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Major packaging supplier seeks start-up companies to pitch innovations ala Shark Tank or Dragon’s Den.

Rick Lingle, Senior Technical Editor

April 6, 2022

4 Min Read
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Image courtesy of The Print Collector/Alamy Stock Photo

All systems are go for Amcor Lift-Off, an open-call initiative aimed at supporting seed-stage start-ups that are focused on innovative packaging solutions and related technologies. Launched April 6, the open solicitation offers these start-ups a chance to secure an investment of $250,000, as well as operational guidance, to take their ideas to the next level.

Specifically, Amcor is looking to partner with innovative leaders that are working to create more sustainable packaging solutions, new packaging technologies or have developed a new business model. Applicants must be innovating in at least one of six strategic areas to apply: recycling systems, alternative barriers, paper-based solutions, smart and connected packaging, biomaterials, or new industry business models.

Incorporated companies from around the world can apply for free, regardless of whether they have raised funds before.

The Amcor Lift-Off program will proceed in three phases:

Applications will be open online until May 15, 2022.

Amcor informs PlasticsToday that it expects around 50 companies to respond, “but hopefully more. We believe it is an attractive offering for start-ups, not only for the funding but also for the chance to get guidance and support, drawing from Amcor’s experience and network in the packaging business. We expect around 50% of applicants to be from the US."

Applicants will then be screened and shortlisted, with up to 20 start-ups invited for a first call to pitch their ideas.

Amcor tells PT that the initial contact will be an initial video-call with the team to dig deeper into the start-ups and their ideas, get the chance to know the team and their plans and motivation for the program.

“We will also be explaining more about the process, answer any questions, discuss potential support from the Amcor side and clarify documentation,” the spokesperson says.

Five final start-ups will be invited to pitch on a first Lift-Off day toward the end of June before a team of senior Amcor leaders.

Amcor explains that this will comprise a half-day of pitching in which each start-up selected will be pitching individually in front of our investment committee virtually.

“This will take the form of a 15-minute pitch and 30 minute Q&A. The decision will follow closely after,” the company said.

How will the company know the Lift-Off was a success?

According to a spokesperson, “Investments in innovative and game-changing start-ups, can bring new technologies and ways of thinking to Amcor as a whole. In addition, and more long term, we also think that the ability to support them and bring them to the next level through Amcor support and resources is equally important — whether R&D or commercial support or access to the Amcor network. Our idea of success is to help the start-ups ‘lift-off’".

Note: applications received after May 15 will be considered for a second Amcor Lift-Off event in November 2022.

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Based on the ideas pitched, each of the five finalists could receive $250,000 in the form of a convertible loan as well as Amcor support and resources to refine their products, build partnerships and scale across geographies. Companies interested are invited to apply here.

“As the global diversified packaging leader, Amcor is a firm believer in investing and developing early stage, cutting-edge innovation around sustainability and digitization for the packaging industry,” says Frank Lehmann, VP corporate venturing and open innovation at Amcor. “We look forward to establishing an ecosystem of start-ups to complement and amplify Amcor’s growth agenda and to further raise the bar and expectations on what can be achieved through innovative and more sustainable packaging. Amcor Lift-Off is just another example of how for 160 years Amcor has originated and supported industry-wide innovation – wherever and whenever it may originate.

“Our customers, and their consumers, want packaging solutions to evolve in line with societal expectations around sustainability, transparency and traceability – these solutions are the next generation of packaging and Amcor is bringing them to the forefront.”

Amcor’s corporate venturing work is focused on investing in innovative businesses and more sustainable packaging solutions to drive long-term growth.

Earlier this year, Amcor announced a strategic investment in PragmatIC Semiconductor, a world leader in ultra, low-cost electronics which can be embedded into packaging. This followed an earlier investment in ePac Flexible Packaging in 2021.

About the Author(s)

Rick Lingle

Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday

Rick Lingle is Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday. He’s been a packaging media journalist since 1985 specializing in food, beverage and plastic markets. He has a chemistry degree from Clarke College and has worked in food industry R&D for Standard Brands/Nabisco and the R.T. French Co. Reach him at [email protected] or 630-481-1426.

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