Three days of face-to-face collaboration with AkzoNobel experts have opened doors for several startups —including Apellix from Jacksonville, Fla., and SAS Nanotechnologies LLC from Newark, Del.—to “paint the future” with their innovations. The Paint the Future Award that Apellix and SAS Nanotechnologies received at the final event of an international five-month-long challenge comes with AkzoNobel’s commitment to work together with Apellix on sustainable business opportunities through a joint collaboration agreement regarding its autonomous drone that cleans and coats surfaces, and with SAS Nanotechnologies on sustainable business opportunities through a joint collaboration agreement, regarding the company’s self-healing microcapsules as anti-corrosive pigment.

“We’re very excited to continue our collaborative journey with the recipients of the Paint the Future awards, including Apellix and SAS Nanotechnologies,” said Klaas Kruithof, AkzoNobel’s chief technology officer and chairman of the Paint the Future jury. “Together, we’re going to drive innovation in paints and coatings beyond expectation, imagination and generations. With the power of an entire ecosystem behind us, big things are on the horizon.”

According to Jamie Branch, mechanical engineer at Apellix, “We’re really touched to be selected. It speaks volumes that AkzoNobel is working toward innovation and we’re really excited to partner with them in their vision of success.”

“We’ve been working on this for close to three years now, and partnering with a company like AkzoNobel will only accelerate our success,” said Sumadh Surwade, Ph.D., founder and CEO of SAS Nanotechnologies. “The conversations we’ve had and the input on our technology, it’s fantastic.”

Several other startups—Alucha Recycling Technologies (the Netherlands), Interface Polymers (UK), and QLayers (the Netherlands)—were rewarded with a Paint the Future Award, while Octo (Netherlands) took home the KPMG Scale-up Award. With Apellix and SAS Nanotechnologies LLC, these partnerships represent the first collaborations to emerge from AkzoNobel’s new Paint the Future innovation ecosystem.

The challenge, run in partnership with KPMG, received 160 total submissions from around the world. Of those, 21 startups were invited to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to accelerate their solutions before making their final pitch to the jury. Challenge participants gained access to industry knowledge, expertise, and contacts to help them further their ideas.

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