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Nov 03, 2020

Investor Forum 2020 - Meeting Point for Innovators, Investors and Leaders

The Second Edition of the Investor Forum 2020 on Sustainable Chemistry Solutions welcomed end of October over 150 esteemed international guests, amongst which investors, innovators, NGO and industry representatives. During the course of the event that focused on innovations supporting sustainable chemistry solutions and driving the circular economy, the attendees listened to highly topical panel discussions on SDGs and the catalytic role of Sustainable Chemistry, emerging investment vehicles, and the dynamics of innovation eco-systems. They also assisted promising start-up pitches and showcases, discussed possible investment opportunities in private meetings, chose an Audience Award winning pitch for every conference day, and celebrated the 2019/2020 Innovation Challenge Award winner after having witnessed the pitches of the 5 Innovation Challenge finalists on the last event day.

Each event day foresaw a welcoming note by different speakers, namely: Dr. Andreas Förster, Director of the ISC3 Innovation Hub, Daniella Russo, CEO of Think Beyond Plastic, and Alexis Bazzanella, Co-Director of the ISC3 Innovation Hub.

After an inspiring keynote speech on the Transformative Power of Innovation given by Christine Wellington-Moore, expert discussion panels started. International investors, start-ups and international top-notch experts from the field of sustainable chemistry discussed the critical role of sustainable chemistry in supporting innovations to achieve the SDGs, the role of frontier capital and blended financing mechanisms to secure the innovation pipeline, and the dynamics of the innovation eco-system. The second keynote was held by  Ludwig Goris from cleantech investor Capricorn Partners who answered important questions for the cleantech sector, such as why to invest in sustainable chemistry solutions, if and how to earn while doing it, pointing out the synergies and effects of the interface that investments have on the circular economy, and shedding light on what investment themes exactly are connected to reaching the SDGs. The third event day saw the finalist pitches and award ceremony for the Innovation Challenge 2019/2020 in Sustainable Building and Living instead of a keynote.

On all three event days, the panels were complemented by pitches of innovators presenting cutting-edge innovations in the space of sustainable chemistry, and innovation showcases presented via a digitally available investor booklet through which 40 start-ups introduced their ideas in the areas of new product delivery models, sustainable chemistry and new materials for circular economy in front of top-tier investors. Each of the three online event sessions concluded with a 1-on-1 match-making session between start-ups and investors on a separate digital platform, during which founders had the chance to personally pitch their ideas to potential partners. In total, 1644 minutes were streamed in the frame of the virtual Investor Forum 2020.

On each day, the audience was invited to vote for the “best pitch of the day”, and, accordingly,  the following three Audience Award Winners were selected: “KBCols” Day 1, “Primitives” for Day 2, and “Ecoact Tanzania” for Day 3.

The female-led Indian start-up “KBCols” is active in extracting natural pigments and bioactive compounds from microbes and produces new-generation environmentally friendly and sustainable colours. The female-led start-up “Primitives” from the US is pioneering a new paradigm for reducing plastic pollution – by engineering plastics with algae and other bio-based feedstocks. By harnessing nature’s embedded intelligence, they are creating new environmentally sustainable materials with advanced sensing, display, and biodegradation properties. Day 3 Audience Award Winners, the African start-up EcoAct Tanzania, have developed an energy-conserving plastic extrusion technology to recycle and transform post-consumer plastic garbage and packaging materials into durable and long lasting plastic lumbers. As plastics are an affordable alternative to wood timbers in Africa, they help to preserve the forests and prevent further mitigation of climate change.

Highlight of the event was the finalist’ pitching and award ceremony for the first ISC3 Innovation Challenge kicked off in February 2019 and called for innovations in the field of Sustainable Building and Living. Initially, the contest foresaw only a monetary prize for the overall winner, but due to the high quality of the approximately 50 applications, additional categories were created to honour the excellent and outstanding contributions of innovators from all around the globe.

Due to the ongoing Corona risk, the Forum initially planned as an in-person event for May 2020 was postponed and held virtually for the first time. The event was co-hosted by the Think Beyond Plastic™ Innovation Accelerator and the International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3), an institution developing and promoting sustainable chemistry solutions worldwide, with its Innovation Hub hosted by DECHEMA. The ISC3 Innovation Hub organised the Investor Forum in the frame of its ISC3 Global Start-up Service, a service that targets innovators along the entire innovation chain and accompanies them on the journey from discovering an innovation to creating marketable value and expanding their business. The service is promoting Sustainable Chemistry entrepreneurs through events such as the Investor Forum and provides both, general and customised support to start-ups from this specific action field.

The next and third edition of the annual ISC3 and co-organizing partners Investor Forum is planned for autumn/winter 2021. If you would like to join forces with the ISC3 and for more information on the ISC3 and the next Investor Forum Edition, please visit

 www.isc3.org

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