Crain's Cleveland: Akron adhesives startup hopes new products will stick

Sue Walton, Associate Editor with Crain’s Akron Business, featured Akron Ascent Innovations in a recent article. Sue, who previously reported on AAI in June 2017, provides a unique perspective on AAI’s growth trajectory and transition from lab-scale to commercial-scale production. Read the full article here.

After years of laying the groundwork, a local startup has launched its first products to consumers, hoping buyers will help company officials figure out where its work will best stick.

Akron Ascent Innovations (AAI), which Crain's first profiled two years ago, last month launched sales of its ShearGrip-brand fiber-based, dry-adhesive products online.

The products, which for now include repositionable bulletin boards, sticky-note paper and photo paper, among other things, are born from technology that uses electrospun nanofibers to create a super-strong dry adhesive. The fibers have a small enough diameter to grab surfaces to hold on tight, but can still peel away without damaging surfaces, the company says.

In 2013, the company was spun out of the University of Akron by John Wong, a mechanical engineering professor, and Barry Rosenbaum, senior fellow at the University of Akron Research Foundation. The pair brought in Kevin White, the company's principal scientist and chief operating officer, in 2015.

In its initial years, AAI was limited in its production of the material, given the space at its lab at the Akron Global Business Accelerator (now the Bounce Innovation Hub). But now, AAI is working with another company associated with the university, whom White declined to identify, that has a production facility in Northeast Ohio that's allowing AAI to create large-scale rolls of the material.

About AAI:

AAI is a start-up company based in Akron, OH that has developed a revolutionary new type of ultra-low tack, removable adhesives material made from nanofibers. This new class of materials is able to achieve a strong, but easily removable, bond between surfaces through nanoscale interactions. This approach to adhesion was inspired by nature and is widely used in the animal kingdom, including beetles and geckos.  AAI’s platform approach to dry adhesion can be used for a range of applications, ranging from temporary signage, wall hanging hooks, and picture frame tabs, to automotive assembly, food packaging, and smart clothing.

Helpful Links:

Learn more about ShearGrip®, AAI’s revolutionary new bio-inspired dry adhesive, at

Consumer products made with ShearGrip® dry adhesive now available at