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Innovation China April 2024

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AI+ Materials / Industrials / New Energy

The 2024 Innovation China Conference explored frontier applications of AI technologies in material discovery, smart manufacturing and grid optimization. Themed “AI+”, it focused on 3 areas where AI will drive progress: Materials, Industrials & New Energy. Held at Crowne Plaza Shanghai Fudan, this year's conference continues to have Mitsubishi Corporation (Shanghai) as a lead sponsor for SEIF. This year’s event was also supported by Shanghai Yangpu Technology & Innovation Group (STI), Chang Yang Campus & Cloud Valley (office property development). It was attended by Fortune 500 companies, LPs, CVCs, startups, policymakers and partners, with MNC speakers such as BAT (Matt Hodgson), L'Oréal (Valentin Peuch-Lestrade & Dr Yue Qiao), Nomura Research Institute, Huawei and more. We also had special live presentations all the way from USA and Japan: Citrine Informatics (USA), Greg Mulholland and Zeroboard (Tokyo, invested by Mitsubishi corp). The event was opened by Mr Takamasa Wakaki, Chairman and GM of Mitsubishi Corporation (Shanghai), Vice-Chairman of the Low-Carbon Economy Service Committee of Shanghai Modern Service Federation, and member of SEIF Foundation. Click below to see a sampling of the speaker presentations for the event.

AI for Materials by CM Venture Capital CEO & SEIF Foundation Director, Dr Min Zhou

Dr Min Zhou, CEO of CM Venture Capital and SEIF Foundation Director, shares how AI is rapidly influencing the advanced material solutions of today, and how they will shape the industry tomorrow.

 

She highlights challenges of AI in materials R&D, including:

• Complexity of modeling, from microscopic to macroscopic levels

 

• High-throughput experiments require high standards for equipment and significant investment

 

• The biggest challenge remains the lack of data, especially experimental data, which holds the highest value

Rapidly innovating sustainable new materials by powering AI with HTE, by Patrick T. CEO, Xinterra

Generative AI for Knowledge Management: Patent Analysis and Automation by Mr. Stephane Monsallier, CEO, System-in-Motion

Stephane Monsallier shares how to effectively 'train' AI resources to become effective and functional tools in businesses: using AI to draw insights,. generate outlines, generate copy, do proofreading, generate cover pages and create titles. He shares how AI can help streamline patent research in material science by automating data extraction, identifying patterns, and predicting trends.

 

Stephane is a technology expert who began coding at 10. He founded Shanghai-based technology consulting firm System in Motion after graduating from CentraleSupelec. An influential figure in Shanghai's entrepreneurial community, he mentors at Orbit Ventures, advises startups, launched the EO Accelerator program, and co-founded La French Tech Shanghai. Currently focused on Generative AI, his expertise and eloquent keynotes make him a sought-after speaker and mentor.

The First Company in AI-for-Materials - Citrine Informatics, Greg Mulholland

Citrine Informatics is an enterprise SaaS platform company that leverages artificial intelligence and materials science to enable customers to improve physical product ideation, deployment, and scaling. The Citrine Platform provides a unified data infrastructure for materials and chemical data — allowing product developers to easily access, share, and analyze data.

 

Citrine’s AI has improved business outcomes across a range of industries including specialty chemicals, coatings, batteries, personal care and other consumer products. Citrine’s mission is to accelerate the development and deployment of better, more sustainable materials. Gregory Mulholland is the founder and CEO of Citrine Informatics, the Generative AI platform enabling the faster development and deployment of the next generation of materials and chemicals. He is an internationally recognized leader in both materials technology and digital transformation and has led Citrine to work with some of the world’s largest and most important materials and chemicals companies to create greener, less expensive, and more performant products. He has been honored as a Technology Pioneer at the World Economic Forum, won the Start Up and Scale Up challenges at the World Materials Forum, and been awarded over a dozen other start-up and business awards.

