Successful R&D partnerships with PosterLab

Corinna Herrmann

Startup Stories

Although research and development (R&D) can account for up to 30% of a company's revenues, 50% to 70% of partnerships and alliances fail in this area. Nevertheless, the number of partnerships, due to their importance, is increasing by 15 to 20% annually. 

The startup PosterLab, founded in 2021, shows companies how to properly use partnerships as a strategic growth option. For this purpose, the Mainz/Saarbrücken-based startup offers a unique SaaS platform that enables faster knowledge transfer of early research results between research participants: smart, simple, secure. 

Through this neutral and close digital collaboration venue, partners who choose to collaborate can leverage their strengths to successfully bring their innovations to market. 

In an interview with 5-HT, Sebastien Charles, CEO & Co-Founder, goes into more detail about the use and benefits of the digital solution. 

Sebastien Charles, CEO & Co-Founder of PosterLab

How would you explain your solution in three sentences to a professional colleague from the industrial sector?

"PosterLab's goal is to make every partnership as successful as the BioNTech / Pfizer vaccine development partnership. To do this, we are creating a cross-company collaboration platform that makes managing partnerships as easy as possible through science-based, standardized processes. In doing so, companies can digitally map their entire ecosystem and all ongoing partnerships, partners, competencies and capabilities."

What problem motivated you to start the company?  

"I worked for years as a senior innovation manager at large chemical companies. Each time I changed jobs, it took me 2 to 3 months to get an overview of the current partnerships and partners. It took even longer before I knew about everyone's competencies and capabilities.

Another problem was that there was usually no standardized process for managing partnerships. I had to establish this anew each time. And lastly, there was no optimal solution for reporting and monitoring along the partnership ecosystem, especially in the R&D area. 
All these problems led me to start PosterLab."

How do you convince an industrial group to set up a pilot project with you?

"PosterLab has identified a major problem - the high complexity of partnership processes. Partnerships are particularly important in chemical groups, as co-developing can save many costs. Until now, there has been no cross-company platform on which these partners can work together and be guided through the partnership process by standardized templates. PosterLab solves this problem. This enables large corporations like our customer ZEISS to manage and monitor all partnerships in one place. 

We were also able to win Zeiss and FORTHEM (EU Alliance) as customers and onboard the first users to our platform. Development is highly customer-centric, with customers providing input to our sprints. 

We offer every interested party a free period on PosterLab to test the features of the platform with your team and partners."

Who are your current customers (groups) and who do you want your potential customers to be?

"PosterLab is currently putting a focus on companies related to the circular economy, as by definition they need to collaborate. We are focusing on the oil, gas, chemical, materials and manufacturing industries. With BASF and Zeiss as customers, we started in the German market. However, as these companies operate internationally, so do their partners.

Currently, we are expanding our sales efforts across Europe and are focusing on Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Great Britain and France in addition to Germany. In a 3 to 5 year window, we also plan to expand beyond the borders of Europe, for example to America."

Where do you see yourselves in 3 years and how can 5-HT support you?

"In 3 years we want to dominate the European market and enable any company related to the circular economy to easily and quickly lead partnerships to success. We want to have our platform fully developed and continuously improved. Furthermore, we want to offer a matchmaking function where companies can position themselves as partner-of-choice. This is where 5-HT's network comes in, which can help us realize this vision."

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