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roderik colen

Delft IMP: The Subtle Art of Nano-coating Technology

Delft IMP is a technology company co-developing applications and selling production units at industrial scale to meet various coating needs for a large variety of powders. Delft IMP was founded to enable sustainable materials with nanotechnology. Today, Delft IMP is actively developing production technology for nano-coatings at scale.

Purpose of the company

As the CEO the company, Roderik Colen states Delft IMP’s purpose as a company is to make the world better by enhancing materials, for example, on lithium ion batteries, or fuel cells and electrolyzers, with nano-coatings on top of powder. Their technology represents a new capability to apply nano-coatings (the thin layers on top of powder) and with that, they can enhance the material properties by for instance adding durability to them. “Do more with less”, as Roderik emphasized.  

The accelerated energy transition opens massive market opportunities with high demand on batteries and other electrochemical systems. Delft IMP’s have their own patented technology, which can be scaled up to an industrial level.

Advantages of being situated in Delft

Since they are a spinoff of the Technical University of Delft and they can get access to experts, the company stayed very close to this city area because that is where the two founders of the technology originate from. The ecosystem in the region has a valuable knowledge base which is very good for startups like them, says Roderik. 

Participation in the UNconference event in Delft

"Although you might come from very different backgrounds and very different purposes as companies, the challenges of a start-up becoming a scale-up are similar: How do you find the right employees, but also how do you retain them afterwards? What do you do to create the environment in your company, which is attractive for new and young employees to join and participate on your journey from start-up to scale-up? These sorts of discussions are very helpful to have with your peers from other companies."

Roderik believes that the UNconference was truly a helpful and successful networking event, to share their experience. He received good feedback and learned a lot what works well for the partner companies.

The best advice to other founders of scale-ups within the region

The advice that Roderik would give founders of scale ups in this region is to always have a plan, even though it might seem like it is failing at first. Also, to not be afraid to put some effort in, and take your plans from concept to reality. “This is not so much about identifying all the challenges you have, but rather knowing your priorities as a business and choosing which challenge you want to work on first. However, if you do not know where and how to start, you can seek advice from other companies. Therefore, make sure that you seek advice on this topic, because that can make or break your business plan. All challenges need to be solved but in the right order, and it's not always easy.”

How did the scale-up UNconference bring Delft IMP one step closer to their goal?

“The UNconference event brings you out of your comfort zone”, says Roderik. “It is good to sit in a room with other people facing similar challenges as start-ups trying to scale-up. However, all those attending companies have a different business context. What's common, are the reasons of the struggles: the challenges of resourcing, but also the challenges around facilities. Where can you get enough space to do what you need to do? The ecosystem is comparable, but the specific business challenges are different”. So yes, it is safe to say that the event has helped the company in certain ways, since it gave them more perspectives and other viewpoints on issues than needed to be tackled.