Patrick shares how AI is speeding up revolutionary new materials to support sustainability and climate change needs. One of the amazing breakthroughs is COzTERRA, a fabric coating that makes fashionwear absorb CO2, helping to reduce carbon buildup in the environment.

 

Xinterra is on a mission to rapidly innovate new materials for sustainability by powering AI with tailored high throughput experimentation. Entrepreneur and accomplished senior executive with over 23 years of global experience in Deep Tech Ventures, Climate Tech and General Management of Innovation & Technology, Patrick has led the development of numerous Technologies, Products and Applications into successful commercialization in the Chemical and Materials Industries. He is the former Global CTO of Braskem, currently CEO and Co-founder of Xinterra. Education: B.S. in Materials Engineering & MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Micro-Innovation China November 2023

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Momentum

A smaller-scale China Innovation Conference was held for the second time in 2023 at two of CM Venture's leading portfolio companies: Guofu Hydrogen and Global Power Technologies (GPT). The two day event (13-14 Nov), "Materials in Hydrogen Economy" on day 1 & "3rd Gen Semiconductors" on day 2, was kicked off on-site at their respective headquarters in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu and Liuyang, Hunan by CM Venture CEO Dr Min Zhou. Invited industry audiences had the chance to meet and discover insights from a curated list of influential speakers from Fortune 500 companies such as Air Liquide, Arkema, Heraeus, Cummins Inc, and more. Leading speakers from domestic authorities such as China Solid State Lighting Alliance and 48th Research Institute of the CEC were also present. Leaders from CM Venture portfolio companies Guofu, GPT, Nanotop & Dynamic Hydrogen were also present to share the latest findings in the hydrogen industry and the 3rd generation semiconductor space in China. To discover the insights, watch some of the selected presentations below, or follow our Youtube channel!

Welcome address, by CM Venture Capital CEO, Dr Min Zhou, and Guofu Hydrogen Chairman, Wu Pinfang

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Dr Min Zhou, together with Guofu Hydrogen's founder Wu Pinfang, kicked off the two-day forum. The first day "Materials in Hydrogen Economy" started with a background on how hydrogen energy has become the preferred energy source. Influenced by global economics, climate change and abundance, hydrogen energy has never been more relevant to modern industries today.

Mr Wu is the chairman of Guofu Hydrogen. He was formerly the vice chairman & GM of Zhangjiagang Sheng Dayin Chemical Machinery. From 2004 - 2019, he was chairman of Furui Boiler and Zhangjiagang Furui Special Equipment. He has been deeply engaged in the cryogenic and energy equipment manufacturing industry for nearly 30 years, and has established three medium and large-scale manufacturing companies (Shengdayin, Furui Custom Equipment, and Guofu Hydrogen), focused on the industrialization of the entire industry chain of cryogenic vessels, LNG equipment, and hydrogen energy equipment. Mr. Wu has a string of accolades: Suzhou Mayor’s Award for Science & Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Suzhou’s Top Ten Technological Innovation Figures, Suzhou’s Top Ten Charming Tech Figures, Suzhou Outstanding Entrepreneur, Suzhou Outstanding Talent Nomination Award, and Zhangjiagang City Model Worker.

Introduction to GPT and Views on the Industry, by Dr Chen Tong, General Manager, Global Power Tech (GPT)

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Dr Chen Tong shares a candid presentation on the road and challenges to the development and industrialization of SiC devices in China.

Dr Chen Tong graduated from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. He has led the team in the field of third-generation semiconductors for more than a decade and is appointed as a member of the expert group of the National third-and-a-half Innovation Center.

Global Power Technologies (GPT) is a pioneer in the field of industrialized silicon carbide (SiC) power devices for China. GPT is committed to the development of China’s semiconductor power device manufacturing industry, delivering high-quality semiconductor power device products and related services to global power device consumers.

