||Boston, MA — The traditional electronics partnership model of suppliers soliciting and meeting specs from brand owners and end users breaks down in emerging electronics applications like printed, flexible, and organic electronics (PFOE). Instead, material suppliers and manufacturers need to use new relationships with technology developers to succeed, Lux Research says in a new report.
With this new partnering strategy, called “Trojan Horse partnering,” would-be material and manufacturing suppliers align with promising technology developers to help gain access to brand owners. Case studies like Solvay with ThinFilm Electronics, ITW with PragmatIC Printing, and BASF with Novaled, show the power of this approach.
“In Trojan Horse partnering, the appeal of the technology developer’s novel approach provides an avenue to penetrate the walls of the electronics brand owners, which are otherwise difficult to engage for emerging technologies with undefined benefits,” said Jonathan Melnick, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, ‘Trojan Horse Partnering: Bringing Materials to Market for Emerging Electronics’. “Meanwhile, the materials and manufacturing companies offer resources and credibility to tech developers.”
Lux Research analysts surveyed top executives active in different parts of the supply chain to understand how key segments function. Among their findings:
- Access to brand owners is key. Survey results show that material suppliers have had little success in partnering with brand owners directly and see them as a critical bottleneck, while technology developers have had the most success in partnering with all segments of the value chain.
- Material suppliers and manufacturers need to adapt scouting approaches. For Trojan Horse partnerships, firms need to look at technology at the early stages, but place more emphasis on partnership scouting for more mature technologies. They also need to position themselves effectively as an attractive partner to leading tech developers and plan to accommodate long development cycles.
- Developers shift to CVCs. Currently, more than 85 percent of PFOE venture funding comes from independent venture capital (VC) firms. However, the capital requirements and timelines of PFOE are not a good fit for the traditional VC structure, so corporate VCs (CVCs) with an eye on overall returns and with longer horizons will increase their share of PFOE funding.
The report is part of the Lux Research Printed, Flexible and Organic Electronics Intelligence service.