This 350-year-old company is getting into the accelerator game

The external ventures arm of Malvern-based Saint-Gobain is on the hunt for startups disrupting the building and construction game.

Saint Gobain's sprawling campus in Malvern. (Photo by Roberto Torres)

With its North American headquarters in Malvern, Saint-Gobain is easily among the oldest active firms with ties to the Philly area: The French building materials company was founded as a glass maker in October 1665, during the reign of King Louis XIV.

But it’s not letting age slow it down. Through NOVA, its external ventures arm, and in partnership with Somerville, Mass.-based cleantech incubator Greentown Labs, the company launched an accelerator program aimed at the building and construction industries, with a special interest in startups that have already reached the prototype stage.

Some of the perks of the six-month InNOVAte Challenge are $25,000 in grant funding, access to additional investments from Saint-Gobain and its CertainTeed subsidiary, desk space at the 58,000-square-foot Greentown Labs Global Center for Cleantech Innovation, and access to Saint-Gobain facilities and experts.

“Through partnering with Greentown Labs, we will be able to leverage our in-market expertise, resources and network of contractors, distributors and builders to help startups grow and scale their businesses by providing critical early stage feedback,” said Minas Apelian, VP of R&D, quality and external venturing at Saint-Gobain and CertainTeed. “By exchanging ideas, we can help startups develop a tailored solution that benefits both parties while improving the built environment value chain.”

Though companies will need to be in Somersville for the programming, some activities will take place in Saint-Gobain’s Malvern campus. Applications are due by April 8.

“We’re confident that by combining the resources and expertise of Greentown Labs and Saint-Gobain NOVA we will provide selected startups with an invaluable opportunity to test their ideas and accelerate their go-to-market strategy,”said Greentown Labs CEO Dr. Emily Reichert.


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