BASF Venture Capital invests in Asia for the first time

November 3, 2003 by  

BASF Venture Capital GmbH (BVC), Ludwigshafen, Germany, is investing in the Korean company I-Components (IC) Co. Ltd., headquartered near Seoul, South Korea. BVC is the largest investor and is providing venture capital totaling €2.5 million together with STIC Ventures, Seoul. Further details of the funding were not announced.


I-Components produces high-quality plastic films for a variety of applications in the electronics and automotive industries. The company supplies the Asian market with plastic films for mobile electronic devices (mobile phones, PDAs, laptops, digital cameras, touch screens, etc.) and is exploring novel applications for those films.

For example, IC is developing transparent plastic films with the aim to replace glass as the carrier material in liquid crystal displays (LCDs). These films have the advantage of being flexible, unbreakable and light. As a result, displays can be produced in a continuous “roll-to-roll” process. Moreover, rejects as a result of broken glass can be avoided. “This will lead to substantially lower production costs for the displays of the future. In addition, it will open up new possibilities for portable flat displays – for example cylinder-shaped roll-screens which are no larger than a pencil,” explained Matthias Baum, investment manager at BVC. The entire market volume for LCDs is estimated to be worth $24 billion in 2003. The market will grow by 15 to 20 percent per year.

“By the combination of melt extrusion – one of our core competencies – and advanced coating technologies, we have developed the know-how to produce transparent plastic films for the display industry, said Yang Kook Kim, CEO of I-Components. ”A precondition for using these films in displays is that the plastic material has high temperature resistance. Extruded Ultrason®, a polyethersulfone from BASF, is ideally suited for this application. Our innovative coating technologies enable additional film properties desired by the industry, such as barrier functions towards moisture and air.”

“The investment by BVC and STIC will speed up the market implementation of these carrier films and enables IC to carry out the development close to its customers,” explained Matthias Baum. “The goal is to launch the optical plastic films in the next two years.”

BASF Venture Capital GmbH was established in 2001 as a wholly owned subsidiary of BASF Future Business GmbH, Ludwigshafen, Germany, and participates in start-up companies by providing venture capital to open up new growth potentials. In doing so, it focuses on companies with innovative business concepts and technologies in which chemistry is an important key to success. Investment is channeled towards companies that can demonstrate successful applications for their product developments as well as market demand. These companies also benefit from expertise from BASF Group companies.

Founded in year 2000, I-Components Co., Ltd. is a Korean venture company establishing itself in the field of optical plastic films, especially for display applications. With its core members having been associated in both film industries and display industries in Korea, its deep technological and production experiences will expedite display industry’s chances to come out with flexible display products. Its potential customers include Korean and international display manufacturers and it has associated with domestic and international companies for the production of flexible display substrates and optical films, as well as other engineering plastic films.

STIC Ventures is a top tier venture capital firm based in Seoul, Korea. STIC Ventures is licensed by the Korean Ministry of Information and Communication (MIC) as a specialized IT venture capital, focusing mainly on investment opportunities in the IT, semiconductor, and display industry. STIC Ventures has more than 120 client companies in its portfolio. For more information, visit


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