Imagine Chemistry is AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals’ annual online challenge through which we invite startups and researchers to work with us to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the chemicals industry today. If you’ve got a great idea and a proof of concept, there are lots of reasons why you should join.

Getting involved is easy

After signing up to our free online platform and submitting your idea, AkzoNobel subject matter experts will comment on it and explore potential fits between our businesses. We know what we’re doing and are genuinely enthusiastic and open, so you can expect thoughtful feedback from us. We will invite the startups with the most promising ideas to work with us in person at a finals event, ultimately offering winning teams the support they need to make their ideas reality.

Taking your ideas to the next level

We are offering you the opportunity to work with us as equal partners to bring your ideas to market. With over 80 sites worldwide and a broad portfolio of products, many of which are market leaders, AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals has the means to help give your ideas global impact. We can provide research support, the possibility to test production on a larger scale, guidance from experienced researchers and industry experts, access to customers, and other support.

Partnership based on true collaboration

Our ultimate goal is to work together as equal partners to develop ideas with global impact. This collaboration could take on many forms: a joint development agreement, having AkzoNobel as a launching customer, organizing partnerships across the value chain, or investment in your startup. We will work with each winning team to identify the best path for them.

“AkzoNobel actually thought the process through with us and how the collaboration would work for both sides. If you’ve got a good proposal, they’ll find a way to work with you. I think that might be very unique to AkzoNobel.” - Monika Tomecka, uFraction8 (Winner, Research Agreement, Imagine Chemistry 2017)

Expert advice and mentorship

AkzoNobel subject matter experts will give feedback on all ideas during the submission phase. During the finals, your team will be partnered with a mentor and you will work with subject matter experts from AkzoNobel and partners in fields like R&D, finance, sustainability, and marketing to further define your route to market.

“Our mentor did a really great job. He immediately understood what we do, how it works, what you can do with it. He stepped far outside his normal comfort zone and was very good in selling our solution to others.” - Johan Kerver, FiliGrade (Winner, Partner Support by KPMG and ICOS)

Respect for your IP rights

We take intellectual property rights very seriously and we respect ownership of IP. Your IP remains yours, ours remains ours, and what we create together will be our joint IP. You can read about our approach to intellectual property here.

“We signed a very big non-disclosure agreement with AkzoNobel that lasted for a very long time, and that gave us the confidence that we could speak freely without any risk. That was really good.” - Johan Kerver, FiliGrade (Winner, Partner Support by KPMG and ICOS)

Opportunities for your business

We want to build relationships that are mutually beneficial. We are happy to our global network to promote your ideas and the work we are doing together.

“Imagine Chemistry and working with AkzoNobel has opened a lot of doors for us. Other companies are starting to come to us rather than us always trying to target and go to them.” - Brian Miller, uFraction8 (Winner, Research Agreement, Imagine Chemistry 2017)

Sound interesting? Then join us!

Imagine Chemistry 2018 is open for submissions from January 10th to March 10th, with the finals event taking place from May 29th to June 1st in Gothenburg, Sweden. If you think you have a solution that can help us make the chemicals industry more sustainable, we invite you to join our Challenge

“You engaged the startups in an environment that is open, honest, and truthful with people that are willing to act. The fact that you guys did that was incredible. There needs to be more of that.” - Jeremy Austin, Renmatix (Winner, Joint Development Agreement, Imagine Chemistry 2017)