Inventor of “smart” coatings that change color according to temperature, pressure or light, OliKrom is an atypical start-up. Based near Bordeaux, it is an excellent symbol of the Deep Tech current that takes off in France and in the world.
In a study published last April, the Boston Consulting Group and Hello Tomorrow indicate that the number of start-ups belonging to the new Deep Tech industry is growing very rapidly. By deep tech we mean genuine breakthrough innovations. Some 3,500 research start-ups have been identified worldwide by the English Atomico fund in 2015 and the number of creations has increased fivefold each year since 2011 on both sides of the Atlantic.
Based in Pessac, near Bordeaux, OliKrom is one of these newcomers. Originated from the work of Jean-François Létard, former research director at the CNRS, OliKrom has developed pigments capable of changing colors according to changes in their environment: change in temperature, mechanical stress, change in brightness, presence of solvent or gas … Very resistant, programmable, they offer color changes, reversible or not, in a completely autonomous way.
The applications are multiple: to spot at a glance a piece of a plane that has overheated or received an impact, to imagine walls whose paint changes color according to the time of day …
In other words, OliKrom is the antithesis of the start-up mono-product easily copiable, active on a single market. Two and a half years after its creation, it has already signed with 70 major partner groups of different sectors and has been profitable since its beginning.
Starting on solid foundations
OliKrom designs and produces for its industrial customers, such as Safran or Airbus, customized solutions (paints, inks, coatings …), tailored to their needs. The company has just announced a partnership with Eiffage to improve the visibility of markings on the ground, by using photo-luminescent pigments capturing daylight and headlights of cars particularly at night or with bad weather conditions.
Today, OliKrom has achieved 50% of its turnover, unveiled at international level, and has taken the time to mature its project by relying on a technology transfer unit and industrial partners whose needs are so important that they are ready to co-finance development projects over 2 to 4 years.
This precise business model and its first strong clients have allowed a good valuation from the beginning. OliKrom is now looking to create a 2000 m2 industrial site near Bordeaux to start mass production of its pigments. A 5 million euro project that underpins a logic of creating industrial jobs and non-delocalizable R&D, as often with start-ups of deep tech.
link to the source article Bpifrance: http://www.bpifrance.fr/A-la-une/Actualites/OliKrom-et-ses-pigments-intelligents-symboles-de-la-deep-tech-35195
link to the article La Tribune:http://www.latribune.fr/supplement/bpifrance/olikrom-et-ses-pigments-intelligents-symboles-de-la-deep-tech-746208.html