Startups from around the world paid a visit to Ludwigshafen on November 11, 2019. BASF Venture Capital (BVC) had invited representatives from its portfolio companies to meet with BASF executives, financial experts and colleagues from research and business units. Face-to-face conversations and panel discussions offered numerous opportunities for networking and getting to know one another.
“At this debut event, we were able to showcase the diverse spectrum of cooperative partnerships and what we are working on. We initiated many new contacts and projects. It was also a great chance to solicit feedback from the startups we support and the BASF colleagues involved,” says Markus Solibieda, BVC’s Managing Director.
BVC is BASF’s independent corporate venture arm. This subsidiary invests in startups and funds that offer disruptive technologies and transformative business models, with the aim of creating new growth potential for BASF. But BVC’s mission goes beyond just financing. “We act as a catalyst for new businesses. Through cooperation between various BASF units and our portfolio companies, we can support BASF’s business and learn a lot at the same time,” says Solibieda, commenting on BVC’s mission. BVC’s investment managers are in constant contact with BASF units and initiate cooperative partnerships with innovative startups in the chemistry space. There are now around 30 startups and VC funds in BVC’s portfolio.
Over the past three years, BVC has intensified its activities, making more than 15 new investments and launching numerous new cooperations. The number of investments per year has tripled since 2017. Moreover, BVC’s strategic mandate has evolved: Instead of mainly analyzing technologies, nowadays the investment managers increasingly identify and evaluate business models, with a focus on digitalization in the chemical industry.
This work is an investment in BASF’s future, agrees Dr. Markus Kamieth, member of BASF’s Board of Executive Directors. He stresses the important role BVC plays within the group: “We want to collaborate more frequently and closely with up-and-coming companies. BVC’s work worldwide is a key element of BASF’s innovation strategy. It gives us insight into new technologies and business models, increasingly also in the promising area of digitalization. The Portfolio Day provided a valuable overview of the existing cooperative partnerships: For everyone involved, the collaboration between startups and BASF has proven to be a model for success in the future.”
One of the portfolio companies is the Chinese 3D printing specialist Prismlab. Edward Xu, Strategic Marketing Director of Prismlab, traveled from Shanghai to attend the BVC Portfolio Day in Ludwigshafen: “We are already working closely with BASF to further optimize our 3D printing solution and it has been a great experience so far. The Portfolio Day showed us a new world of possibilities for collaboration with BASF. Cooperation and contacts are crucial in the field of 3D printing. The event was a wonderful opportunity to meet and talk with other businesses in BVC’s portfolio and make new connections with colleagues at BASF.”