From start-up to scale-up: what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur — World Economic Forum | Agenda



Ellen Olafsen of the World Bank on how to turn start-ups into successful firms.

via From start-up to scale-up: what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur — World Economic Forum | Agenda

What do you think of when you hear the term “entrepreneur”? What about “growth entrepreneur”? Do Elon Musk and Tesla come to mind? Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp of Uber? Jack Ma of Alibaba?

Forget for a moment the immense scale that these few, highly successful tech giants have achieved. Such cases will always be outliers. Instead, imagine the potential collective impact of companies in developing countries growing from a $50,000 to a $1 million company, or from a $1 million to a $10 million company. Imagine how this could help generate dynamism in the local economy and ultimately increase competitiveness, incomes and jobs.


fourth-ir-051416-aaeaaqaaaaaaaatfaaaajgezy2e0nwvilwu4ogitndzkzi1hymzilta1yty1nzczngqznaAlso Read: Nanotechnology and the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ ~ Solving the World’s Biggest Challenges with the ‘Smallest of Things’


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15 billion-dollar startups that didn’t exist 5 years ago

Sketching growth chart on blackboard

Every week this year, another startup has reached a billion-dollar valuation. (Whether these private market valuations actually hold water is another question.)

We’ve decided to rack up a bunch of these billion-dollar startups — Cowboy Ventures’ Aileen Lee first referred to them as “unicorns” — that didn’t exist five years ago, and that are now valued at $1 billion or more.

For the purposes of this list, we zeroed in on U.S.-based companies that were founded in 2011 or later (since we’re nearing the very end of 2015), and that are private tech companies.

Can you guess who is ranked Number 1 ?

We then ranked them from least to most valuable.

*** From Business Insider: Follow the Link Here:

Angel Investors Lend Expertise as well as Cash

Angel Investors 042415 XNYT35-Joshua+Reeves,+chiefQUENTIN HARDY The New York Times News Service

Like many tech entrepreneurs, Joshua Reeves says he thinks his company can change the world. It may do it, too – with the way it was financed, as much as by the product itself.

Reeves’ company, ZenPayroll, has raised several million dollars through a network of technology executives.

His cadre numbers 56 such “angel” investors, almost all of whom are busy running their own companies. That is more than half the number of employees at ZenPayroll, which has 95 workers and opened for business in late 2012. Among ZenPayroll’s investors are people who helped found and run companies like Dropbox, Evernote, Instagram, Yelp, Yahoo and Twitter. Many are worth hundreds of millions of dollars, even a billion dollars, either on paper or actually, depending on whether their companies have entered the public market.

Reeves, who sought $25,000 to $200,000 from each angel investor, is after more than their money. Each month, he sends investors requests for things he wants them to work on for him and his company, which offers online software that takes care of payroll for midsize and small businesses. It might be sales contacts, or information about how to create a corporate culture, or thoughts on new types of software.

“They pay us, and they work for us,” said Reeves, 30, who has grouped his angels into skill areas, like marketing or technology. “They are working entrepreneurs who like to think of themselves as company-builders and attack problems.”

Traditionally, angel investors were just those early people who believed in someone’s dream. Sometimes they were mentors, relatives or friends of friends who would descend with money and walk away, expecting only periodic contacts or updates. But now, Reeves sees a way to exploit his angels’ innate talents.

Jeremy Stoppelman, the co-founder of Yelp, says Reeves talks to him mostly about building a strong company culture. He was introduced to the company through Aaron Levie, the co-founder of Box, whom Reeves has used for other introductions. Elad Gil, who sold one company, Mixer Labs, to Twitter and is now working on a biotech startup, says he gets questions about issues like mobile application technology and business operations.

“We’re operator angels, giving firsthand experience,” Gil said. “We give advice and learn things that will go stale very quickly, on things like acquiring users or using mobile. Money managers can’t do that for a company; their services are more generic.”

Besides, ZenPayroll “is working on a real problem I had in my first startup,” he said. “I wish it had been around then.”

Evoking passion for solving corporate payroll issues seems unlikely, but these are unlikely times in financing technology startups. Just as Tom Sawyer got other boys to whitewash a fence for him, people like Reeves may be onto a way to create an entire company: Draw on the industry’s experience, evoke previous entrepreneurs’ interests and continually expand a network of like-minded investors.

That he can get these human resources says much about the state of values in technology, where money is cheap, compared with time and experience.

Angel investors have been an increasingly important part of how Silicon Valley works for several years, as people have become wealthy earlier in life and corporate tools like free open-source software and cheap cloud-computing resources have lowered the cost of a startup.

AngelList, which offers to match startups with early-stage investors, says it has raised $104-million from 2,673 investors to help finance 243 startups. Investors on AngelList are expected to certify that they have more than $200,000 in income for each of the last two years, or over $1-million in net worth over and above the value of their homes. In some cases, AngelList may require proof.

People can invest by themselves or follow the investments of various tech executives who participate. Reeves is one of the featured investors on AngelList, and he has given money (and, he says, time) to startups like Clever, which makes online software for education, and Patreon, a service like Kickstarter to support artists.

Reeves is giving the companies he finances the same operator angel treatment he gets from his angels. “Fundraising should be like hiring,” he said. “Either way, you are putting people in your company.”

Thanks to two long tech booms in just two decades, there are lots of relatively young executives with lots of money. Many invest close to what they know, throwing millions at familiar human and technology networks.

Some older investors see helping people like Reeves as a way to follow what is happening today and give back in hard-won experience.

“I’m 37. I’m the old guy in the room,” said Stoppelman, the co-founder of Yelp. “It’s kind of fun to leverage your knowledge, build someone else’s success and see your suggestions put to use. Most startups underutilize the people they bring on board.”

Many of the ZenPayroll angels, who have built businesses using the same technologies of cloud computing, mobility and open-source software, see themselves as part of a movement. This technology is changing society, they argue, and they like being part of as much of that as possible.

“This is a transcendent moment,” said Tien Tzuo, the chief executive and co-founder of Zuora, which makes software for companies to run online subscription businesses. “Fifteen or 20 years ago it was about the money or for geek status. There’s now a visceral feeling that we’re changing the world together.”

All of this early-stage money can create a level of implied valuation that may be contributing to what many now say is the overvaluation of technology companies. When, after the early investing rounds, startup companies need the larger sums and corporate connections available through venture capital, they already have a valuation well above what was typical before angel investing became common.

After the venture round, it has become common for some institutional investors, including private equity funds and even mutual funds, to come in before the company goes public, creating an even higher valuation. The institutional investors are betting that the initial public offering will eventually surpass even that valuation. Thus, the angel investors, some argue, are making for a disaster.

“There is a lot of capital in this market with no tech-funding market experience – angels at the bottom, private equity on top,” said Dave McClure, whose 500 Startups has financed many early-stage companies. “Josh deserves a lot of credit, managing an investor group of that size and pushing the investing rounds up.”

Reeves said he was not concerned about a market collapse changing his methods. “This is entrepreneurs helping other entrepreneurs, and that has always been part of the secret sauce of the valley,” he said. “I am looking for mission-driven entrepreneurs. They derive joy from hearing about problems.”

MIT: MIT Profiles: Dr. Vladimir Bulovic: MIT.nano Project

Faculty Highlight: Vladimir Bulović

Vladimir Bulovic MIT

MIT’s associate dean for innovation is inventing at the nanoscale.

Professor Vladimir Bulović holds the Fariborz Maseeh Chair in Emerging Technology at MIT, heads the MIT.nano project, and co-leads the MIT Innovation Initiative. His ONE Lab has been a hotbed of scientific discovery, and he holds 75 patents covering innovations in solar energy and photodetection, light emitting diodes, lasers, television displays and lighting, chemical sensors, programmable memories, and micro-electro machines.

Photo: Maria E. Aglietti/Materials Processing Center

Imagine hearing aids powered by see-through solar cells coating your eyeglasses, tiny switches operated efficiently by squeezable molecules, and television displays as colorful as nature operating at a fraction of today’s energy consumption. These are just some of the visions being brought to life in the laboratory of MIT Professor Vladimir Bulović. “Basic science discoveries lead us to devices that can exceed the state-of-the-art performances,” says Bulović, the Fariborz Maseeh Chair in Emerging Technology at MIT’s School of Engineering.

An entrepreneur with multiple startups, holder of more than 75 patents, and award-winning educator, Bulović is at heart an applied scientist. His Organic and Nanostructured Electronics Lab (ONE Lab) has 18 students and postdoctoral associates but is used collaboratively by over 70 individuals. “Every student participates as a team member in the operation of the lab,” he says.

One key motivation for Bulović’s work is increasing energy efficiency. “Today, more than 2 percent of the world’s electricity is used on TVs and display monitors. We think we can reduce that by a factor of two, which would be a significant energy impact. Even more, today, 20 percent of electricity is used on powering light bulbs. We think we can reduce that number by a factor of two, as well. Increasing energy efficiency is one key driver of our research,” Bulović explains.

