Successful materials development through suitable enablers

Revolutionary products are often based on equally revolutionary material innovations. According to forecasts by the EU Commission, the market value of such materials will increase to around 230 billion US dollars by 2030 - with correspondingly multiple value creation potentials. For this to happen, however, it is not enough for materials start-ups to be particularly innovative. The importance of materials as a cost factor is also constantly increasing for customer companies. Therefore, a deeper understanding of the enablers - i.e. the success factors surrounding the product - is indispensable. As a technology group, Heraus has extensive experience in identifying and successfully implementing precisely these enablers for start-ups.

Typical production-related enablers that Heraeus optimises as a partner, accelerator or investor of materials start-ups are, for example, the appropriate processing technologies, equipment and process parameters. Particularly with regard to the cost issue and their own competitiveness, customer companies want to be able to improve their raw material and material efficiency and use high-performance substitute materials and recycling processes. In the same way, the start-ups must also be able to score in non-production success factors such as customer centricity, early customer dialogue or an understanding of the customer's value chains and decision-making processes. In both enabler groups, materials start-ups benefit from the technology group's experience in some of the world's most demanding markets such as medicine, electronics, semiconductors, the automotive industry or aerospace technology when working with Heraeus.

Added to this is Heraeus' many years of experience in dealing with materials start-ups themselves. Since 2015, the company has developed seven such start-ups in a corporate incubator, participated in others and also launched one of the few materials accelerators in the world.

At a glance

Success factors of materials start-ups with Heraeus

Ilka Luck

"Since materials are always a means to an end, it is essential for the success of a material and process start-up to seek contact with potential customers as early as possible and as intensively as possible," says Ilka Luck, Head of Heraeus Aerosol Deposition. "This is the only way to really anticipate customer needs and take new requirements into account immediately."

Hans Jürgen Wachter

"The right partnerships are also important," adds Jürgen Wachter, head of the Heraeus corporate start-up AMLOY. "As a corporate start-up, we have the support of the Heraeus Group behind us - nevertheless, strategic cooperation with machine manufacturers, research institutes and multipliers are extremely important - external start-ups should take these considerations into account early on."

Franz Vollmann

"Many material start-ups are created in the university sector," says Franz Vollmann, head of the corporate start-up Heraeus Printed Electronics. "Founders from this environment often focus strongly on the technical solution. However, to successfully launch a start-up, a focused business case is needed early on. This is the only way founders can achieve profitability for their ideas."