Imagine, you have just formalized your million dollar idea with a functional prototype and successful field tests with first customers. Your idea is a super adhesive with unique properties. It has the potential to disrupt industries and you see customer demands rising. Now you must commercialize and launch the product, ideally globally. But the question is, where do you start and where can you get the resources necessary to launch your product?
HENKEL TECH VENTURES – HENKEL’S GATE TO THE STARTUP WORLD
Through a colleague of yours you get introduced to Henkel, a leading global manufacturer of formulated materials, (like adhesives) that is always on the lookout for ways to scale innovative technologies across their global customer base. Imagine if you could make use of their customer access and collaborate with them? That is the moment where Henkel Tech Ventures gets involved. By linking Henkel’s core business with beneficial startup technologies, Henkel Tech Ventures establishes meaningful partnerships where both sides profit and grow from the collaboration.
HOW WE SCOUT FOR STARTUPS
We are the corporate venture capital unit of Henkel Adhesive Technologies and our mission is to find attractive collaboration partners that complement Henkel’s portfolio in material science. Through our Henkel network and with the help of four partner VC funds, we are able to create a large deal flow. We scout 3,000 startups every year and are running 40 active collaborations. We are intrigued by innovative ideas that match our search fields, which are Scalable Technology Platforms, New Business Models, 3D-Printing and Printed Electronics. At the core of our activities, we provide our startup collaborations with a strategic link to Henkel’s existing businesses. This way the startup can make the most of our expertise and market access.
HOW WE WORK
‘Collaborate to Innovate’ is not just our motto, it also defines our way of working. From the first meetings with startups, where we discuss their technology, the key performance criteria, and how they stand out, through the entire collaboration process and to the finalization, we remain closely connected with our partners. This allows us to freely adapt our support at every point of the partnership and quickly respond to any external changes.
The most important thing to us is being radically transparent and honest and about the goals of the collaboration from the very beginning. This is essential when building a successful collaboration and investment plan to ensure that the interests of all parties are met. The unique support we provide to startups is completely dependent on their individual needs: Be it mentoring, market and customer access, technical support, or in selected cases even a financial investment of up to €5m; everything is possible. As the matchmakers between Henkel and the startup world, we are able to offer access to any of the Henkel resources our partners need.
Together, we discover what is required to help startups increase their potential. As an example, we invested in Copprint, a nanotechnology company in Israel, “we used the investment to scale our production level. Two and a half years ago we could only produce 200 grams of ink per month. Today, we topped 1 ton of ink per month (May 2020, editor’s note)”, Ofer Shochet, CEO from Copprint.
HOW HENKEL TECH VENTURES WAS BORN
The idea for Henkel Tech Ventures was born at work. While looking for new business opportunities for Henkel, we identified the market for high-performance barrier layers for OLED and quantum dot films as an attractive, emerging market. At this point in 2014 we did not have the internal resources at Henkel to develop this technology ourselves, so we started looking for companies who had already developed and begun working with display films to complement our own production routine. And that is when we found Vitriflex. A startup which was producing the barrier layers at a reasonable cost. Vitriflex became our first investment, followed by DropWise in June 2015, another startup focused on high performance coatings. Step by step we dug deeper into the topics of capital venturing and at the end of 2016 we launched Henkel Tech Ventures.
OUR ROLE IN THE FUTURE OF ADHESIVES
We have started expanding our venturing business internationally. Currently we have hubs in Düsseldorf, in Boston near MIT and Harvard, in Israel close to the Technion University and Hebrew University, and in China. As trend scouts for Henkel, we aim to discover new markets and market potential to create great products to serve these markets. In September, we will launch our digital communication platform followed by our Collaboration Week in November. Through these channels, we aim to share our knowledge with our colleagues at Henkel. Promoting fascinating ideas and supporting passionate teams - this is how we want to make our contribution to the future of Henkel Adhesive Technologies.