Reducing Iridium in Catalyst & Membrane Assemblies for PEM Water Electrolyzers, by Dr Fan Lv, CTO, Dynamic Hydrogen

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The Membrane Electrode Assembly (MEA) is a core component of PEM electrolyzers, directly influencing its performance and cost. Improving electrolysis efficiency and reducing iridium-loading can drive remarkable cost reductions for new-generation PEM membrane electrodes.

Fan Lv is an appointed Associate Researcher at Peking University and technical leader at Shanghai Dynamic Hydrogen. In 2016, he graduated from Wuhan University of Technology with a bachelor’s, and obtained a Ph.D. degree from the Material Science & Engineering Department of Peking University's School of Engineering in 2021. Subsequently, he conducted postdoctoral research in materials science & engineering as a postdoctoral researcher at Peking University. During his Ph.D. and postdoctoral stages, he studied key catalyst materials and devices for the production of green hydrogen through electrolysis. He and his co-workers have developed various nano/sub-nano iridium-ruthenium-based catalysts with high active site densities and membrane assembly electrodes, elevating the performance of low-cost precious metal-based membrane assembly electrode devices to world-class standards.

Innovation China May 2023

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Revitalize!

With the opening of China's borders after a 3-year hiatus from the pandemic, Innovation China resumed with its 2023 (15th May) event held at Qube Hotel in Anqing, Anhui Province China. With a focus on Health & Sustainability, representatives from BASF, Samsung, BASF, Petronas, BTV, Heraeus, GE and more attended the event. Over a hundred attendees from MNC companies, venture firms, corporate venture capital arms, and start-ups joined in to share name cards and viewpoints on issues like carbon capture, to plastic recycling, to open innovation and more. It started with special opening speeches from Mitsubishi China and CM Venture Capital, as well as a launch ceremony to commemorate the inauguration of CM Venture's Fund 3. View some of the presentations below.

Carbon to Value by 
Keith Wiggins @ Econic Technology

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Keith is CEO, charged with leading the commercialization of Econic. A strong advocate and business builder of sustainable advanced manufacturing, he has grown early-stage businesses for the past ten years, after global corporate roles with Dow Chemical. He is a proud chemistry alum of Imperial College London and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The materials and chemicals industry makes essential products that enhance peoples’ lives globally. The sector is growing with greater consumption of its primary raw material, - fossil carbon. To sustain growth and reduce its embedded carbon footprint the industry will move to alternative sources of renewable ‘above ground’ carbon. CO2 is an important source of renewable carbon, – currently regarded as a costly waste, it is being transformed into a valuable raw material. Econic catalyst technology allows manufacturers of polymers to incorporate CO2 into their products and create value.

Focus on Sustainability by
Dr Christian Neumann @ Heraeus

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Christian Neumann is the Deep Tech Strategist at Heraeus leading the Identification and Evaluation of viable new technology solutions and attractive Venture Capital Targets. In his prior position as head of the Heraeus activities in Digital Printed Electronics he was pushing non-ready technologies to an appropriate level of technology readiness. Before that, he was responsible for the implementation of Corporate Technology Scouting and Corporate Venturing activites for Heraeus. He joined Heraeus in 2007 being responsible for materials development for the fused silica activities before starting a group devoted to the development of new porous carbon material system. 

In the presentation, Christian describes how a highly diversified and globally active portfolio company proactively acts on our future’s main challenges. He give examples how a focus on sustainability drives investment decisions.

The Net Zero Material World by
Dr. Min Zhou @ CM Venture Capital

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Min has diverse experience in technology development, business development and venture capital. Min spent 17 years in the US before founding CMVenture Capital.

 

Min was formerly a principal at Unilever Technology Ventures (UT) where she led investments in companies in the fields of clean tech, semiconductor, medical device, drug development and health and wellness, in companies such as Impinj (NASDAQ: PI), Halosource (AIM: HALO.LN), Textronics (sold to Adidas). Prior to UTV, Min worked as a senior scientist in the Materials Science division and a business development associate at the Technology Commercialization division at Rockwell Scientific, a high-tech enterprise.

Dr. Min Zhou shared CM Venture Capital’ s 10,000 ft view on carbon-to-materials and synthetic biology, two important technology areas contributing to “net zero” .

Innovation China 2020

Circular Carbon Economy & Digitization

The Innovation 2020 event was held at Grand Kempinski Shanghai. Six multinational companies and a number of start-ups and investment firms gathered to share the industry trends and insights on Circular Carbon EconomyDigitization.  The conference was held both online and offline simultaneously for the first time, and attended by over 200 people from MNC companies, venture firms, and corporate venture capital arms, and start-ups. View some of the presentations below.

Investing in Food-Tech Start-ups by 

Matilda Ho @ Bits x Bites

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Matilda Ho is a serial entrepreneur and investor driving to create more sustainable food systems. She is the founder and managing director of Bits x Bites, China’s pioneer food-tech venture capital investing in startups tackling global food system challenges.

 

With a mission to shape the future of good food, Bits x Bites is a big step forward to inspire and support the entrepreneurial community to bring new ideas to solve global issues. To date, it has invested in companies that are advancing gene editing for high-performing crops, functional chickpea-based protein ingredients, as well as a company advancing cost-efficient, non-GMO meat production directly from animal cells without an actual animal.

Review of Industrial IoT by

Erik Walenza-Slabe, CEO @ IoT ONE

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Erik Walenza is the CEO of IoT ONE, the Co-chair of the American Chamber of Commerce Technology and Innovation Committee, and the Shanghai Director of Startup Grind. He has worked in China for nine years where he is an active member of the Chinese innovation ecosystem.

 

As CEO of IoT ONE, Erik researches the impact of industrial digitalization on his client’s businesses and supports them to realize opportunities and manage threats. As Co-chair of the Technology and Innovation Committee, he facilitates the exchange of best practices for innovation strategy and technology trend evaluation in China. And through Startup Grind he supports the development of Shanghai's innovation ecosystem.

Circular Carbon Economy & Digitization by

Dr. Min Zhou @ CM Venture Capital

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Dr. Min Zhou co-founded CM Venture Capital in 2010. She has over 16 years of venture capital investment experience in the US and in China, in hard technology areas including materials, hardware, semiconductor, energy, and environment. Prior to her venture career, Min had 6 years of R&D and technology commercialization experience with Rockwell Scientific. 

Dr. Zhou made an opening speech at the Innovation China Conference 2020 - Circular Carbon Economy & Digitization and shared insights on investing in CCE & Digitization sectors and how CM perceives opportunities in the sectors.

Innovation China 2019

 Functional Materials

The Innovation 2019 event was held at JW Marriott Beijing. Four multinational companies, eight start-ups, and a number of investment firms gathered to discuss on the topic of Functional Materials. The conference was attended by over 200 people from MNC companies, venture firms and corporate venture capital arms, and start-ups. View some of the presentations below.

Investing in the Future with a Sense of History by

Dr. Patrick Berbon @ CM Venture Capital

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Dr. Patrick Berbon has an extensive background in metallurgy, aerospace, power and cleantech industries​. Before co-founding CM Venture Capital, he was a Senior Consultant at Performance Improvement, a risk analysis and management company specialized in power industries. 

As an experienced entrepreneur in the advanced materials himself, his prior start-up, focuses on advanced nanograin aluminum alloys and its applications, was successfully listed on the Toronto Venture Exchange.

The Future of Technology in China by Jefferey Xin @ Guotai Junan Securities

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Jefferey has been working in the investment banking industry for more than 10 years, focus on new energy vehicles, industrial automation, new materials and etc.. Prior to Guotai Junan, he worked as an analyst with JP Morgan (HK) China Market team. He has a rich experience in IPOs, private financing, domestic and cross-border M&As

The topic of his presentation in Innovation China 2019 was on China's Science and Technology Innovation Board ("STAR" Board) initiative and its future prospect.

