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Second Global 'Paint the Future' Competition Announced

Monday, April 19, 2021

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Global coatings company AkzoNobel has announced its second global startup challenge in its Paint the Future initiative. This round launches on May 18.

“Our new company strategy is all about building on our strong foundation and pioneering ways to grow and innovate,” said AkzoNobel CEO, Thierry Vanlancker. “That’s why it’s the perfect time for round two of our global startup challenge. We’re excited to see what potential collaborations the startups have in store for us that will help us bring surfaces to life for our customers.”

According to the company, the 2021 program builds on the success of the 2019’s inaugural event, as well as two regional startup challenges in Brazil and China, two supplier programs and other AkzoNobel collaborations. These programs have already resulted in 18 successful solutions, the company noted.

“Paint the Future is our dedicated ecosystem designed to accelerate innovation in paints and coatings,” said Klaas Kruithof, Chief Technology Officer. “Our first global startup challenge was a first for our industry and our ecosystem has grown amazingly since then to include 2,137 active members. It’s a launch pad for great ideas that’s attracted a diverse group of startups, suppliers, academia and customers.”

For this challenge, startups are invited to submit solutions addressing five challenge themes, including:

  • Enhanced functionality;
  • Customer experience;
  • Smart application;
  • Circular solutions; and
  • Smart manufacturing and supply chain.

Following the May 18 launch, “exploration and enrichment of the submissions” will continue through July 20. Then, select finalists will be invited to a collaboration event in late 2021, where the challenge winners will be announced.

Previous Events

Earlier this year, AkzoNobel kicked off the regional event in China, which is being un in partnership with Plug and Play China.

That challenge focuses on three areas, including:

  • Digital Customer Experience - Looking for new technologies and digital solutions that can help AkzoNobel improve the way customers experience its products and services and ensure more consistent results with less time and effort during the entire paint process. This includes picking the right paint and application methods, connecting with the right painting professionals and successfully completing the paint job.
  • Zero Waste - Seeking sustainable and cost-effective solutions that are not only about the recycling of paints and coatings, but also about the consciousness to minimize waste and maximize the potential of materials across the whole value chain, minimizing the impact to our planet.
  • Smart Supply Chain - Interested in end-to-end supply chain solutions, spanning customer/consumers, delivery, planning, manufacturing and suppliers, that can help us accelerate the building of a strategic, integrated, customer-driven and smart supply chain to better service our customers in China and achieve operational excellence.

Submissions for China’s event are still open and are due May 15. Selected finalists will participate in an accelerator event in August.

Previous Winners

In July 2020, AkzoNobel announced that agreed to partnerships with five companies that were a part of the inaugural Paint the Future, which was held in 2019.

Details on those collaborations included:

  • Lonza Microbial Solutions – a real-time microbial detection method. This new technology can obtain data that will help assess the quality of raw materials and respond to any deviations in production lines.
  • IGM Resins – instant-drying hybrid decorative paints. This partnership is focused on developing paint for professionals that dries significantly faster. Typical applications will include doors and window frames.
  • ICL Group – safe and stable paint formulations. This is a response to an increase in concerns and regulatory pressure around allergens and toxic materials.
  • Smart Materials – self-healing coatings. Developing coatings that recover from scratches at room temperature, which will help to protect the surface and retain the coating’s glossy appearance.
  • Wagner Painting – zero overspray application equipment. Developing an intelligent and adaptable industrial spray equipment concept, known as “SpraySavvy,” which aims for zero overspray and less waste.

In March of that same year, the company released an update on its partnership with the winner, Apellix, a Jacksonville, Florida, startup.

The duo is reportedly collaborating on a computer-controlled spray-painting drone, which uses “unique software flight control” that the companies say can more accurately apply coatings and capture painting data.

Apellix’s custom-built drone is tethered to the ground for its power and coating supply, however, its flies autonomously, according to AkzoNobel. The drone uses “unique software flight control,” which the companies say can more accurately apply coatings and capture painting data. The application aims for benefits such as reduced application time and less waste, as well as increases safety.


Tagged categories: AkzoNobel; Asia Pacific; Awards and honors; Business matters; Competitions; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Good Technical Practice; Latin America; North America; Z-Continents

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