First Graphene gears for growth through new “market-maker” strategy

  • Market-maker strategy adopted to bolster role as a leading global provider of graphene and graphene-based products
  • Inclusion of innovative partners in key industries to prove benefits of graphene-enhanced products
  • Commercial managers have been appointed with responsibility for key verticals
  • Partnerships are already underway with innovative players in concrete and cement, plastics, composites and coatings and inks.

Market-maker, not just market provider

Over the last two quarters, First Graphene Limited (“First Graphene”) (ASX:FGR) has undertaken a comprehensive review of its go-to-market strategy (GTM).  Whilst remaining as a world leading provider of high-quality graphene through its PureGRAPH® product range, it will also be putting renewed focus and emphasis into driving graphene demand.

This new ‘market-maker’ strategy will involve working with innovative players in key industries to prove out the benefits of graphene-enhanced products and ensure their commercial viability.  This new approach is designed to supplement and super-charge the work done through First Graphene’s Tier One partnership with the GEIC (Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre) in Manchester and other research partners, including Warwick, Wollongong, Manchester, and Adelaide Universities.

Says Michael Bell, CEO “To advance our status as a world leading graphene company, we will be putting increased emphasis into driving demand for graphene, not passively responding to it.   We are excited to have entered into collaboration agreements with several innovative global players to step-change the graphene industry by proving, unequivocally, the benefits of graphene-enhanced products across several different industries.  We further this approach by actively identifying partners for active downstream collaboration, where we invest and take ownership of solutions, and then commercialise and productise.

A rigorous GTM market approach targeting key verticals

There is already growing interest in the graphene sector with First Graphene enjoying two successive record quarters for revenue in Q4FY21 and Q1FY22.  First Graphene also has several early adopter clients including Aquatic Leisure Technologies (swimming pools), newGen Group (mining wear liners and elastomeric coatings), Steel Blue (boots), and Ascent Shipwrights.

Indeed, the potential opportunities for graphene are many with most material types likely to benefit from its inclusion.  To ensure focus, a disciplined approach has been taken to identify several key verticals on which First Graphene will concentrate over the next 24 months.

These verticals have been identified based on market size and growth as well as graphene’s potential to create step changes in the industry.

The key verticals on which First Graphene will be focusing are:

Concrete and Cement: a $774BN* annual market with predicted compound annual growth rate (“CAGR”) of 8.4% to 2027 (Source: 360Research reports)

Rubbers and Elastomers:  a $397BN* annual market with predicted CAGR of 8% to 2026 (Source: MarketWatch)

Plastics:  a $431.74BN* annual market with predicted CAGR of 3.4% to 2028

(Source: Fortune Business Insights)

Composites: a $37.88BN* annual market with predicted CAGR of 5.3% (2020-2027) (Source: Quince Insights)

Energy Storage: a $170BN* annual market with predicted CAGR of 5.5% to 2026 (Source: Global Newswire)

*Note: whilst annual market sales can provide an indication of the size of the relevant market segments they are not an indication of what level of success or otherwise First Graphene may achieve in penetrating that particular market segment.

Restructuring for focus and identifying the right partners

The Company has hired specialist commercial managers to drive demand: Todd McGurgan (Cement and Concrete), Matt Curthoys (Marine Composites and Renewables) and Neil Armstrong (Composites and Plastics).  First Graphene is also pleased to announce the recent hiring of Commercial Manager for Coatings and Inks, Shoaib Qureshi and, for Rubbers and Elastomers, Peter Osborne.  With these industry expert skillsets, First Graphene is better positioned to accelerate global adoption of the PureGRAPH® product range and grow revenue.

Alongside this, the strategic process involved a deep dive into each vertical to understand the key segments to target. Within the $774BN cement and concrete segment, First Graphene will focus on partnerships not only with large cement and concrete manufacturers but, crucially, with leading admixture companies, with the development of a liquid dispersant being a key to industry adoption.

Says Todd McGurgan, Commercial Manager Cement and Concrete, “Our GTM process has highlighted where we need to focus our energies to ‘make’ the graphene market in cement and concrete.   Alongside the manufacturers, admixture companies will play a key role in driving demand for graphene, by integrating it into existing production processes.”

Likewise, in the $431BN plastics and $37.88BN composites market, masterbatch manufacturers and compounders, as well as composite material manufacturers, have been identified as key entry points to the sector.’

Says Neil Armstrong, Commercial Manager for Composites and Plastics, “Masterbatch manufacturers represent a crucial entry point to the plastics industry given their deep understanding of the market and their expertise in handling powders.  We will also be focusing on innovative manufacturers who are eager to develop enhanced products in both plastics and composites.”

This same GTM process will be undertaken for Coatings and Inks and Rubbers and Elastomers now that there are dedicated customer managers for these verticals.

An approach that is already reaping rewards

The structure and approach are already paying dividends.  In Cement and Concrete, First Graphene is already collaborating with global grinding aid and liquid admixture companies to produce liquid dispersants.

In plastics, First Graphene has partnered with multiple global masterbatch companies to develop its market ready PureGRAPH® MB masterbatch product range. With additional developments targeting additive manufacturing, conductive plastics, and high-performance applications.

In renewables, First Graphene is partnering with a major wind turbine solutions provider on a graphene-enhanced Research and Development programme, specific to turbine blade leading edge durability.

Momentum is also building in the Coatings and Inks segment.  In June, First Graphene announced its MOU with Advanced Material Development Ltd (AMD) to collaborate in the ongoing development of AMD’s portfolio of conductive inks and the inclusion of PureGRAPH®.  AMD has recently been successful in securing multiple government contracts with both the US and UK governments to develop protective films and coatings for military equipment and wind turbines, and smart labelling for effective supply chain management.

A disciplined, demand-driving future

First Graphene is committed to delivering the graphene revolution.  The dual strategy of market-making, as well as supplying the market, is its plan for success.  A focused go-to-market approach has led to partnerships across several key verticals, with more to follow.

Says Michael Bell, CEO.  “First Graphene will continue to lead the way in providing the highest quality graphene at competitive prices.  For markets that require an even more cost-effective solution, we will also be developing graphene hybrids.   Our go-to-market strategy will ensure that we will focus on key industry sectors with huge appetite for these graphene-enhanced products and partner with key players to build momentum and uptake.  We look forward to announcing further partnerships in due course.”