Breakthrough Light Transmission by Mike Casper, CEO @ Flex Lighting

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Mike is leading the commercial growth of a breakthrough light transmission technology in the Display industry with a focus on North America and Asia. Mike has over 15 years of experience in marketing, product development, corporate strategy, large company negotiations, outsourced manufacturing, intellectual property, joint development, and partnership.

FLEx's technologies have created the world's thinnest lightguide system, which is now enabling next-generation reflective displays and flexible LCDs to reach their full potential.

Innovation China 2018

New Materials

The Innovation 2018 event was held in Shanghai. Four multinational companies, nine start-ups and seven VC firms in the field of new materials spoke at the conference. The conference was attended by over 200 people from MNC companies, venture firms and corporate venture capital arms, and start-ups. View some of the presentations below.

Investing in Materials Science Companies by Dr. Min Zhou @ CM Venture Capital

Dr. Min Zhou is a founding partner of CM Venture Capital, a venture capital company based in Shanghai that invests in new materials, advanced manufacturing and digital industrial. 

 

Dr. Zhou earned a Ph.D. in Materials Science from University of Southern California (USC), and has been a research scientist and venture capital investor in both the U.S. and China. Dr. Zhou shares her thoughts and insights in investing in materials companies at the Innovation China 2018 conference held in Shanghai on Nov 1st 2018.

Brochure

Ultratouch for Smart Devices by Corbin Church @ Cambridge Touch Technologies

Cambridge Touch Technologies is Cambridge, UK based start-up company developing AI-Powered, 3D multitouch for next generation smart devices.

 

CTT uses a combination of a proprietary AI engine running unique signal processing algorithms, and a specialized Piezoelectric Force Film, to enable the world’s simplest sensor architecture that delivers superior functionality at lower cost, and scales to all device sizes and shapes (including curved).

Breakthrough Transparent Electrode Technology by Professor Jay Guo @ University of Michigan

The transparent electrode has been dominated by ITO, a brittle ceramic material, for decades. There has been a lot of efforts to replace ITO with material that can be deposited on flexible substrates at low temperature, including silver nanowire, metal grids, etc. Professor Guo presents another approach that uses existing ITO sputtering equipment to deposit nanometer-thick silver composite uniformly on a plastic substrate.

Innovation China 2017

Digital Industrial

The Innovation 2017 event was held in Shanghai. The conference was attended by over 200 people from MNC companies, venture firms and corporate venture capital arms, and start-ups. View some of the presentations below. Click here to view a summary of the key insights of the conference, authored by Dr. Min Zhou, CEO of CM Venture Capital.

Unlocking the Assets Value by Aldous Wong, Chief Commercial Officer @ GE Digital, China

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Aldous leads GE's digital industrial strategy and execution in China. GE Digital connects a stream of machine data to powerful analytics and people, providing valuable insights to manage assets and operations more efficiently. 

 

In this presentation, Aldous discusses "killer apps" for digital industrial, and the digital ecosystem that includes start-ups and more than 35k+ developers.

The "Philosophy" and the "Road" of Digitization at Sunny by Jiuxing Weng, General Manager @ Sunny Intelligent Technology

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Sunny Intelligent Technology is a leading company in integrated optical device manufacturers and an optical imaging system solution provider. The Company went public in 2007 and is listed on the Main Board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (Stock Code:2382.HK).

 

Mr. Weng has been the General Manager of Sunny since 2015. He shares both the guiding philosophies and the actual implementations of digital strategy at Sunny.

BASF 4.0 by Sebastian-Hartmut Schenk, Regional Head @ BASF Management Consulting Asia Pacific

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Sebastian Schenk leads the BASF Management Consulting team in Hong Kong, covering topics such as profitability improvement and strategy implementation. Sebastian also coordinates BASF's digitization activities in the region. 

