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1. Strategic Meeting Chemie(-wende) Startup Scene

On Thursday, 6/22/2017, the 1st Strategic Meeting of the German Chemie(-wende) Startup Scene was hold in Berlin as part of the German Startup Association with friendly support from Covestro and Henkel


The knowledge trigged by digitalization as well as multidisciplinarity increases exponentially, hence one has to adjust the strategy to handle this: While in the past, the best strategy for corporations was to become technology leader in every field that was (or could become) important for its own business. It is obvious that this strategy won’t work in an exponentially changing environment. Companies won’t be able to build up in-house departments for all relevant knowledge that pop-ups. The pure mass will be overwhelming and the handling of external knowledge and innovations becomes crucial. The best performers in future will implement structures and processes that secure their access to this “swarm intelligence” that is already developing right now.

At the same time, the German chemical industry as of today is confronted with huge global challenges like climate change and the finite resource foundation. Societies need to regard to the safety and toxicology of chemicals that cannot be solved on a corporate level alone. The development of complete new chemical materials and sustainable production processes takes decades. Oriented research initiatives are needed for the speed up of “Chemiewende” in future.

Startups are an essential part of the described swarm knowledge. They are highly skilled micro units of experts who made in general a spin-off of a research institute. Startups are existential to act very agile, flexible, and adjustable to changes

Moreover, we have seen in other industries that startups are an adequate tool to bring scientific findings into industry and therefor, overcome the gap between science and market. A strong chemical startup scene will be essential to secure the industries’ as well as society’s needs to sustainable innovations in a global competing and changing market.

To boost the development of the chemical startup scene, startups from the whole federal republic followed the invitation of the German Startup Association. Together with a representative of Covestro, they worked on a strategic outlook and planned shared activities.



The most promising actions to strengthen the scene were derived that aim at the following goals:

1. Motivate students/ PhDs breadthways to found new startups (in collaboration with GDCh and Dechema)

2. Extend Chemistry4Innovation networking platform: - for getting early industry feedback; - solving technical challenges; - technical exchange between startups and corporations

3. Inform new investors of the huge, untapped opportunities of chemical startups and build an exclusive space to get in contact with this new scene

4. Facilitate and accelerate doing business with startups by implementing certain standard contracts of cooperation (NDA, handling IP, etc.)

5. Create a secured online platform for exchange and mutual support of business as well as learnings and key findings

6. Build a network with SME

7. Promote the digitalization in chemical industry by creating a digital chemistry subgroup



Dr.-Ing. Hans D. Kespohl, Vice President & Head of Business Model Innovation at Covestro AG: “I very much enjoyed the openness and lively discussions we had at the meeting. There are many options how startups and corporations can work together, but we need to build the right bridges. This circle clearly helps to understand what is missing and how to fix it."

The startups as well as the German Startups Association supporter committed themselves to actively work on the implementation of these goals in Germany, being confident that their realization could be achieved with some additional support.

Mirco Dragowski, Managing Director of the German Startups Association: “ChemTech startups are very important units in modern chemistry, when it comes to making innovative solutions available for the market and the consumers. Research facilities, established chemical companies and startups have to work together breadthways. I am very happy that we did the first step for that by setting up this platform.”


For the required internationalization of the German chemical startup scene, an engagement of additional players is necessary who upscale this essential movement. If you are interested in the chemical platform of the German Startups Association, please contact [email protected].