Enhanced functionality

What exciting new functionality and/or transformative power can your technology offer to bring surfaces to life?
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What we’re looking for in your solution

We want to know how your idea could unlock new transformative powers for coatings and surfaces. There is no limit, so please blow us away with your innovation!

Your solution has proven technical feasibility and is ready to be further developed for this purpose.

The sky is the limit, although you may find below some general areas of interest:

  • Advanced protection and performance: technologies to obtain inert coatings such as anti-fingerprint, anti-icing, enhanced color durability and drag reduction, as well as superior corrosion and abrasion resistance of paint
  • Well-being: technologies with enabling/enhancing properties such as anti-viral and anti-microbial, stain repellent, air-purifying, self-cleaning, sound and noise cancellation and adaptable to mood
  • Smart” coatings: solutions enabling deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT) approach in paints and coatings; for example, coatings capable of detecting changes within the coating, as well as in their environment, and responding to the relevant stimuli to adapt their properties
  • Energy management: technologies enabling energy generation, harvest and storage using paints and coatings

Also consider needs customers aren’t even aware of yet. Your solution should help us to move boundaries and exceed customer expectations. Let’s work together to bring surfaces to life!

Coatings take care of our surfaces

We all know paints and coatings keep materials colorful and protected – whether it’s the walls inside your home, the outside of an airplane, the body of a race car or the hull of a ship. By no means a small feat, but it’s not all that coatings can do.

Coatings can also add functionalities to bring surfaces to life, helping materials do their jobs better. Like resisting heat and radiation to keep buildings cool and reduce energy consumption. Or purifying air and repelling bacteria – just to name a few examples.

We want to add even more transformative powers

We’ve given some examples of things we can already do with paints and coatings. But together, let’s find ways to expand products’ abilities with exciting new or vastly improved functionalities that solve specific customer problems or respond to needs they’re not even aware of yet.

Think way “outside the can” on this one. We want to find truly innovative coating solutions that enable materials to extend their use and act in new and unique ways. Together we can improve paints and coatings products beyond expectations, making them more competitive and ready for the future.

Looking for some inspiration?

Hammerite Ultima

Our Hammerite Ultima, a water-based paint, is suitable for use on all types of metal and provides a supreme protective barrier even when applied directly on rusty metal surfaces. Read more on Akzonobel.com.

Resicoat R2

Another example is Resicoat R2, a powder coating with a drinking water safety license and superior functionalities that prolong the lifespan of water piping. Read more on Akzonobel.com.

Do you have the solution?

To summarize

Together, let’s expand the range of functionalities that paints and coatings can offer by adding a totally new functionality and/or achieving a step change in performance.

Will your solution help us answer the question below?

What exciting new functionality and/or transformative power can your technology offer to bring surfaces to life?

We are now closed for submissions

The submission phase of AkzoNobel’s second global startup challenge was live from May 18 to July 20. All the solutions are now being evaluated by our experts, who will give online feedback to the startups. A selection of participants will be invited to a three-day bootcamp in March.

Curious about the submissions we received? They came from startups all over the world – join our ecosystem to see them all.

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We respect ownership of Intellectual Property (IP). IP that you already own prior to the Paint the Future Challenge remains yours; and similarly, our existing IP remains ours. In addition, our starting point is that both parties should have appropriate rights in what we create together during the Paint the Future Challenge. If you get invited to the final of the Challenge, we will communicate clearly what specific IP terms will apply.


Whilst we respect IP rights, we also value the open sharing of non-confidential information, and building on contributors’ ideas. This is what makes the Challenge useful for all participants, and contributes to identifying successful innovations. This means that during the submission phase, your submission, and the information you share with us, will be received by us only on a non-confidential basis.