Global Startup Challenge 2021

Paint the Future, led by AkzoNobel, is the largest collaborative innovation ecosystem in paints and coatings.

The Paint the Future global startup challenge has invited 10 selected finalists to take part in a three-day bootcamp taking place in Amsterdam March 22-24. The startups and AkzoNobel experts will meet face-to-face to explore potential collaborations together. 

Join us


Submission & Interaction
May 18 - July 20, 2021
Sign up to our platform and get access to AkzoNobel experts
  • Sign up and create your profile on our collaborative platform
  • Submit your solution to the challenge that fits with your solution
  • Interact with experts and enrich your business
Enrichment of solutions
July 20 - July 31, 2021
Enrich your submission in these last two weeks
  • At this stage we are closed for new submissions
  • You can still adapt your submission and talk to our experts
  • AkzoNobel experts start evaluating the proposals
Finalists selection
July 31 - October 16, 2021
It's time to select the submissions with the greatest potential for collaboration with AkzoNobel
  • Solutions are evaluated by AkzoNobel experts and receive online feedback
  • Selected participants are invited to the acceleration event in November
Bootcamp event
March 22-24
AkzoNobel experts and startups collaborate during the 3-day bootcamp
  • Build the value proposition and your business model with our experts
  • Prepare your final collaboration proposition
  • The jury chooses solutions that fit best with the challenges
April 2022
Define the collaboration agreements
  • Startups selected during the collaboration event will receive a letter of intent

  • Define the collaboration agreement that fits best for the development of your solution

  • Scale your solution and implement with AkzoNobel


Enhanced functionality

Customer experience

Smart application

Circular solutions

Smart manufacturing and supply chain

Meet the jury members

With both internal and external experts involved, we’re going to get a multi-layered perspective on these solutions and the impact they could have on our industry.
Klaas Kruithof
Chief Technology Officer, AkzoNobel, Jury Chair
Daniel Campos
Business Unit Director Decorative Paints South America, AkzoNobel
Daniela Vlad
Business Unit Director Powder Coatings, AkzoNobel

Ready to bring surfaces to life?

Paint the Future bootcamps are full of energy and highly stimulating, and I’m really looking forward to meeting these motivated entrepreneurs in person,” says Klaas Kruithof, AkzoNobel’s Chief Technology Officer and Chair of the Paint the Future jury.

History visual

Meet our

Meet our
Meet our
"The best way to accelerate innovation is to find an environment in which you encourage brilliant minds from across the globe to come together and collaborate. I feel honoured to be part of a platform that facilitates this"

Sophia Straathof

Growth Hacking Intern for Paint the Future
"Fantastic to see what we can do when we bring different people together. Looking forward to broadening our ecosystem with other groups of great minds and see how this journey continues to stir up the industry"

Monique de Graaf

Project Management Officer Technology
"Bringing transformative innovations to market is not easy; through Paint the Future we can leverage all our assets as a strategic partner to deliver successful solutions to our customers and accelerate growth for both startups and AkzoNobel, together"

Sandra Wiegman

Investment Analyst - Incubator
"Creating an environment where solutions can connect is essential to shape a sustainable future. Let’s Paint the Future together and boost collective intelligence"

Camila de Lima Castro

Marketing Excellence Project Manager
"Connecting people, technology and creativity are the key ingredients for sustainable innovation and something that I have been doing for different industries. Paint the Future oozes this vision where the goal is to accelerate innovative solutions for our industry."

Mignon d'Arnaud

Paint the Future Project Lead at AkzoNobel
"AkzoNobel has been innovating for over 200 years, and Paint the Future proposes a collaborative journey never seen before in the paints and coatings industry."

Nathalia Simone

Innovation Process Analyst - South America and member of the team responsible for Paint the Future Brasil
“Paint the Future is more than working together with partners, it is finding how our intellectual efforts can be combined to generate value for our customers; in the end an idea is not an innovation until it reaches people.”

Jose R. Camacho Gutierrez

Researcher II [Resin Technology North America]
"As a former startup founder, still fresh AkzoNobel employee, I’m driven to help startups and scale-ups bring the future to market, together with AkzoNobel’s global ecosystem of people and ideas"

Ally van der Boon

Paint the Future Program Manager

Meet our

Meet our
Meet our
"Proud to be “Pioneering a world of possibilities to bring surfaces to life” together with all of you"

Patricia Janssen

Director Strategic and Commercial Communications
"Paint the Future is AkzoNobel’s unique open innovation platform for accelerating innovation in paints and coatings. A step-change in how we innovate in partnership"

Menno van der Zalm

Innovation Director at AkzoNobel
"We are destined to continue the collaborative journey with the 2019 recipients of the Paint the Future awards, but also with many more. This is our way to drive innovation in paints and coatings beyond expectation, imagination and generations"

Klaas Kruithof

AkzoNobel Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
"We had high hopes when we first launched Paint the Future. I think it’s safe to say it exceeded all our expectations. The quality of the ecosystem is amazing, as is the sheer breadth of expertise"

Thierry Vanlancker

AkzoNobel CEO