Collaboration is what drives our Paint the Future accelerator program

Our Paint the Future innovation program showcases startup companies with clever solutions for the paints and coatings industry.

The three winners of AkzoNobel’s 2022 global startup challenge, Aerones from Latvia, SprayVision from the Czech Republic and SolCold from Israel, won coveted places on our latest AkzoNobel accelerator program which has just drawn to a close.  



Collaboration is what drives the accelerator program. Startups have just six months to develop a joint value proposition with us. This speeds up the process of bringing sustainable, innovative products to market. It also means that customers don’t have to wait as long to purchase sustainable products and services that use the latest technology to meet their needs.

As industry pioneers, AkzoNobel invests its finances, time and technical and marketing expertise in working with startups to develop innovative, sustainable solutions that plug an identified gap in the sector’s paints and coatings offer. Sharing our expertise brings tangible and mutual business benefits. This perfect marriage of our industry know-how and startups’ ingenuity results in the launch of new sustainable products and services that benefit our customers.

Now that the accelerator program has ended, we’re moving forward with two startups – Aerones and SprayVision – and our journey together with SolCold is coming to an end.

It’s our focus on working collaboratively with startups and pooling our strengths that makes us stand out from the crowd.

“What makes our accelerator program different is that we go into our collaborations with the intention of realizing a win-win for both parties,” explains Menno van der Zalm, our Innovation Director.

Find out more about the individual startups and their technologies below.


Inspired to collaborate with us?

Does your company have a solution you think we’ll be interested in and did you miss the deadline for the Paint the Future challenge? Connect with us through our “Innovate with Us” program which runs throughout the year.


Aerones provides innovative robotic maintenance solutions for the wind turbine market

Latvian startup, Aerones, has designed a multi-purpose robot that not only removes an old layer of paint and cleans a wind turbine blade, but can also apply our full range of coatings, from filler to topcoat. Their clever robotic technology won them a slot on our coveted accelerator program.

Thanks to this maintenance robot, wind turbine operators are now able to inspect and maintain the performance of their wind turbine blades from the ground. No longer having to carry out hazardous work at dizzying heights means that technicians are safer – and down time and operating costs are reduced.

The LEP (Leading Edge Protection) repair system used by Aerones helps operators of wind turbine blades to maximize their performance and efficiency, while the robotic application of AkzoNobel’s RELEST coatings from our International brand improves the quality and consistency of the coverage. 

After several months of fruitful collaboration leading up to the recent successful Demo Day in Riga, Latvia, Aerones and AkzoNobel are delighted to announce that we’ve decided to continue to work together on developing our shared service offering to clients in the wind industry.

“It’s so exciting to work with a leading manufacturer who can support, guide and help you – and with whom you can actually achieve the best possible result in the industry,” enthuses Aerones’ CEO, Dainis Kruze.

Preserving and maintaining existing wind turbines demonstrates AkzoNobel’s passion for sustainable industry solutions as part of its commitment to People. Planet. Paint. 

Watch the video above for an insight into Demo Day in Riga. 

SprayVision uses data to revolutionize the spray painting process

    SprayVision’s data-driven approach to spray painting not only saves time and improves coverage – it also reduces waste. This clever innovation tailors applications to the needs of an individual surface and saves time by assessing the quality of application before the paint has even dried. Their ingenious use of the latest technology won the company from the Czech Republic a slot on our coveted accelerator program.

    “We were interested in ways to scale up our product. And one way to do that is to cooperate with a strong player with market presence,” explains SprayVision’s CEO, Petr Jahn.

    SprayVision’s accelerator program “Kickoff” event in June 2022 included a demonstration of the machine’s capabilities. Members of the SprayVision and AkzoNobel project team also made a joint visit to our Hilden factory to carry out product testing.

    As a result of very favorable feedback, AkzoNobel will be offering SprayVision’s data-driven technology to its customers. With its improved coverage and reduced waste, this technology provides the sort of sustainable solutions that our customers want. 

    SolCold’s self-cooling film could help make summer heatwaves more bearable

      SolCold – one of the three winners of our 2022 global startup challenge – has developed a sustainable, self-cooling film that can reduce surface temperatures by up to 12˚C using just the sun’s rays. This timely invention won SolCold a place on our coveted accelerator program.

      During the accelerated product development phase, SolCold and AkzoNobel investigated how to improve the laminate and test its application in AkzoNobel’s Automotive and Specialty Coatings business.

      At SolCold’s Demo Day held in November in Amsterdam, the project team presented their joint value case to give stakeholders a chance to see the prototype in action.

      Despite the exciting technology, SolCold and AkzoNobel have mutually agreed that the timing isn’t right for an ongoing partnership. We’ve agreed to stay in contact to see if there’s potential for collaboration in the future.

      “The AkzoNobel accelerator program was an enjoyable and stimulating experience that provided opportunities for learning and creative thinking. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with the talented team at AkzoNobel, and I’d like to extend my special thanks to our Project Manager, Folkert de Vries and to Senior Scientist, Anthonie Stuiver,” says SolCold’s Vice President of Research and Development, Dr. Gilad Lando.

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