CompPair develops healable composite materials for extending the life-time of composite structures. Founded by Dr. Amaël Cohades and based on over 12 years of research at EPFL (Switzerland), this startup needs to find the best market opportunity for its innovation.

The magic of self-healing materials

While current repair solutions in composites involve monitoring failure, removal of the damaged zones and repair, CompPair’s unique materials enable in-situ preparation of micro-cracks using a simple and cost-efficient thermal mending process (i.e. a blow dryer for 1 minute).

The advantages are clear: CompPair provides smart and sustainable composite materials that easily fit into current production lines and can significantly reduce maintenance cost or increase application life-time.

The applications, therefore, are endless, ranging from sports gear, to buildings or marines- to name just a few.

One of the biggest challenges for Amaël was to figure out where to start building his business: which market domain could benefit most from his unique technology.

To help him in this critical decision, a group of PhD students in the course “Entrepreneurial Opportunity Identification and Exploitation” worked on assessing different market opportunities for CompPair. The goal of their project was to identify the most appropriate strategy to bring this novel product to a commercial success by using the Market Opportunity Navigator.

Who needs healable solutions? The discovery process

Following the structured process, the group identified five different market opportunities that seemed worthy for further investigation. These were:

  • Prosthetics
  • Mast for super yachts
  • Drones
  • Composite bridges
  • Hockey sticks

Each opportunity bears different potential and challenges which they assessed through desk research and interviews with relevant professionals. Initial indications showed that hockey sticks production and Prosthetics might be considered as “Gold mine” opportunities, while Drones and Bridges were defined as “Moon shots”. Mast for super-yacht seemed non-attractive due to low interest from professionals working in this field.

Based on this evaluation, the group recommended the startup to focus on hockey stick manufacturers and try to learn more about this market opportunity. They also recommended to keep looking at drones and bridges, as they could be interesting markets for future growth or backup.

The summary of their analysis is depicted on the Market Opportunity Navigator below. To read the full study, including the filled worksheets, click here.

What’s next?

For Amaël and his team, this project ignited a long learning and validation process. Through a deeper market study with over 60 potential customers and experts, they discarded some of the possible directions and added new ones.  Using the Market Opportunity Navigator to reflect on their learning, the team eventually decided to focus on the marine and sport industries.

Since then, CompPair obtained various grants to develop their business case, and plan their market entry during 2020. For more news about their progress visit: