Elevate – for external startups looking to take their idea to the next level.

We fill the gap between the early-stage startup ecosystem and the corporate BASF world.

Embedded in both, we generate mutually beneficial innovation and together shape the future of the industry.

Chemovator in a nutshell


Long-term partnership & support from idea validation to building disruptive and impactful ventures.


Visionary founders with an idea centered around sustainability, development of next generation materials & other groundbreaking areas.


Hands-on mentorship & support from experienced entrepreneurs, corporate partners, our investor network, alumni and BASF experts.

Chemovator Elevate Journey

Our three-step incubation program enables lean validation, fast execution & growth at speed

  • Ideation, Exploration & Scouting
  • Validation

    Understand market & set KPIs

    • Get-to-know Chemovator
    • Validation of problem & relevance
    • Evidence for scalability of business model & solution
    • Prototype & early market feedback
  • 2.


    Road to productmarket-fit

    • First use cases or pilot customers
    • Development Minimum Viable Product
    • Validation of Unique Selling Proposition
  • Fundraising

    Follow-on Investment

    • Investment story
    • Business Plan
    • Set up equity financing round
  • The program will be set up tailor-made for each team according to the relevant needs. It kicks off with a 1-day, inperson onboarding and ends with an in-person celebration, both in Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg. For the weeks in between, you can participate remotely.

Our Focus Areas


CO2 reduction

  • CO2 reduction & replacement
  • Storage
  • Transport
  • Use of chemicals incl digital enablement

Use of renewable feedstocks

  • Aromatic systems
  • Diols and triols
  • Fermentation

Closing the loop

  • Recycling
  • Smart waste management
  • Track & trace
Next Generation Materials

Fire protection

  • Flame retardants
  • Fire-resistant foams

Fire Stabilizers

  • New antioxidant
  • New lights stabilizer
  • Corrosion inhibitors

Crop protection

  • Automation
  • Biobased products
  • Early detection of treatment need


  • Packaging material
  • Barrier films
  • Paper and PET enhancement

Battery materials

  • Materials for higher energy density
  • Cycle stability
  • Recharge time
  • Cost and safety
Process Innovation


  • Enhancement of chem. reactions with lower inputs of raws and energy
  • Reduction of waste streams


Logistics enhancement incl.

  • Supply reliability
  • Supply chain capacities
  • Sustainable supply chain
  • Support systems for regulatory compliance


Faster and more efficient research processes incl.

  • Smart knowledge management
  • Automatization of standard experiments
  • Digital enrichment of lab work


Where and at which stage do you invest?

We are always looking for highly motivated intra- and entrepreneurs who want to turn their ideas into reality with our support. You have an early-stage business (idea), a team and want to join Chemovator?

When is the right time to approach you about investing?

As we focus on pre-seed, it’s never too early. You should have a first proof-of-concept for your technology though, but you don’t have to be commercial yet. By the time you would start your Chemovator Evolve Journey, the company needs to be incorporated.

What can I use the Chemovator investment for?

You can use the Chemovator investment for anything that you believe helps your business. It could support the founders to work full-time on their company (by paying themselves a salary).

What is the time commitment of Chemovator - Elevate?

A few hours per week if you participate in all the recommended activities. Some parts of the Chemovator program are mandatory, others are optional.
The Chemovator incubation program is set up in a way that it makes it possible for founders to spend several months completely focused on their startup with no distractions.

Can a single person apply for funding?

Yes. We accept solo founders. However, we believe that Co-Founders are necessary for the mid- to long-term success of the startup and therefore we encourage building a team of 2 to 3 founders. Our recruiting team is available to help you find a good match.

Can we apply more than once?

Yes. Having made progress since your last application is a strong signal to us.

Do we need to incorporate before applying?

No, but in case you are accepted we would recommend incorporating before we start the program.

How do you differentiate from BASF Venture Capital GmbH?

BVC is our sister company and we work closely together. They typically invest in Seed and Series A, so we bridge the gap with our investments in pre-seed startups.

How can we get investment and access to the incubation program?

Apply online here

How much do you invest?

We have a standard deal for all our investments. We invest €200,000 in every company on standard terms via a convertible loan agreement.

What are your investment criteria?

As we like to be among the first investors, we focus primarily on a strong and complementary founder team. Next to that, we expect a short go-to-market time and a big market potential. We invest in soft- and/or hardware in B2B and B2B2C models. There needs to be a clear connection to the chemical industry and strategic interest from BASF.

When should I apply?

We recommend applying for Chemovator as soon as you have a founding team and a relevant idea you are excited about.

Can I participate in Chemovator while I’m a full-time student or working full-time at a job?

You can certainly apply when you are a full-time student or employee, but we expect the founders to commit to working full-time on their company during the program and afterwards if accepted.

If we participated in another accelerator, can we participate in Chemovator?

Yes. However, it is on you to decide whether a second incubator/accelerator is needed to progress best with your companies’ goals.

Our group has two ideas. Can we submit two applications?

We don‘t recommend it. You should pick your favorite idea and apply with that one.

How to apply

  • 1.

    Online Application

    Application possible all year round

  • Interview

    You will get an invitation within 2-4 weeks

  • 3.

    Deep Dive & Due Diligence

    Start of the due diligence process

  • Entry pitch

    10 min Pitch + 20 min Q&A Final investment decision

  • 5.


    Kick-off your journey as an accepted team

Want to join Chemovator?

Pitch your idea!

We are always looking for highly motivated intra- and entrepreneurs who want to turn their ideas into reality with our support. You have an early-stage business (idea), a team and want to join Chemovator?

Pitch now

Not sure or not ready yet?

Check out our portfolio to see which teams already made the journey through Chemovator-Evolve. Drop us a line if you have specific questions.

Contact us