This article was published in August 2020 and updated in January 2024.
Innovation Map outlines the Top 10 Materials Trends & 20 Promising StartupsFor this in-depth research on the Top Material Trends & Startups, we analyzed a sample of 2453 global startups & scaleups. This data-driven research provides innovation intelligence that helps you improve strategic decision-making by giving you an overview of emerging technologies in the materials industry. In the Material Industry Innovation Map, you get a comprehensive overview of the innovation trends & startups that impact your company.
What are the Trends in the Materials Industry (2024)?
- Sustainable Materials
- Smart & Responsive Materials
- Additive Manufacturing
- Material Informatics
- Advanced Composites
- Graphene & 2D Materials
- Surface Engineering
- Materials Management 4.0
These insights are derived by working with our Big Data & Artificial Intelligence-powered StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, covering 3 790 000+ startups & scaleups globally. As the world’s largest resource for data on emerging companies, the SaaS platform enables you to identify relevant technologies and industry trends quickly & exhaustively.
Tree Map reveals the Impact of the Top 10 Materials Industry TrendsBased on the Materials Innovation Map, the Tree Map below illustrates the impact of the Top 10 advanced materials technologies in 2024. Startups now develop sustainable, responsive, and smart materials that also offer improved physical properties. For example, biodegradable plastics, thermally adaptive fabric, and flexible displays. Novel formulations, including nanomaterials and biomaterials, impart new functionalities to existing materials while expanding the scope of innovation.Additive manufacturing, advanced composites, and 2D materials also lead to the development of various lightweight materials. Along with materials informatics and management, surface engineering impacts several industries from energy, automotive, and construction, to biotechnology, healthcare, and textiles.
Global Startup Heat Map covers 2453 Materials Startups & Scaleups
The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights the global distribution of the 2453 exemplary startups & scaleups that we analyzed for this research. Created through the StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, the Heat Map reveals that Europe & the US are home to most of these companies while we also observe increased activity in South-East Asia, Australia as well India.Below, you get to meet 20 out of these 2453 promising startups & scaleups as well as the solutions they develop. These 20 startups were hand-picked based on criteria such as founding year, location, funding raised, and more. Depending on your specific needs, your top picks might look entirely different.
Interested to explore all 2400+ material startups & scaleups?
Top 10 Materials Industry Trends in 2024
1. Sustainable MaterialsThe substantial waste generated during the use and production of materials has led governments to implement various environmental regulations. Industries across the board, including construction, automotive, packaging, and manufacturing, are reevaluating their processes in terms of material lifecycle.
To reduce their carbon footprint, these sectors are increasingly adopting sustainable materials, aiming to decrease the planet’s waste burden. Sustainable materials not only support circular systems but also facilitate the implementation of a circular economy.
MYNUSCo produces Biocompound MaterialsIndian material technology startup intends to assist the automotive, logistics, packaging, hospitality, and consumer goods industries with their sustainability objectives. The startup produces biodegradable and recyclable compounds based on agricultural waste and renewable resources.Its products contribute to conserving natural deposits and forests while also ensuring scalability and adaptability for existing manufacturing processes.
Rematter makes Sustainable Floor Slabsis a Swiss startup that manufactures sustainable floor slabs. They are constructed from a frame of solid timber beams with rammed earth infills and the connections are dry-joined or screwed. This allows for easy disassembly and re-use of components.The slab material also features high mechanical characteristics like fire resistance and enhanced strength as well as has a lower carbon footprint. Rematter’s slabs enable builders to make sustainable buildings and ensure efficient material recovery at the end of life.
2. Responsive & Smart MaterialsTo meet specific industrial use case requirements, novel materials under development are being tailored with application-specific characteristics. Advances in materials science are enabling the creation of smart materials with programmable properties that react to external stimuli.
Startups are designing materials and products with diverse qualities, including thermo-, electro-, and photo-chromism, piezoelectricity, shape memory, self-healing, and phase-change attributes. The between 2024 and 2028, with the market size forecasted to increase by USD 39.49 billion, highlighting the rapid advancement and growing demand for smart materials.
Memetis offers High-Performace ActuatorsGerman startup creates ultra-compact miniature actuators based on shape memory alloys. The startup enables a memory effect in its materials, which also sustain extreme deformations, and later revert to their original shape. Its property supports the performance of the actuators even in small or dense installation spaces. Memetis offers solutions for consumer electronics, telecommunications, optical technology, mobility, and industry 4.0.
Sorex Sensors develops Film Bulk Acoustic Resonator (FBAR) Technologyis a UK-based startup developing high-sensitivity micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) sensors on silicon wafers using a thin-film piezoelectric material. The startup utilizes FBAR technology to create a piezoelectric effect.The piezoelectric effect enables the startup to accurately detect temperature and mass changes on a femtogram scale. This allows small-scale devices with low-power requirements to respond to external stimuli. Some use cases of this solution include thin-film metrology as well as gas and particulate monitoring.
3. NanotechnologyNanotechnology advancements reveal that materials at the nanoscale exhibit different characteristics from their bulk counterparts. The emergence of nanofibers, nanotubes, allotropes, quantum dots, and other nanomaterials offers immense potential for value addition. These nanomaterials enhance the performance of industrial products at an atomic level. Companies, especially in electronics, energy, mobility, and manufacturing, are leveraging nanomaterials to maintain a competitive edge.
Nanolumi makes Perovskite NanocrystalsSingaporean material technology startup intends to overcome the weaknesses of QD technology for electronic displays with its reliable and safe perovskite nanocrystals. The startup combines cadmium-free origin, broad light spectrum coverage, purer color performance, and high-volume mass-production suitability. Nanolumi’s product also intends to supplant conventional perovskite nanocrystals and QDs for premium electronics.
