SPRINGBOARDET gennemføres på dansk, men dele af det skriftlige materiale vil være på engelsk.
The company has commercialized a groundbreaking, cost-competitive and scalable technology for applying unique nanometer-thin functional coatings on materials, creating surfaces that are adhesive, water-repellent/-attracting, antibacterial/antifouling, frictionless/high friction, etc.
The technology taps into huge markets with a global potential, but industrial adoption is slow.
The company’s groundbreaking and patent-protected coating technology allow for cost-efficient, eco-friendly tailoring of surface functions, and the company are first industrial actor to commercialize this type of coating at industrial scale for the broader market. The unique coatings enable manufactures to design products with added performance and value, cost reduction in processing or development of entirely new types of products. With a growing technology gap between modern 21st century products and manufacturing processes and contemporary adhesive and coating technologies, mainly developed back in the mid-20th century, there is a huge need and potential for smart and sustainable surface solutions.
Business model, customers, market and the competition
The business provides a small but growing revenue today through an inhouse coating service for small-scale customer and by conducting paid industry projects for larger-series customer that wants to implement the processes into their production line. The latter type of customer represents the breakthrough scalable revenue model, where the company provide the use of the technology under a license and supply the coating mixtures. The company conduct these projects primary through a three-step process, where after validation of the coating performance through the customer own product tests, reach a license agreement and support the customer in implementation and commission of the process in their production line (see figure below).
In addition, the company is planning to develop their own unique high-potential end-products but are in an early phase and they will require some time to reach market. The company has conducted roughly 30 industry projects for customer ranging everything from small local innovators in sensors and eyewear to the biggest actors in the automotive, electronics, advanced materials, energy and offshore industries.
The technology is tapping into several billion-dollar markets, including large portions of the 47-billion-dollar adhesive industry, and overlap with global industry trends, such as sustainable production, lightweight solutions and additive manufacturing. The main competitors are large adhesive and chemical actors entrenched in various segments of the target markets that relies on well-proven, but old technologies with inferior performance and limited potential for improvement. They do, however, have the advantage of economy of scale, household brands and established intimate connections with their customers.
The technology is global, and the company is also targeting the global industry already with customers in 17 countries. With the basis in the unique coating technology, alone a potential billion-dollar industry, the long-term ambition is to become a larger global supplier of advanced material solutions.
Leadership and team
Three of the company founders are leading academic experts on the coating technology and sits as owners and on the technical advisory board. The fourth founders, which is the current CEO, has a strong technical background combined with a business education and entrepreneurial mindset. Over time, a strong team of specialist (> 60% with PhDs) in the unique chemistry has been built and combined with resources in engineering and industrial development. The team is supported by a strong business advisory board of known industry actors, although experience from sales, strategic development, manufacturing and machine/equipment design is limited within the operating team.
The board consist of a representative from the current investor with long experience from business development (Chairman), the acting CFO which is a highly experienced executive from Danish and European companies and one of the founders from the technical advisory board, a renowned Danish Professor in the field.
The company is mainly funded through an investment from one of “Innovationsmiljøerne” made in 2016 and soft funding from both the Danish Innovationfund, MUDP and European funding. Current revenue covers ~1/3 of the running costs at current level. Funding is almost secured for 2020, but for continued operation beyond 2020 and needed investments to support developments as sketched below, the company is looking to secure further private investments and soft-funding in 2020 as the company does not believe that customer adaptation of the technology will be fast enough.
The company was heavily engaged from the founding in 2015 until early 2019 with technological development of the processes, first being ready from this year to launch more concentrated sales efforts. This has also provided an increase in revenue by almost 200% since 2018, mainly from the industry projects that the company have been able to sell at a higher price than in 2018. The revenue is, however, still far from covering running costs.
The company has mainly focused on development of adhesive coating solutions for hard-to-bond-material combinations, since this taps more directly into existing markets, the customers are easier to identify and because the company already has an industrial understanding for customer needs. However, although the company succeed in attracting many customers for the industry projects and delivers results that more than satisfy their requirements, the company is often facing challenges in taking the engagement to the next level towards serious discussion on implementation.
The planned next step is to secure funding for expanding the coating capacity, currently conducted by hand in laboratories. The company plan to invest in flexible more industry ready systems that will both dramatically increase capacity and cut costs – hence being able to target broader markets for the inhouse coating service. Besides being used for production to increase profit, these will also function as industrial demonstration systems that the company believe will reduce the perceived risk for the customers and accelerate the adoption of the more scalable license model.
Spørgsmål til panelet
o Salg af kemi og støtte til implementering hos kunden vs salg af færdig coatingudstyr?
o Op-skalering af vores inhouse coating kapacitet vs fokus på ekstern implementering?
- Hvordan identificere og overkomme barrierer og sælge opover i kundernes organisation?
- Hvordan indgå strategisk partnerskab for fælles udnyttelse af salgskanaler?
- Egne produkter
o Udvikling tager lang tid, hvad og hvordan prioriteres?
- Hvilken forretningsmodel giver bedst mulighed for kapitalrejsning
- Hvordan bliver virksomheden mest klar på 6 måneder
- Hvordan rejser virksomheden pengene (VC, corporate VC, Business Angel eller øget salg)?
- Med udgangspunkt i den øvrige diskussion (forretningsmodel, kapitalrejsning etc), hvilke kompetencer bør virksomheden få ind og hvornår?
o Organisation (ansættelser)
o Eksternt salg