InoCrowd Challenge - Diversifying Business Models for Aniline and Derivatives

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$7,500 USD
Due:  19th Jun 2024

Challenge overview

OVERVIEW

The Seeker for this InoCrowd Challenge wants to lead and grow profitably and sustainably with further work in Aniline and Derivatives (Organic Chemicals) and reduce its dependence on the reduced number of current relevant clients in this segment by diversifying its customer base. How can the Seeeker diversify its business models to enhance the value chain of Aniline and Derivatives?

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This is a Prize Challenge which requires a written proposal to be submitted. More details around award, Intellectual Property (IP) rights, and treatment of solutions is available on the InoCrowd Challenge page and process documentation.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on June 19 2024. 

Late submissions will not be considered.

N.B. The Prize for this Challenge is in Euros (€), not dollars.
 

ABOUT THE SEEKER & ELIGIBILITY

InoCrowd specializes in providing services to generate ideas and solve problems, based on its own interactive open innovation technological platform, which reaches a network of experts from around the world, to accelerate and enhance innovation in companies investing in research and development (R&D).

Anyone can participate in this Challenge, with more details available on InoCrowd’s platform

 

THE CHALLENGE

Background

The Seeker's business strategy identifies the development of new avenues of growth as one of its main priorities. The Seeker has been operating in the same markets, essentially with the same business model, for several decades, however always seeking to explore new markets, new segments, new products, and new value propositions. The difficulty in innovating with impact puts the sustainability and relevance of the Organization at risk in the coming decades.

The Seeker has a strong presence in the production and commercialization of Chlor-alkali products, and Aniline and Derivatives, but in today's rapidly evolving business landscape, it is essential to explore new avenues for growth and diversification. They are seeking innovative ideas, products/solutions, and business models to leverage their core capabilities and expand their product portfolio into adjacent markets. This challenge aims to identify opportunities in the Organic Chemicals sector to ensure their continued success and relevance in the industry. This can be materialized in new market niches or applications for the current products (nitrobenzene and aniline), new aniline or nitrobenzene derivatives, innovative raw materials or additives that can differentiate these commoditized products, or new strategic and innovative partnerships with relevant market agents.

As a leading chemical industry organization with a competitive position in the market where it operates, the Seeker's core business is the production of Chlor-Alkali products (PCA), in the Inorganic Chemicals segment, and Aniline and Derivatives products (PAD), in the segment of Organic Chemicals.

Currently, the Seeker is among the European leaders in merchant market sales of aniline and mononitrobenzene (MNB), as well as one of the world’s leading non-integrated (MDI) aniline producers.

To produce its chemical products, the Seeker relies on two industrial sites that are dependent on raw materials such as benzene, salt, ammonia and hydrogen, as well as utilities such as electricity. The company is a national reference in the hydrogen (H2) value chain, with a strong position as a producer of H2 without direct use of natural gas.

With the evolving market dynamics and emerging new applications of these chemicals, there's an imperative need to explore and implement innovative business models. This will not only enhance the Seeker's market presence but also ensure its sustainability and adaptability in the ever-changing industrial landscape.

The Seeker operates in the production of aniline and its derivatives, serving as a supplier for various industries such as Polyurethanes, Paints and Pigments, Rubber Chemicals, Pharmaceutical APIs, Synthetic Fibers, Fertilizers and other chemicals.

Positioned in the middle of large chemicals’ value chains as a commodity chemicals’ supplier, the Seeker is dedicated to producing and selling these products and is heavily reliant on its current (limited) customer base. Furthermore, the products it provides are considered commodities by its customers, prompting the company to employ efficiency strategies to enhance its profit margins.
 