BNNano provides Enhanced Boron Nitride NanotubesThe US-based startup manufactures boron nitride nanotubes with superhydrophobic, high electrical insulation as well as high thermal and mechanical stability characteristics. The startup offers its nanomaterial as powders, master alloys, masterbatches, and custom mixes. It finds applications in the aerospace, automotive, defense, and textile industries as well as for radiation protection and thermal management.
4. Additive ManufacturingEmerging additive manufacturing facilities are evolving beyond traditional thermoplastics, focusing on materials that offer greater flexibility, customization, functionality, and produce less waste. The advancement of 3D printing technologies is driving improvements in metals, alloys, ceramics, fibers, and their compounds. 3D printing is also fostering the development of new, durable polymer filaments with enhanced conductance, melting, and chemical resistance properties.The 3D printing materials market is estimated to be valued at USD 2.78 billion in 2024 and is during the forecast period. This growth reflects the increasing demand for innovative materials in additive manufacturing.
MAT3D offers Composite Polymeric MaterialsItalian startup is developing new polymeric materials for additive manufacturing that offer strengthened functional attributes. The startup’s materials replace high-performance plastics for metal 3D printing. Its solutions also include a variety of resins with increased electrical, magnetic, anti-bacterial, and thermo-mechanical properties for industrial markets.
Chromatic 3D Materials manufactures 3D Printed PolyurethanesUS-based startup produces a set of durable high-performance polyurethane elastomers for 3D printing, which are simultaneously adaptable and resilient. The startup offers a great degree of customization and compatibility with additives while also ensuring the quality of the final products. Chromatic 3D Materials’ products cater to the automotive, manufacturing, and consumer goods markets, among others.
5. LightweightingIndustries ranging from aerospace to mobility are seeking innovative ways to reduce excess weight, thereby enhancing fuel efficiency and handling. This has led to research into materials like aluminum, magnesium, titanium, high-strength plastics, and carbon fiber. These materials allow industries to lessen the environmental and operational impacts of heavier parts.Additionally, lightweighting innovations in materials provide safety and reliability levels comparable to heavier alternatives. The global lightweight materials market size is at a CAGR of 8.3% during the forecast period (2023-2030).
TxV Aero advances Aerospace Composites ManufacturingThe US-based startup designs and engineers custom laminate materials and finished composite parts for applications in commercial aerospace. Using advanced technology, the startup fabricates lightweight thermoplastic assemblies with tailored features, including ply orientation, pad-ups, near-net shapes, and more. Further, TxV Aero works on retrofit aerospace applications to increase overall productivity.
Fibratech makes Composite Automotive WheelsPolish startup intends to overcome the lightweighting and performance limitations of aluminum in the mobility sector. It develops hybrid composite-metallic wheels for vehicles, augmented with carbon fiber. Fibratech’s material attains general mass reduction, stiffness increase, and design customization, compared to widely used forged aluminum wheels.
6. Material Informatics
Large companies today are adopting a data-driven approach to materials, utilizing informatics, computational techniques, and machine learning (ML), and artificial intelligence (AI). This approach enables them to systematically organize and model materials data. Material Informatics not only optimizes the extraction of scientific insights from complex materials data but also accelerates research and development (R&D) timelines, saving time and labor.
Kebotix provides a Self-Driving Material Discovery LabThe US-based startup develops a self-driving laboratory solution for materials research to accelerate new materials exploration. The startup leverages big data, AI-based decision-making, dedicated robotics, and a convenient interface to streamline cycles for scientists. Kebotix is particularly interested in tackling challenges in sustainability, public health, and hazardous industrial substances.
Matelligence enables AI-Based Materials ScreeningCanadian startup provides material science experts with data-driven tools for materials discovery. Its solution comprises computational techniques with patented AI algorithms to lower the number of required scientific experiments and expedite screening procedures. Matellligence’s platform primarily targets clean energy, electronics, and manufacturing, among other sectors.
7. Advanced Composites
Advanced composites, a significant trend in the materials industry, are engineered materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties. These composite solutions are known for their exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance, and durability. Key benefits include enhanced performance, longevity, and lightweight properties, leading to energy efficiency and reduced environmental impact.They find extensive applications across various industries, such as aerospace for aircraft components, automotive for lightweight and fuel-efficient vehicles, construction for robust and durable structures, and sports equipment for improved performance and durability. Their adaptability and superior properties make them a pivotal material choice in modern engineering and design. The global composites market is , growing at a CAGR of 8.2% from 2022 to 2027.
AMP Industrial offers Continuous-Fiber Composites For PropellersThe US-based startup fabricates advanced composites for unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The startup leverages unidirectional continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastics (CFR-TP) to make its composites. They feature a high strength-to-weight ratio and material toughness, as well as support customizable materials design for high-performance applications.
ARCEON creates High-Temperature Resistant Composites (HTRC)Dutch startup creates innovative high-temperature resistant composites for satellites, rockets, and engine parts. Its products withstand temperatures exceeding 1000 degrees Celsius, retain a low coefficient of thermal expansion, contain lightweight materials, and also reinforce mechanical robustness and durability.
8. Graphene & 2D MaterialsAdvancements in nanotechnology have enabled materials science companies to develop pathways for two-dimensional (2D) materials. These materials, known for their excellent thermal conductivity and mechanical strength, enhance the capabilities of various industrial applications. While most 2D materials like germanene, silicene, stanene, and phosphorene are still in the research phase, graphene stands out as the first successfully commercialized 2D material.
Graphene offers improved tensile strength, intra-sheet bonding, surface durability, electron mobility, flexibility, and thermal resistance. It finds applications in several industries, including electronic displays, supercapacitors, automotive, construction paints, and plastics manufacturing.