicia Maine from SFU talked about a value creation model that included entering substitution markets with rapid IP capture.
Alan Shaw, CEO of Pangaea portfolio company Calysta, painted a recipe for high multiple exits that included a climb up Mount Everest and the belief that “excellence is everything”. He suggested that investors and CEOs throw B players off the bus. There is no room for mediocrity when building a successful company.
One of the best presentations came from Ilan Gur, founding director of Cyclotron Road. This is a new innovation platform for breakthrough energy technologies housed at Lawrence Berkley National Lab. Cyclotron Road has a model that accelerates extremely smart people with breakthrough innovation into market. He left us feeling that these innovators won’t be left behind.
About Pangaea Ventures
Pangaea Ventures is the world leader in advanced materials venture capital. We invest in companies solving global problems in the fields of energy, electronics, health and sustainability. Pangaea aims to make our world a better place by investing in entrepreneurs, operating lean, capital-efficient businesses enabled by breakthroughs in advanced materials.Pangaea and its portfolio companies benefit from the involvement of world-leading strategic Limited Partners: Asahi Glass, Asahi Kasei, BASF, Bekaert, Castrol innoVentures, Evonik, JSR Corporation, Mitsubishi Chemical, Murata Manufacturing, 9th Street Investments (a CoorsTek affiliate), Nitto Denko, SABIC, Samsung, Solvay, Toyota Tsusho, and Umicore.