The Challenge

Given this context, the Seeker aims to ascend the value chain or explore entry into other value chains to augment the value of its products and diminish dependence on existing customers. This strategic shift is driven by the desire to reduce vulnerability associated with the commodity nature of its current offerings. By diversifying into higher value-added activities or entering new markets, the Seeker seeks to achieve greater resilience, increased profitability, and a more strategic position in the market. This move is a response to the challenges posed by being entrenched in the early stages of the value chain and dealing with products that are perceived as commodities in the eyes of its customers.

Our current knowledge regarding nitrobenzene (other than aniline production) and aniline (other than isocyanates production) applications and market size is that they are relatively limited. As we understand it, these products have very limited applications in segments with very concentrated, large players (for example, Rubber Chemicals producers). Therefore, market growth and client prospecting are difficult, as we already cater to the largest consumers in each segment with our products.

Specific emerging markets and niches, technologies, and applications that can be targeted for business model diversification are yet to be identified. Asides from the current applications that these products are used by our clients, we do not have sufficient information in what additional applications or markets they can be used. Current major applications that the Seeker sells its products for are the following:

Nitrobenzene:

  • Production of pharmaceutical products (API’s)
  • Antioxidant production
  • Production of Dyes and pigments

Aniline:

  • Rubber Chemicals: accelerators, antiozonants, and antioxidants
  • Synthetic Fibers
  • Production of dyes and pigments
  • Production of pharmaceutical products (API’s)

Diversifying the business models will not only expand the Seeker's market reach but also enhance its competitiveness and sustainability in the chemical industry.

Innovative and feasible strategies for diversifying business models related to aniline and its derivatives. The solutions should be scalable and capable of generating long-term value for the Seeker.

The Seeker invites all the participants to participate in their innovation challenge to identify and develop new business models that will allow their company to expand into adjacent products and diversify their portfolio.

Organic Chemical Products:

  • Propose innovative products that can be derived from their existing mononitrobenzene and Aniline production capabilities;
  • Develop a sustainable and cost- effective supply chain, in regard to the main raw materials involved: benzene, ammonia and hydrogen;
  • Explore markets - with high growth/value potential - where these organic chemicals can find applications and identify potential partners or customers.

In addition to presenting the solution and the associated business model, the Solver should be able to explain how the solution and business model will be tested.

This Challenge’s timeline can be seen below:

Open Call: 19th March, 2024
Submission Deadline: 19th June, 2024
Pre-selection deadline: 19th July, 2024
Pitch Day: 19th September, 2024
Selected Winners: until 26th September, 2024
Kick-off: During the fourth trimester, 2024

 

SOLUTION REQUIREMENTS & ACCEPTANCE CRITERIA

The solution must meet the following minimum, must-have requirements:

  • Customer Segments: Identifies the groups of people or organizations for whom the company is creating value.
  • Channels: Describes how the company reaches and communicates with its customers to deliver the value proposition.
  • Customer Relationship: Defines the type of interaction the company establishes with its customers.
  • Revenue Streams: Indicates how the company generates revenue from its customers (product sales, subscriptions, advertising, etc.).
  • Key Resources: Are the fundamental assets needed to deliver the value proposition, such as financial, human, and technological resources.
  • Key Activities: Describes the essential activities the company needs to perform to operate successfully.
  • Key Partnerships: Identifies other organizations or companies with which the company collaborates to achieve its objectives.
  • Cost Structure: Lists the key costs associated with the operation of the business.

Submissions to this challenge will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Innovation: The uniqueness and originality of the proposed business model or product ideas for the Seeker.
  • Business Model Viability: The assessment of market demand and growth potential for the proposed products, and profitability.
  • Feasibility: The practicality and resource requirements for implementing the proposed diversification strategies.
  • Sustainability: Consideration of environmental and social impact in the proposed models.
  • Scalability: The potential for scalable growth and integration into our existing operations.
     

YOUR SUBMISSION

More details about the Challenge's submission form and the application process can be found on the InoCrowd platform.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on June 19, 2024. 

Late submissions will not be considered.

N.B. The Prize for this Challenge is in Euros (€), not dollars.

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