Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Toulouse (France), Nanolike is a highly innovative small company specialized on measurement technologies. As a spin-off of the Laboratory of Physics and Chemistry of Nano-objects (CNRS / INSA / University of Toulouse), its success illustrates the potential of European nanotechnology to bridge the gap from lab to market, grow and create highly skilled jobs in Europe. Since 2016, Nanolike has been supported by the European Innovation Council (EIC) with EUR 1.8 million in grants.
Nanolike’s safe and reliable IoT systems did not go unnoticed by Holcim – the global leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions.
Both the Corporate and the startup met together in January 2021 at “EIC Corporate Day”, organized by the Holcim Innovation Center and the EIC Business Acceleration Services. This highly curated services are provided exclusively to EIC beneficiaries to support them to get faster into the global market.
Since then, Holcim’s logistic department and its venture platform Holcim MAQER and Nanolike followed together the best-practice path of a Corporate-Startup’s collaboration to the letter: a first exchange of ideas in the right environment of a EIC Corporate Day in January 2021, a NDA signature, the development of a Proof of Concept (PoC) in Greece and first key performance indicators (KPIs) successfully evaluated in October 2021. Eventually, the signature of the first contracts with Holcim Greece and soon to be replicated in some of the 70 countries where the big corporation develops its activities.
Alex Scheld, Global Head of Logistics at Holcim, explains:
The innovative technology of Nanolike allows us to automate our silo replenishment in real time and enable a vendor managed inventory process. Nanolike is easy to install and it integrates into already existing order systems.
Bengt Steinbrecher from Holcim Maqer adds:
Holcim MAQER is about establishing enduring partnerships between startups and Holcim based upon real business, knowledge and growth. With an open innovation approach, MAQER provides access to the global building materials sector to help drive innovation at a massive scale.
From the first contacts to a global business contract in less than one year
With the current collaboration in place, Nanolike digitizes the silos of ready-mixed concrete mixing plants at Holcim in order to monitor their fill levels in real time. The goal is to better synchronize the filling of the silos with the demand for different ready-mixed concrete mixes and thus avoid delivery bottlenecks to the individual construction sites and at the same time, increase security avoiding any potential risk for Holcim staff.
Holcim sees great potential in automating processes by using real-time data collected via IoT-connected Nanolike sensors. They are attached to the silos without intervention, do not require a power connection thanks to the battery and can be operated maintenance-free for many years. In this respect, they are also suitable for concrete and liquid screed silos on construction sites.
Stefan Huber, Director Sales Germany at Nanolike explains:
Previously, cement and aggregates for the customer's needs for the following day were ordered based on manual calculations of the stocks in the silo - a process that was prone to faults and was time-consuming in places and which, in cases of doubt, led to delivery bottlenecks. By using the Nanolike fill level detection and monitoring system, we were able to expand the existing system with manual inventory management with digital measuring points within a few days. What was new for us here was the significantly higher inventory turnover rate compared to agriculture. But even with extremely high inventory turnover, our system was able to reliably deliver data. In the next step, all upstream and downstream processes will access real-time data and thus be coordinated much more precisely. For us, this is an important milestone: It points the way for the entire construction industry.
Victor Pacheco, Innovation Process and responsible of the European Innovation Council at Holcim says:
The close collaboration between Holcim and the European Innovation Council will continue with the celebration of a second edition of this event on June 8-9, 2022 under the EIC Greenhouse Gas Program.
Nanolike and the EIC
Nanolike received in 2016 its first support from the European Innovation Council (EIC) – SME Instrument with a EUR 50 000 grant to further develop its business plan. It continued in 2020 with a EUR 1.77 million grant to extend its action plan and reach the market through its TankSensor project, developing an Internet of things nano sensor and software solution for fill-level monitoring of industrial tanks.
Holcim builds progress for people and the planet. As a global leader in innovative and sustainable building solutions, Holcim is enabling greener cities, smarter infrastructure and improving living standards around the world. With sustainability at the core of its strategy Holcim is becoming a net zero company, with its people and communities at the heart of its success. The company is driving circular construction as a world leader in recycling to build more with less. Holcim is the company behind some of the world’s most trusted brands in the building sector including ACC, Aggregate Industries, Ambuja Cement, Disensa, Firestone Building Products, Geocycle, Holcim, Lafarge and Malarkey Roofing Products. Holcim is 70 000 people around the world who are passionate about building progress for people and the planet through four business segments: cement, ready-mix concrete, aggregates and solutions & products.
About Holcim MAQER
Holcim MAQER is the industry’s leading Venture Client unit driving change through open innovation in the building materials sector. Holcim MAQER connects technology companies to actual use cases across the entire Holcim value chain, from quarry to the customer. Collaborating with startups, thought leaders and corporations, Holcim MAQER finds the most impactful technologies to help build a smarter, greener and more inclusive world.
EIC Corporate Partnership Programme – EIC Corporate Days
Since 2917, 52 initiatives have been organised through “EIC Corporate Days”, “EIC Multicorporate Days” and enhanced cooperation initiatives as Planet.Tech or Energy4Planet with +100 corporate partners like: ABB, Airbus, BMW, CommerzBank, Enel, Ferrovial, Holcim, Medtronic, Philips, Roche, Solvay, Suez or Telefonica.
Over 1200 EIC-funded startups/scaleups and +2500 corporate high level representatives have been able to participate in these initiatives reporting more than 50% business follow-ups in less than 6 months, including numerous pilots, proofs of concept and other business collaborations.
For big groups interested in joining the EIC Corporate Partnership programme, there is an open call for applications.
- Publication date
- 11 March 2022