Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global supply chains and other economically important systems, 2020 still managed to produce major tech breakthroughs, as well as thousands of startups. We analyzed 2.453 materials startups, all of them developing innovative solutions spanning from surface coatings to biodegradable material development and lightweighting solutions. In this report, you will discover 6 emerging materials startups founded in 2020.
The 6 promising materials startups you should watch in 2021 were hand-picked based on our data-driven startup scouting approach, taking into account factors such as location, founding year, and relevance of technology, among others. The 2.453 companies that were analyzed for this report are identified using the StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, covering 1.379.000+ startups & scaleups globally. When you are looking for up-to-date materials solutions for your innovation units, R&D, or product development department, the StartUs Insights Discovery Platform gives you the most exhaustive collection and ensures you continuously discover new startups, scaleups, and technologies.
Global Startup Heat Map: 6 Materials Startups to Watch in 2021
The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights 6 materials startups, established in 2020, developing technology-driven solutions for the materials industry. Moreover, you can explore global hotspots for materials startups and even download this graphic to include in your next presentation.
Nanoseen – Nanomaterials
Some of the properties that materials exhibit, including tensile strength, density, weight, and conductivity, are customizable through advances in nanotechnology. For example, industrial machinery that is exposed to harsh environments is equipped with nanomaterials to provide the required customizable countermeasures to wear and tear. Startups and scaleups develop advanced nanotechnology solutions and enable manufacturers to create new materials that reduce repair and maintenance costs.
Polish startup Nanoseen develops NanoseenX, a nanomaterial derived from recycled metal wafers. The startup’s nanomaterials portfolio includes copper nanotubes, carbon nanotubes, graphite, as well as carbon nanotube forests, microfibers, nanosprings, and copper nanoneedles. These products give way to applications for medical devices, drug delivery, implants, wind turbines, and marine paints.
FibreCoat – Lightweighting
The weight of materials directly impacts the efficiency of vehicles, airplanes, and spacecrafts, among others. Manufacturing companies and OEMs, therefore, use carbon fiber composites and graphene to reduce the weight and increase the performance of machinery and products. Further, startups are integrating additive manufacturing and multiple novel lightweight materials to create components that are lighter than their metallic counterparts.
German startup FibreCoat creates single-filament coating technology to coat aluminum on basalt-core filament yarns. This results in a composite that exhibits high stiffness and metallic properties. For this reason, the startup’s products find applications in automotive lightweighting as well as filtration because the fibers are chemically and biologically resistant.
SPECTRUMLABS – Coatings
Material coating solutions improve visual appeal and are popular in the automotive industry due to the aesthetic value and functionality that it creates. Similarly, other types of coatings, for example, hydrophobic coatings and electrical conductivity coatings, find applications in the construction industry among others. Startups and scaleups also develop innovative coating solutions for rooftops and facades to increase solar energy absorption in buildings.
French startup SPECTRUMLABS develops thermochromic coating for roofs and facades. The startup’s coating solution adapts itself to the external environmental conditions and optimizes solar energy generation in buildings. This coating solution is usable both on new construction projects and can be retrofitted for older projects. What is more, the coating color changes to white to effectively keep buildings cool during the summers and changes to darker shades to keep the warmth in winters.
Cass Materials – Biomaterials
Many countries have imposed strict environmental laws to curb carbon dioxide levels and encourage sustainability. Biomaterials, which fit all these criteria, are biodegradable, natural, and environmentally friendly. Further, it is possible to reengineer biomaterials into molded or machined parts, coatings, fibers, films, foams, and fabrics for use in biomedical products and devices. To this end, startups develop innovative biomaterial solutions to encourage sustainability.
Australian startup Cass Materials leverages eco-technology to build biodegradable, natural, and eco-friendly material composites. Bacterial NanoCellulose (BNC) Nonwoven, the startup’s flagship product, has multiple applications including medical sponges, padding and packaging, or fluid absorption. The startup’s solution exhibits high nano-porosity and a large three-dimensional fibrous surface area, enabling it to absorb fluid 10 times more than its dry weight. Further, the solution has a nanocellulose density of fewer than 0.1 grams per cubic centimeter making it extremely lightweight.
Plasma Solaris – Photovoltaics (PVs)
Advancements in solar technology have resulted in the reduction of the cost of solar power generation and availability. Many people across the world are gladly adopting this form of energy because of the cheaper investments required. Still, materials play a crucial role in this cost reduction as they improve the efficiency of photovoltaics. Therefore, startups develop photovoltaic solutions such as perovskite cells to provide a low-cost solution to efficiently generate solar energy.
Polish startup Plasma Solaris employs quantum nano-plasmonic effects in PVs to develop efficient solar cells. The startup’s technology understands and optimizes the interaction of light and matter at a quantum level, resulting in highly efficient solar energy generation in perovskite cells. Plasma Solaris also is working on other material synergies for quantum channels to scale up energy transfer solutions.
RecyGen – Material Waste Recycling & Re-Purposing
The use of virgin materials is an unsustainable method in the manufacturing of everyday products as these resources are limited. Waste management companies are working on ways to repurpose waste material to enable a circular economy for certain materials. For example, glass, wood, and steel products are recycled, repurposed, and upcycled. At the same time, repurposing metals and other materials help companies significantly reduce raw material costs as well.
British startup RecyGen enables a circular economy by recycling and repurposing waste material such as glass, plastics, or vegetable oil into raw materials such as biofuels, glycerol, and plastic pellets. The startup uses waste segregation, shredding, heating, and cooling processes to repurpose plastic waste into biofuels and plastic pellets. The startup also uses transesterification and pyrolysis processes to repurpose vegetable oil into glycerol that has multiple applications in the pharma and personal care industries.
What will 2021 bring for materials companies?
To stay ahead of the technology curve, it is important that you know which technologies and industry trends will impact your company in 2021. You can explore our report on the Top 10 Materials Industry Trends or let us do the work for you. To keep you up-to-date on the latest technology and emerging solutions, we provide you with actionable innovation intelligence – quickly and exhaustively.