The 2018 finals of Imagine Chemistry recently took place in Gothenburg, Sweden. Ten teams were selected to continue collaborating with AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals or one of our partners. We asked the winners to share their thoughts on Imagine Chemistry and working with AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals. Here we speak with Semiotic Labs.

“We entered Imagine Chemistry because it offers a unique chance to work with a dedicated team and really progress through all the phases in a cooperation agreement in just two days. That’s unique. It’s fast, efficient, and it works.”

Team name: Semiotic Labs
Team members: Gerben Gooijers and Simon Jagers
Location: The Netherlands
Mentor: Johan Stockmann
Challenge area: Intelligent chemical plants
Award won: Partner support ICOS Capital

Semiotic Labs is a Netherlands-based startup whose SAM4 Remote Asset Monitoring solution uses machine learning and proprietary sensors to predict when and why equipment fails. SAM4 monitors the health of AC induction motors and rotating equipment, allowing operators to schedule maintenance before breakdowns occur, reduce energy waste, and manage their equipment effectively.

Gerben Gooijers, CEO and co-founder, and Simon Jagers, COO and co-founder, met while studying at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. Though their careers initially took them in different directions, Simon eventually contacted Gerben for advice on a business idea; Gerben liked it so much they immediately decided to start a company and Semiotic Labs was born. In the video below, shot midway through the event, they give a bit of background on their project and what they hoped to get out of Imagine Chemistry.

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The team felt that Imagine Chemistry was a special experience (and not just because they won an award). Simon explains, “We’ve been part of several startup events in the past few year years. I found it striking that Imagine Chemistry was really focused on finding out how we could do business together, because working with a large client, but in the form of a partnership, is an ideal scenario for a business like ours.” Gerben adds, “I also found the commitment of the management of AkzoNobel really remarkable. From the CEO down, everyone was there.”

Of course, the team was also pleased to receive an award from ICOS. Gerben explains, “While what we do is very relevant for AkzoNobel, it’s not their core business. I’m very happy with our award, because it nevertheless recognizes that we can deliver good value for AkzoNobel.”

In fact, they are eager to keep collaborating to figure out that value proposition. “We are keen to spend a considerable amount of time tailoring our solution to AkzoNobel’s needs,” Simon notes. “At this point we’re thinking less about the technology as such and more about how we can provide value at scale, including integrating our solution into the daily processes of our clients. Committing to a shared future where we could really focus resources on integrating our solution in AkzoNobel’s processes would help us moving forward and it would also lead to a better application for AkzoNobel.”

The team’s long term vision is both practical and ambitious. “I would really like for our solution to be adopted on a very large scale,” Gerben explains. “On the one hand that would show that we had the right idea and we were able to execute it, which would give me a sense of pride, and on the other hand it would show that we’re helping solve very relevant problems.” Simon adds, “I’d like us to be the undisputed leader in what we do. The only way to become undisputed leader is to have the best idea executed in an excellent fashion by the best operational team.”

For now, the team has meetings planned with ICOS Capital as well the AkzoNobel team and have discussed running a proof-of-concept at AkzoNobel’s Ibbenbüren site. So far, Simon says, “It’s going really fast. I think that we couldn’t wish for more at this point.” Stay tuned to hear how their collaboration progresses!