Principles and applications

“All of the pursuits start with the understanding of the basic physical principles which are then applied to the operation of practical devices,” says Bulović. The group combines expertise in electricity and magnetism and knowledge of quantum mechanics together with uses of nanomaterials to make devices as diverse as solar cells, LEDs, lasers, chemosensors, and mechanical actuators. “We use our devices as test beds of physics, and try to ascertain what physical mechanisms dominate the nanoscale proceses within them. If the devices do not perform as well as we expected, they serve as a platform through which we learn physical behavior that we have missed previously, and then from that we apply the new refined physical principle to design a better structure,” he says.

Development of renewable energy technologies that could be manufactured at scale is another driver of the group’s research. In May of last year, Bulović and collaborators set a new record, 8.55 percent efficiency, for quantum-dot solar cells. This collaboration with MIT chemistry Professor Moungi Bawendi and graduate students Chia-Hao Chuang and Patrick Brown demonstrated a fabrication process that does not require an inert atmosphere or high temperatures for its active layers, with the exception of electrodes. In these solar structures, quantum dots, fine-tuned for their optical response and charge transport, absorb the incident light, which promotes an electron from its ground to its excited state, and from there charges can move through the quantum dot film yielding an electric current.

In another recent development, Bulović and Richard Lunt, who was a postdoc at the time and is now a professor at Michigan State University, demonstrated a new solar technology that uses molecular films, which do not absorb visible light, enabling these solar cells to appear uniquely optically transparent, practically invisible. These transparent solar cells can power devices such as an electronic book reader or provide electricity to future office buildings by coating their windows. Bulović also envisions coatings for eyeglasses that power Bluetooth radios or hearing aids from available light. “These invisible coatings absorb infrared light, which we can not see, to generate electricity, and could be as simple to place on your glasses as it is to paint a surface,” he says.

Squeezable switches

Working in ONE Lab, MIT graduate student Farnaz Niroui and colleagues demonstrated electromechanical switches that use nanoscale deformations of thin films of molecules to control current passage through such switches. Niroui’s latest work builds on her earlier work showing a design for a squeezable switch — or “squitch” — which fills the narrow gap between metal contacts with an organic molecular film that can be compressed tightly enough to allow current to tunnel, or flow, from one electrode to another without any physical contact between the electrodes (the “on” position). When compressing pressure is released, the molecules spring back to open the gap between the electrodes wide enough that current cannot flow (the “off” position). The goal is to develop a fast-acting, low-power switch that can complement or replace switches in transistor-based systems.

“We are just as excited to discover a new physical operation within our structures as we are to make an operating device that exceeds the state of the art,” Bulović explains. “And it’s that interplay between the basic physical principles, demonstration of them in a device, sometimes not meeting the full potential in a device, and hence going back to the demonstration of why the physics has not quite worked the way you expected it. That refinement of ideas, the feedback, is what leads us to the next and next and next advancement.”

“What today’s researchers are exploring is just the beginning of a vast opportunity in the nano sciences and technology,” he adds. For example, Polina Anikeeva and Will Tisdale, former members of the Bulović lab and now both MIT faculty members in their own right, have followed opportunities in biological and optical measurement applications of nanotechnology. “They exemplify the breadth of opportunity that is ahead of us,” Bulović says. The planned MIT.nano facility, whose construction Bulović is supervising, will help move forward the new era of nanotechnology, he says.

“The hardest decision for our group is to decide what not to work on because there are so many exciting research areas one could engage in. I am often delighted to see a field that we might have been among the first to be in, grow and blossom, allowing us to step out of it and allowing us to think about the next challenge we should engage,” Bulović says.

Changing paradigms

Breakthrough technologies like transparent solar cells come from looking at old problems in a new way. “When our group talks about the next solar cell, we are not considering conventional ones. We are looking at ways of changing the paradigm of what matters for solar technology adoption,” Bulović explains. “Often, solar cell efficiencies are cited as the one metric that you need to push forward to advance the technology, and that is true, as efficiency is a very important metric. However, it is also important to notice that there are other solar technology properties one can advance to deliver impact.”

“In the example of optically transparent devices,” Bulović adds, “their nearly invisible format enables integration of solar technology on any surface, hence advancing a new paradigm for solar deployment. As another example, in our lab we consider how much does the solar cell weigh? If one can provide a lightweight cell, it would be easier to install it, reducing one of the dominant costs of solar deployment. A lightweight solar cell will also be easier to deliver to a remote village, which might have no access to grid electricity and possibly no paved roads. When carrying a solar cell on one’s back to bring it to a remote village, the question of ‘What is the solar cell efficiency?’ is less important than knowing how many trips you will have to make, which is the same as asking how much power can you generate per kilogram of the solar cell. In this case it could be desirable to have a less efficient cell if it is significantly lighter. By changing the weight, we can change modality of use.”