Sebastian shares examples of seven core technologies that enable industry 4.0 in the Chemical industry.

Innovation China 2016

Advanced Manufacturing

The Innovation 2016 event was held in Shanghai. The conference was attended by over 200 people from MNC companies, venture firms and corporate venture capital arms, and start-ups. View some of the presentations below.

A Brilliant Transformation in Manufacturing by Christine Furstoss, Vice President @ GE Global Research

In this presentation, Ms. Xu articulates the 13th five-year plan of Shanghai manufacturing industry, and the city's strategic focus areas of industrial development.

Promoting Transformation and Upgrading of Shanghai Industry by Ms. Ziying Xu, Vice Director @ Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Information

Bridging China-German Cooperation by Jiandang Gu, CEO @ Phoenix Contact China

Christine discusses the latest in physical + digital manufacturing trends that GE Research is working on, with a particular focus on additive manufacturing and digitally integrated virtual manufacturing.

Phoenix  Contact is one of many "hidden champions" of Germany, a family-owned manufacturer of industrial automation, interconnection, and interface solutions. 

 

Mr. Gu gave a passionate speech about how to learn from Germany's industry 4.0 while building a China smart eco-system.

Large Corporations bring disruption to the industry using intra-incubation by Mr. Leo Wong @ Bosch Venture China

How to maintain the sustainability to innovate by Rajiv Singh, Managing Director @ SABIC Ventures

Return to Manufacturing: Advanced Manufacturing by Dr. Min Zhou, CEO @ CM Venture Capital

Mr. Wong is currently leading incubation and strategic investment activities at Bosch (China) Investment and shared the story of how a large corporation like Bosch creates disruption within the industries it operates.

Rajiv Singh leads the SABIC Ventures team and manages the investment portfolio for SABIC Ventures. In this role, Rajiv leads SABIC's efforts to engage with holders of non-proven technology strategically aligned with SABIC's strategic vision.

The researches have been showing the result of decreasing productivity as the economy grows and the transition from the manufacturing industry to the service industry happens.

In this presentation, Dr. Zhou elaborate on how "China Manufacturing 2025" will change the economy and create opportunities for the businesses

Innovation China 2015

Venture Capital in "Hard Technologies" and Forum on Battery Material and Energy Storage

The Innovation 2015 event was held in Shanghai. Over 200 executives, entrepreneurs and VC professionals gathered to hear from leading VCs discussing venture in "hard technologies", from Professor Josh Lerner of Harvard Business School on corporate venture capital, and from experts as well as seven start-ups in the energy storage space. View some of the presentations below.

Venture Capital and Corporate Venture Capital by Josh Lerner, Professor @ Harvard Business School

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Professor Lerner is a world-renown scholar on venture capital and corporate venture capital. He is author of <<Venture Capital and Private Equity, a casebook>>, a classic textbook on venture capital.

In this lecture, Professor Learner weaves together a history of innovation and entrepreneurship in different cultures, and explore different models of corporate venture capital

Venture Capital in "Hard Technologies" by Dr. Min Zhou, CEO @ CM Venture Capital

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China Materialia (CM Venture Capital) is a VC firm focused on hard technologies including materials science, hardware, manufacturing. 

 

In this talk, Dr. Min Zhou, co-founder, and CEO of CM talks about the hard aspects of investing in hard technology companies, in contrast to software and internet companies. Min points a path forward by bringing the East and the West together.

Battery Materials and Energy Storage Forum, moderated by Michelle Hua, Partner @ CM Venture Capital

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This half-day forum is focused on battery materials and energy storage industry in China. Michelle Hua, Partner of CM Venture Capital gave an overview of battery materials technologies, and Tina Zhang from China Energy Storage Association gave an overview of the energy storage industry in China. 

Seven start-ups in the field participated in roundtable discussions.

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