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Startups prepare to wow AkzoNobel’s Paint the Future jury


A shortlist of 21 startups from around the world are one step closer to accelerating their innovative solutions for the paints and coatings industry after being invited to take part in AkzoNobel’s Paint the Future event.

Being held in Amsterdam from May 14 to 16, the event – hosted by AkzoNobel and challenge partner KPMG – will give participants the chance to collaborate with industry experts and further their solutions. The ultimate goal is to partner with AkzoNobel on sustainable business opportunities.

“We were ecstatic to receive a total of 160 submissions and build an incredible innovation ecosystem” says Klaas Kruithof, AkzoNobel’s Chief Technology Officer and Chairman of the Paint the Future jury. “It’s the kind of collaboration that’s going to take us beyond what we previously thought possible. Now we’re looking forward to exploring the selected 21 opportunities in more detail at what will be an exciting accelerator event when we get together in Amsterdam.”

First look at the participants

Responding to five real-world challenges, the selected 21 participants entered the following innovative solutions that could potentially change the game in paints and coatings:

Circular solutions

  • Alucha Recycling Technologies (the Netherlands) – turning waste into bio-oils and minerals
  • CaffeInk (the Netherlands) – producing sustainable dark pigments from coffee grounds
  • Cyanetics (the UK) – capture and bio-based conversion of CO2 from steelworks
  • PILI (France) – renewable and long-lasting colors from biomass

Enhanced functionality

  • Cypris (the US) – chemical technology to deliver the phenomenon of structural color
  • Darkside Scientific Inc. (the US) – illuminates any surface with light-emitting coating
  • Interface Polymers (the UK) – tuning surface functionality with di-block polymers
  • NANOAIR SOLUTIONS S.L. (Spain) – air-purifying coatings that clean themselves
  • SAS Nanotechnologies LLC (the US) – self-healing microcapsules as anti-corrosive pigment
  • Synmatter (the US) – smart technology for corrosion protection and anti-fouling 

Life science infusion

  • Chromasol (the US) – light-activated anti-microbial coating
  • Hoekmine B.V. (the Netherlands) – eco-friendly colors from biological materials
  • Ocean Science (HK) Limited (China) – coating with highly effective natural anti-fouling agent
  • SGMA (the UK) – non-toxic, durable anti-microbial protection for surfaces

Predictable performance

  • AOMS Technologies (Canada) – optical fiber sensing system for corrosion in hidden areas
  • Octo (the Netherlands) – digital solutions for inspections using sensors, drones and AI

Smart application

  • Action Paint (the UK) – easily removable paint that prevents damage to the surface
  • Apellix (the US) – autonomous drone that cleans and coats surfaces
  • Archipelago Technology (the UK) – precise drum application using thousands of nozzles
  • Qlayers (the Netherlands) – automated printing head to coat large surfaces in any weather
  • Transforma Robotics (Singapore) – mobile robot that scans, plans and paints interiors

All the participants will join the May event in person for an intensive, interactive experience including workshops, masterclasses and collaborative sessions – culminating in a case for collaboration presented to the event jury.

Jury with broad expertise

A specially selected jury will bring their expertise in innovation, digital technology, business, science, marketing, investment and customer experience. “Each jury member brings something unique to this journey,” adds Kruithof. “Their combined experience will help us select the startups with the most exciting potential to shape the future of paints and coatings.”

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