07/01/2022 | Process Innovation

Start-Up Stars

Not every industry is known for its start-up culture. But initiatives such as the one featured here go a long way to encourage new names to join the entrepreneurial upwave currently sweeping Europe.

Europe is fast becoming something of a hub for start-ups; surprising perhaps when you think that only a few years ago, many of its leading lights were considered overly traditional and even, when seen in a global context, somewhat risk-averse compared to the sort of corporate landscapes that were producing corporate game-changers such as Amazon and Facebook.
But recent years have seen something of a sea-change with hotspots emerging in the likes of Berlin, London and Oslo turning the heads of investors – and with countries such as Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands heralding new levels of digital excellence within arguably the world’s largest, and geographically advantaged economy.
This, in part, thanks to a new breed of entrepreneurs emerging from a culture that embraces confidence over caution within the knowledge that, if they can make a case to back a good idea, there are those who will be more than willing to listen, from home-grown angels to those in Silicon Valley who may be prepared to travel.
And while this embraces all sectors, the process industries have traditionally been comparatively slow in getting on board, thanks to a number of factors such as a lack of inspiring role models, a shortage of economic education and the abundance of safe, well-paid corporate jobs that are hard to break free from. High levels of investment and time to market, particularly in the case of chemical processes, were another block to what could be a thriving start-up landscape.
All of which is why, for the third time, entrepreneurial scientists, future founders and owners of start-ups were invited to apply for the ACHEMA Start-Up Award. Its significance is clear:  innovations within chemistry, process engineering and biotechnology can fundamentally improve technologies and products on a broad scale. Organisers pointed out at the launch of the initiative: “People with good ideas as well as young companies, need support in order to bring innovations to the market and open up new business fields. This requires access to experienced mentors, a strong network and financial resources.”
The difference this time is that the call-out was on an international scale, one that resulted in more than 30 applications being put before an expert jury who selected the best ten on the basis of their business plans and sheer innovation. All ten of them will be at ACHEMA 22 in August where they will be able to demonstrate their ideas, take part in networking discussions and three of the best will win prizes, or in more practical terms – cash-injections - of €10,000 each.
Meanwhile, here are the ten finalists and a brief description of their offerings:

  • Carbon Minds is a data analytics startup which uses a proprietary digital model of the global chemicals and plastics industry to offer its clients informative transparency about the environmental impacts facing global supply chains.
  • Cenios is focused on the development of next generation of point-of-care test kits for the absolute quantification of analytes. The kits are intended to be used as an alternative to therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM). The new products are designed to reduce the cost and time of clinical measurements more than 100 fold in comparison to standard methods of HPLC or ELISA.
  • ESy-Labs GmbH is something of a pioneer in electrifying the chemical industry, developing processes for the electrosynthesis of organic chemicals based on high-throughput screening and artificial intelligence.
  • Lumatix Biotech seeks to improve the availability and affordability of antibody products by developing the concept of a light-controlled affinity matrix as a superior alternative to Protein A chromatography.
  • Phaidra creates AI-powered control systems for industrial processes. Its nocode software enables domain experts to specify which performance metrics they want to optimise, along with the operating parameters. Phaidra’s reinforcement learning algorithms then determine and automatically implement the process setpoints that maximize plant performance.
  • PipePredict offers precise digital leakage localisation, predictive maintenance and real-time monitoring of pipe networks by analysing existing sensor data with the help of both a digital twin and AI algorithms.
  • Pramomolecular has developed a simple technology with which therapeutic oligonucleotides such as siRNAs can be transported efficiently and tolerably into the target cell in order to silence disease-causing proteins in the lungs, heart or pancreas. The pre-foundation project is thus developing drug candidates, against the likes of lung and pancreatic cancer.
  • PROSION develops a first-in-class approach to address so far undruggable pharmaceutical targets that are linked with various hard-to-treat diseases through a disruptive platform of chemical building blocks called ProMs.
  • Pro-AspectX is a company developing a plug-and-play, non-invasive sensor to improve chemical, biotechnological and life science processes to highest possible efficiency, simultaneously raising the process safety by a forecast of critical situations.
  • Semodia offers software solutions for the modularisation of the process industry, transferring the plug-and-play principle of office hardware via module type packages into the process industry.

As for support, the initiative has had strong backing from the outset: The ACHEMA Start-up Award is presented by DECHEMA Gesellschaft für Chemische Technik und Biotechnologie e.V., DECHEMA Ausstellungs-GmbH and the Business Angels FrankfurtRheinMain e.V. and High-Tech Gründerfonds.
The ACHEMA Start-up Prize is also supported by the German Chemical Society (GDCh), the Association of German Engineers (VDI), the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) and the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF) as well as the Business Angels Network Germany and the Forum Startup Chemie.

Editor's note: Semodia, Pipe Predict and Lumatix Biotech emerged as winners from the competition. They received the ACHEMA Start-up Award 2022 with their solutions for "Plug and Produce" in modular plants, Predictive Maintenance in pipelines and for the insulation of antibodies - congratulations!


ACHEMA Inspire staff

World Show Media


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#award, #start-up

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