Corporate Spotlight Interview: Saint Gobain

March 24, 2014 01:39 PM EST By: Jennifer Rocha

Michael Mahoney, Manager, External Venturing, Saint-Gobain, tells TechConnect about Saint Gobain's technology and investment areas of interest.

What are technology/solution areas that you have a primary interest in?
Saint-Gobain’s focus for outside innovation (external venturing) is on advanced materials and construction products in the areas of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.

We are a $55B company with 190,000+ employees and operations in 64 countries.  Our main business units are based on materials - glass, ceramics, polymers, crystals – and construction products – gypsum, insulation, mortars, roofing.

What level of commercial maturity do you typically look for when making an investment? 
We like to see start-ups that have a protectable IP position (filed or granted) in a technology area close or adjacent to our current business areas. 

The start-up must be incorporated (able to contract a formal agreement) rather than a university or incubator project.

We like the start-up to be self-funded for their prototype work, but possibly needing a strategic partner to scale up and enter a commercial market.

Please describe your firm’s Innovation model and how this model helps to find new innovations.

We are not a Fund.  We do not invest financially in start-up companies, but rather seek to form partnerships, such as joint development agreements or licensing/manufacturing agreements, between start-ups and our many, diverse business units around the world.

We find many start-ups with great ideas, a good IP position, but who don’t have the capability or capital to scale their technology for commercial launch.  This is where we like to form win-win partnerships to help start-ups with solid technologies scale.


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