Discover Syensqo: leveraging an industry-leading legacy to solve global problems

Discover Syensqo: leveraging an industry-leading legacy to solve global problems


Syensqo, previously part of Solvay Group, is a science company, made up of people that are passionate about its possibilities. Their legacy lies in the Solvay Congresses which were first launched in 1911 to bring together the greatest scientific minds of the era, including Albert Einstein and Marie Curie, to explore solutions to the world’s biggest challenges and help humanity move forward. It is in this spirit that Syensqo emerges as a new brand, driven by scientific discovery, and bringing the right people together to drive positive change. 

Matt Jones – Managing Partner at Syensqo Ventures

At Hello Tomorrow, this is certainly something that resonates with us and which is equally encoded in our DNA as a company, and integral to our annual, flagship Global Summit. Our partnership with Syensqo is driven by our shared fundamentals: uncovering groundbreaking ideas from all over the world, and an imperative to foster connections and exchange ideas to drive them forward. 

We sat down with Matt Jones, Managing Partner at their dedicated Venture Capital Fund, Syensqo Ventures. Matt supports startups across various sectors that are driving sustainability with advanced materials. With a background in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA, he brings 25 years’ experience in materials, power, and energy markets. Syensqo Ventures, with global teams in Europe, the USA, and China, manages a $100M fund for innovation and mutual growth. 

Let’s dive deeper into their vision for this new brand and its impact, and get some unique insights into the journey so far.  

Battery Materials

Green Hydrogen

Renewable Materials and Biotechnology

Thermoplastic Composites

These Growth Platforms have been derived from two key factors. First, is understanding our customer’s challenges and how we can provide them the tailored solutions they need.  Second is the megatrends like electrification, lightweighting and eco-based solutions that are driving our customers’ end markets and provide opportunities for sustainable growth.   

Innovation to us, whether it’s through these Growth Platforms or through Syensqo Ventures, is really about bringing different parts of the value chain together to accelerate growth. This is because innovation can come from anywhere, but for a breakthrough to actually be commercialized, you need to work within the value chain. Startups and entrepreneurs are an important part of the value chain and we see opportunities to leverage the unique capabilities that each of us can bring to help these solutions get to market faster. 

Investments and collaborations so far

What kind of collaborations, initiatives or investments have already emerged from Syensqo’s activities? 

Right now at Syensqo Ventures, we have a global portfolio of 25 different investments in startups and venture funds across all of our growth platforms. How do we collaborate with them? It’s case by case. Often we are a joint development partner, sometimes we’re a customer, sometimes we are a distributor of that startup’s product. But in all cases, it’s around a mutual acceleration of a joint product or service to meet customer needs. 

One specific example is that of Compact Membrane Systems (CMS), a startup that has developed a unique membrane-based separation technology that can capture CO2 at the scale and cost needed to decarbonize hard-to-abate industries. Syensqo’s specialty polymers have the potential to provide the durability, performance and form factor required to support CMS’ CO2 capture solution. CMS benefits from our polymer expertise, while we look to grow our offerings and expertise in decarbonization technologies 

We also count startups such as Bioeutectics among our portfolio, which is our latest investment at Syensqo Ventures. They have invented a whole new class of bio-based solvents that will impact applications from agriculture to personal care and from mining to industrial processes. Bioeutectics mimics the way plants elaborate their own solvents, resulting in solutions that are biodegradable, non-toxic and affordable. In this case, we can help connect their technologies to our customers’ needs and push forward more sustainable and higher-performing products through our Renewable Materials and Biotechnology  growth platform. 

Another example is how we are working with iCOMAT. They have developed a new way of manufacturing composite parts that increase the performance and efficiency of any vehicle, be it one with wheels or wings, enabling a faster transition to electrons or hydrogen. We are working with them to demonstrate how their production process works with our composite materials, be it thermoset or thermoplastic. This joint demonstration will help both of us provide a new solution to customers that need higher-performance parts to transition to new mobility solutions. 

The next big thing in the chemical and materials industry

In the past few years, we have seen significant growth in the percentage of early-stage startups using green chemistry and/or synthetic biology in manufacturing entering the Hello Tomorrow network. Are you seeing a similar trend? What do you see as the ‘next big thing’ in this industry?

We see an accelerating trend in the transition to bio-based and circular sources across the board, same as you. The focus on improving resource efficiency and decreasing carbon intensity is really starting to accelerate. We’re seeing chemical and material companies, like Syensqo, using more inputs that come from these renewable and sustainable sources but also leveraging the power of biology in terms of our own manufacturing processes.  For example, Syensqo has a strategic collaboration with Ginkgo Bioworks, with a focus on developing new sustainable biopolymers.

We also see a lot of focus on recycling and upcycling of waste plastic and CO2 back into the supply chain. New recycling technologies from startups, working with companies like Syensqo, will be critical to developing circular supply chains.  An example of one such relationship is Syensqo Ventures’ investment in DePoly, one of the finalists of the Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge 2023. DePoly’s technology is not only applicable to many types of plastic, but their ability to convert waste plastics into raw materials without affecting their quality is what is needed to create a sustainable circular plastic economy.

The Hello Tomorrow x Syensqo partnership

At Hello Tomorrow we have been pleased to officially partner with Solvay Group, and now Syensqo, for many years, collaborating to identify the most promising projects in chemistry and materials and provide them with unique support and opportunities. How do you envision this kind of partnership being crucial to Syensqo’s activities going forward?

There’s a great example here of “looking to the past to look to the future”. Looking back, Ernest Solvay launched the Solvay Conference back in 1911 to bring together the top players in physics and chemistry to solve the tough problems of his time. He understood that great ideas could come from anywhere and that networking and exchanging ideas with others would lead to innovation. We have the same goals now at Syensqo with our partnership with Hello Tomorrow and their Global Summit. We want to network with entrepreneurs, corporate innovation teams, and financial VCs that collectively will help bring forward solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of our time. We hope to learn from and support this community through our partnership with you. We will not only have Syensqo Ventures team members present at the Global Summit, but we’re also bringing people across our research and innovation teams, growth platforms and customer-facing teams so that they can be a part of this network, benefiting from the interactions with entrepreneurs and also providing their insights and guidance. Our legacy is in this Solvay Conference, and the same fundamentals apply today to the Hello Tomorrow Global Summit, of bringing these unique groups together to solve global challenges. 

We’re thrilled to join forces with Syensqo to drive forward this new era for the Chemical and Materials industry. 

For those eager to delve even deeper into the forefront of this industry check out our online panel session where Hello Tomorrow and Syensqo were joined by panelists from Microsoft, BCG X and the University of Toronto to explore how AI is transforming the sector. What challenges and opportunities does it bring? It’s an excellent opportunity to gain insights firsthand and explore potential collaborations.

Moreover, mark your calendars for the upcoming Hello Tomorrow Global Summit, taking place 21st-22nd March 2024 in Paris, where Syensqo will be there as one of our main partners and ready to discuss these exciting projects. Find out more and grab your ticket here.

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