KAITEKI Challenge

February 10, 2021

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Location (s):

  • Online
  • United States of America


Greentown Labs requests applications from innovative startups who are reimagining proteins, plastics, or packaging. The KAITEKI Challenge is a program in partnership with Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation (MCHC) that offers startups the opportunity to pursue long-term collaborations with MCHC via a paid Proof of Concept (POC) project. By facilitating advancements in alternative proteins, waste plastics recycling, and the prevention of food loss and waste, the Challenge aims to bring the concept of KAITEKI, or “sustainable wellbeing for people, society, and planet Earth,” to daily life.


  • Collaborate with one of the world’s leading chemicals corporations
  • Get $25K in non-dilutive grant funding to cover a proof of concept project
  • Receive mentorship and partnership-focused programming from Greentown Labs
  • Accelerate your innovations in alternative proteins, plastic recycling, or food loss + waste prevention

Program Scope

Through the KAITEKI Challenge, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation (MCHC) aims to form partnerships with startups developing validated technologies that provide solutions for addressing alternative proteins, waste plastic recycling, and preventing food loss and waste. Each of these areas has a clear and direct impact on the environment and the health and wellbeing of society. See below for more details on eligible technologies in each topic.


  • Plant-based protein / fungi-based protein
  • Cellular agriculture

Seeking TRL 3 and above (post Proof of Concept)


  • Recycling technologies
  • Design for recycling 
  • Management systems

Seeking TRL 3 and above (post Proof of Concept)


  • Packaging
  • Preservatives
  • Processing

Seeking TRL 5 and above (product ready for sample testing)

About the Program

The Greentown Labs KAITEKI Challenge, in partnership with Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation (MCHC), is focused on innovations that will enable sustainable consumption in daily life. This six-month program will foster collaboration between MCHC and startups innovating in proteins, plastics, and packaging, with the goal of accelerating much-needed climatetech solutions.

The KAITEKI Challenge is part of Greentown Launch, Greentown’s flagship corporate partnerships accelerator, which enables forward-thinking corporates to mobilize the climatetech ecosystem to advance their sustainability goals, super-charge their external innovation strategies, and forge meaningful partnerships with industry-disrupting startups.

During months of workshops and frequent touch points between MCHC and the selected startups, program participants will receive extensive mentoring, business training, and access to resources to advance their technological and commercial development, working toward mutually agreed upon goals in cooperation with MCHC. The program gives participants a unique window into MCHC’s inner workings—which invariably helps scaling startups understand how to pursue partnership.

What is KAITEKI?

“KAITEKI” literally translates to “comfort” or “wellbeing” in Japanese, but to MCHC, it means much more. Since 2011, MCHC has approached its businesses through a sustainability lens, defining success not just in terms of the next quarter or even the next decade, but in terms of the next century. For MCHC, KAITEKI means “the sustainable wellbeing of people, society, and planet Earth.” 

Opportunity is About:


Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:


  • Submit your completed application through the online portal by February 10, 2021
  • Be available for virtual and/or in-person interviews after the close of the Round 1 application deadline, if selected for further rounds
  • Disclose the status of any intellectual property (IP) relevant to your submission. Do not submit confidential information in the application process. Awardees will enter into non-disclosure agreements in order to protect their intellectual property throughout the KAITEKI Challenge.
  • Applicants may apply from anywhere in the world. Depending on the COVID-19 pandemic, events may take place onsite in Boston, virtually, or a combination of both.
  • If you are selected as a KAITEKI Challenge participant, a CEO/founder of your company will be required to attend all program events in order to enjoy full program benefits. Depending on the COVID-19 pandemic, events may take place onsite in Boston, virtually, or a combination of both. A tentative timeline is as follows:
    • Kickoff Event: April 15, 2021
    • Workshop 1: Week of May 17, 2021*
    • Workshop 2: Week of July 12, 2021*
    • Workshop 3: Week of August 16, 2021*
    • Final Showcase: September 30, 2021

*Exact workshop dates and format will be confirmed prior to the beginning of the program.


Deadline: February 10, 2021

Cost/funding for participants:

Program Benefits for Startups:

  • Acceptance into Greentown Launch, a 6-month partnerships acceleration program for startups at Greentown Labs, the largest climatetech incubator in North America
  • A structured platform to perform a Proof of Concept (POC) project with MCHC and explore follow-on partnerships like joint development, pilots, licensing agreements, manufacturing collaborations, and more with MCHC and its operating companies, and/or investment from MCHC’s CVC arm, Diamond Edge Ventures
  • Access to leadership from MCHC that will be matched with your team to support throughout the six-month program (and beyond pending the success of your collaboration within the KAITEKI Challenge)
  • $25,000* in non-dilutive grant funding to cover the cost of the POC. In addition, travel funding is also available should it be needed
  • Mentorship, networking opportunities, and partnership-focused programming from the Greentown Labs community of climatetech startup experts
  • Exclusive access to the Greentown Labs and MCHC networks
  • Desk space and membership within Greentown Labs for the duration of the program

*Funding required for Proof of Concept projects beyond $25,000 may be available and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

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