Greening the transportation sector requires sweeping transformation that goes far beyond electrification. This Greentown Go startup-corporate partnerships accelerator zeroed in on material innovations for automotive efficiency, material innovations for shared and future mobility, and materials and process innovations for recycling.
The five participating startups—Carbonova, Endeavor Composites, FibreCoat, Heartland Industries, and MITO Material Solutions—were chosen in a highly competitive selection and deliberation process that saw close to 100 applicants from 27 countries. Throughout the accelerator, they worked with the program’s corporate partners to de-risk their technologies, discover potential industrial applications, and develop viable go-to-market strategies. A group of experienced startup mentors and industry experts, including from BASF and Magna, provided valuable guidance to the cohort’s founding teams.
BASF, the Leading Partner on Go Move 2022, is a global leader in chemicals and the number one chemical supplier to the automotive industry. Magna, the program’s Supporting Partner, is a mobility technology company and one of the world’s largest suppliers in the automotive space. If you have a car, it was likely made with Magna parts containing BASF materials. Given the companies’ unique relationship as long-time value chain partners, they were able to provide the cohort insights and expertise along every point in the automotive manufacturing process—from raw materials to assembled products.
“The Go Move 2022 program didn’t only benefit the startup cohort—we also learned a ton along the way,” says Tom Holcombe, Head of BASF Collaboration and Scouting North America. “It was a joy to work closely with Magna and discover more of the entrepreneurial ecosystem together.”
“Through the Go Move 2022 program, we have achieved significant progress in a relatively short period of time, and we couldn’t be prouder or more excited,” said Jim Quesenberry, Director R&D at Magna. “Our partnership with participating companies has uncovered near-term material solutions that support decarbonizing the automotive industry.”
Read about the startups, their progress during the accelerator, and how they worked with the corporate partners below, and check out a recording of the Go Move 2022 Final Showcase here!
Technology at a glance: Carbonova, located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, is developing a solution to produce high-volume, superior carbon nanofibers for use in various market applications, utilizing greenhouse-gas feedstocks and turning them into a sustainable, valuable solid commodity.
Work with program partners: Go Move 2022 and the program partners helped Carbonova dive deep into its technology’s potential applications in the automotive industry, with significant market discovery and exploration. BASF made introductions to material compounders, toured Carbonova’s pilot facility in Calgary, and is connecting the startup to relevant partners for future collaborations. Going beyond the program’s end, the program partners are interested in helping Carbonova pilot its technology in the United States.
Cohort collaboration: Fellow cohort startup MITO Materials Solutions explored integrating Carbonova’s product into its technology.
CEO’s Reflection: “Greentown Labs and the Go Move programs provided an excellent platform for networking and mentoring,” says Dr. Mina Zarabian, President and CEO of Carbonova. “In addition, tangible milestones were developed and achieved to advance our technology toward commercialization.”
Technology at a glance: Endeavor Composites, located in Knoxville, TN, is pioneering high-performance, low-cost, and zero-waste composites to solve difficult manufacturing problems.
Work with program partners: Endeavor Composites did extensive testing of both its technology’s performance and potential for integration with BASF and Magna. BASF made prototype panels with Endeavor Composites’ materials, which are currently with Magna for testing, and also produced plaques utilizing the startup’s technology and tested their mechanical properties.
Endeavor Composites’ work with BASF and Magna is continuing beyond the formal end of Go Move 2022. Magna is producing a full-size door module using the startup’s optimized natural fiber composition, and BASF is helping Endeavor Composites confirm its materials’ recyclability.
Cohort collaborations: Endeavor Composites sourced materials from its fellow cohort startups FibreCoat and Heartland Industries to make non-woven mats that will be used in sustainable composite manufacturing. Additional discussion is underway with MITO solutions and Carbonova to incorporate their material in the sustainable non-woven mats for enhanced performance and sustainability.
CEO’s reflection: “Go Move 2022 was one of the most beneficial accelerators, where the roadmap setup with mentors was tangible and clear on end goals,” says Hicham Ghossein, CEO of Endeavor Composites. “We have seen significant improvement from participating in this program. The open and humble discussions were instrumental in increasing the benefit outcome.”
Technology at a glance: FibreCoat, based in Aachen, Germany, creates affordable and conductive fiber materials for integrated electromagnetic-interference shielding, heat transfer, and weight reduction in EVs.
Work with program partners: BASF and FibreCoat worked together to test the performance of FibreCoat’s materials, with BASF labs in Germany and Michigan experimenting with the startup’s tech. FibreCoat also made significant strides in discovery and exploration of its technology and market, identifying the base polymer for its composites, gathering data on automotive applications for engineered plastic, and more.
Technology at a glance: Heartland Industries, based in Detroit, MI, produces carbon-negative materials to replace and augment plastic additives such as talc, calcium carbonate, fiberglass, and carbon black.
Work with program partners: BASF and Magna helped Heartland conduct performance testing, assessing the material differences—including strength, weight, and carbon footprint—and manufacturing differences—including energy use, cycle time, and abrasion—to better understand the impact of Heartland’s technology.
BASF and Magna’s packaging teams connected with Heartland to help the startup better understand how plastic pallets, crates, totes, and dunnage are procured, molded, and used across global manufacturing. BASF and Magna have helped Heartland create meaningful partnerships that are leading to the launch of its Green Packaging Initiative later this year.
Heartland is working alongside BASF and Magna to develop co-selling opportunities for sustainable products.
CEO’s reflection: “The Greentown Go programs are one of the best opportunities that cleantech startups have to develop deep relationships with some of the world’s largest corporations through organized programming,” says Jesse Henry. “The Greentown Labs team goes over and above to make sure that each startup is properly positioned to make a positive impact on large corporate partners. I wish there was a Greentown Labs in every city across the world!”
MITO Material Solutions
Technology at a glance: MITO Material Solutions, based in Indianapolis, IN, creates hybrid additives that give fiber-reinforced composites and thermoplastics lab-verified improvements in strength, durability, flexibility, and sustainability.
Work with program partners: “We currently have six active projects with BASF and Magna, spanning across engineering plastics, lubricants, polyurethane, and other chemistries,” MITO CEO Haley Keith said at the Go Move 2022 Final Showcase. “Together, our teams are evaluating MITO’s ability to enhance mechanical, thermal, and physical properties within these systems, with the goal of creating lighter, durable, and more sustainable components. Early results are positive, and I’m excited to continue working on this challenge with these two amazing companies.”
Greentown Labs runs Greentown Go programs across five tracks: Go Make (manufacturing), Go Move (transportation), Go Energize (energy and electricity), Go Build (buildings), and Go Grow (food and agriculture). These startup-corporate partnerships programs challenge the status quo within each key greenhouse-gas sector as they accelerate partnerships between industry giants and innovators. Learn about current programs here!