Request for Proposal
Status: RFP is Closed

Precise Nail Polish Application Systems

Request Number
Due Date
May 11


Licensing, proof of concept leading to scale-up to manufacturing, distribution and sales, joint development, supplier agreement. Partnering with a world class consumer product company.


6 -12 months: feasibility testing for adaptation/prototyping Commercialization within 24 months


All terms to be negotiated between the Solution Provider(s) and the Client sponsor, as warranted. A successful technology will enable the development of a global consumer product or device.


RFP was closed on

RFP Title


Precise Nail Polish Application Systems
RFP Description
NineSigma, representing Coty, a world leader in cosmetics, skincare, fragrances, and hair color and styling brands, invites proposals for novel methods and technologies to precisely apply full color to fingernails for at-home manicures/pedicures. All systems that provide fast, accurate and convenient nail coloration are of interest. Commercially available approaches, devices, and systems, or adaptations from other industries, are of most interest to this Technology Search.

Applying nail polish can be tricky business. To achieve a salon quality finish at home, one must have a steady hand, ambidexterity, and a certain level of skill. The process also requires patience, as the nail polish requires time to dry. Typically, nail color is applied with a small brush from a bottle of lacquer color, an approach that has not substantially changed for decades. The amount of color on the brush needs to be precisely the required amount for the size and shape of the nail so as not to overrun the cuticle or produce a messy appearance. Uneven application, streaking, smudges, and spills are common.


Coty, maker of brands such as Sally Hansen and OPI, wants consumers to be able to achieve a professional manicure or pedicure at home. They are interested in any available system that can achieve at home salon-quality results, including developments in spray coating and brushless application, printing, imaging systems, and other novel means to precisely apply full color coverage to a small, defined area. Coty will consider approaches that can be used for lacquer coatings, as well as for other finishes and materials that could be applied to the surface of a nail.


With ample resources and very strong product development capabilities, Coty, with its well established global marketing and distribution channels is considered a partner of choice for bringing an innovative new product to the market and making it a great success.



Key Success Criteria

The overall system should:

  • Provide a consumer with a novel means to deliver color to nails that is a significant improvement over common brush application
  • Allow the user to achieve a flawless, professional-quality finish at home
  • Allow for fast application and drying of the applied finish (ideally less than 10 minutes)
  • Improve upon currently available mechanisms to apply nail color to nails, in terms of convenience
  • Offer a unique user experience, superior to current brush and bottle nail color applications
  • Not all key technical attributes need to have been perfected yet but, at a minimum, precision application should be demonstrable



Possible Approaches

Possible approaches, device, material or subsystem components to the solution might include, but are not limited to:

  • Printing technologies, digital systems and printing capabilities, that have been adapted for small, curved surfaces. 
  • Smartphone imaging or contouring apps to generate masks, prints or precisely control other application systems
  • Masking or cuticle protection systems or technologies
  • New nail lacquer materials
  • Spray coatings systems for precision applications
  • Other brushless systems adaptable to nail polish

Approaches not of Interest

The following approaches are not of interest:

  • Methods that don’t significantly improve upon the current ‘brush and bottle’ approach
  • Approaches that can’t be adapted to meet the required standards of convenience, or that cannot improve upon brush and bottle application
  • Approaches that cannot be adapted for at-home consumer use.
  • Not complicated – should not require many steps



Items to be Submitted

Your response should address the following:

  • Non-confidential description of proposed technology and working principle
  • Evidence of key technical attributes (consider visual demonstration)
  • Availability of technical data
  • Technical maturity of the approach (concept, reduced to practice, prototype, ready to commercialize, ready to implement, commercialized)
  • Pathway to commercial scale including timing, estimated budget, and capacity to supply or manufacture
  • Position on intellectual property including patent references
  • Desired relationship with sponsor
  • Team description and related experience


Appropriate responses to this Request

Responses from companies (small to large), consultants, entrepreneurs, or inventors are welcome.  For example:


You represent a company or university that has demonstrated a proof of concept.

You represent a company or university that has reduced method to practice at a prototype level.

You represent a company or university that has demonstrated a method, system or product ready for commercialization.

You represent a technology transfer agency that represents an inventor or technology holder who can demonstrate an approach to address the request.

You are or represent a organization that has a bench-scale system ready to adapt to this need.

You are or represent an organization that has an undeveloped pathway with a high probability of success.


Preferred Collaboration Types
Area of Interest