So a solar cell can change its form from a panel that you install on your roof, to a flexible device that you can have on any surface, including clothes, bags, sheets, or whatever else one can imagine. Indeed, a 2011 collaboration between Professor Karen Gleason’s and Bulović’s groups generated extremely light solar cells grown on a sheet of paper. In December 2014, Joel Jean and Annie Wang from the Bulović group further reduced the solar cell substrate thickness to only a few microns, making these solar devices light enough to float on a soap bubble.

Translation of technologies from Bulović’s lab to marketplace is often done by startup ventures initiated by graduating students. Such was the case with the transparent solar cell technology, which was licensed by Ubiquitous Energy, an MIT startup that opened its research facility just a few months ago, with the aim of changing the paradigm of what solar technology can be. Prior to that, in 2005 Bulović co-founded with MIT students QD Vision, which uses quantum dots for display technology that can presently be found in over 2 million televisions. In addition, QD Vision’s quantum dot lighting technology was shown to enhance the color quality of the most efficient lightbulbs, reproducing the glow spectrum of a typical incandescent light bulb, but consuming only one-sixth the power. In 2008, Professor Martin Schmidt and Bulović, with their students, spun out Kateeva, which is commercializing printing technology for large-scale electronics, including the toolsets enabling reliable fabrication of organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) over 2-meter wide substrates.


Bulović also heads MIT.nano, a $350 million construction project to build a state-of-the-art nanotechnology research facility in the heart of the MIT campus. “The goal of MIT.nano is to provide a transformational 21st-century workshop. In our building designs we are imagining what kind of toolbox will the campus need for the next three decades, ’til 2050. We need to build a flexible research space and a community-oriented space so that people feel empowered to go to it, use it, and then redefine it as the years progress, adapting it to the needs of the next generation of researchers,” he says.

Innovation Initiative

Bulović also is co-chair of the MIT Innovation Initiative, which aims to combine education, research, outreach, and the study of innovation science and policy to positively affect the world by accelerating the impact of multitudes of ideas generated on campus.

preliminary report in December 2014 made specific recommendations for improving innovation impact, including the creation of a Laboratory for Innovation Science and Policy. The new lab is envisioned to study the social and market context of taking ideas from lab demonstration to practical, large-scale application in the world. It would conduct research on venture formation, scale-up, and understanding the marketplace, as well as social need and response to it.

Also envisioned as part of the Innovation Initiative are new programs in entrepreneurship for postdocs, graduate students, and a minor for undergraduates with a certificate in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade math

Despite his intensive workload, Bulović finds time to teach math to elementary-school students — third-graders this year and fourth- and fifth-graders in years past. “Inspired by the curiosity of our four children, my wife and I have been developing and delivering materials for a number of years that aim to expose early learners to the wonders of math applied to the real world,” he says. “Once a week we have the privilege to join a group of students who engage with us in discovery of how a lever works, help us determine the height of a tree from its shadow, estimate the number of books in a library, practice sorting algorithms, determine angles between hands of a clock. … With cartoons of smiling penguins, mischievous cows, or other unexpected characters on our math worksheets, the math problems are presented as stories of quests and adventures. It has been a remarkably enjoyable experience for all of us, now in its eighth year.”

Canada: Government Planning New Fund to help SMEs (Small-Medium-Enterprises) Boost Exports

Canadian flag_canada

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced last week that the government plans to launch a new $50 million, five-year export market development program. The fund would provide direct financial assistance in the form of non-repayable contributions to entrepreneurs seeking to export to emerging markets for the first time.

Applicants would be required to contribute matching costs. Eligible activities under the fund would include participation in trade fairs and missions, and market research. Between 500 and 1,000 exporters are expected to receive funding from the program each year.

“Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) represent 99% of all businesses in Canada and account for nearly 90% of jobs in the private sector,” read the government’s press release. “However, SMEs face greater challenges accessing financing for a variety of reasons, including having little or no credit history, few tangible assets to use as collateral and more volatile sales and earnings. This is even more so for businesses looking to export in emerging markets.”

Details such as a potential launch date and the name of the fund have yet to be announced. The government has indicated, however, that it plans to move forward with the program on an expedited basis.

The Prime Minister also announced last week an expansion of the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) representing $42 million over the first five years and $9.25 million in ongoing support thereafter. This funding will support the deployment of an estimated additional twenty Trade Commissioners to target priority markets. The TCS provides export advice and guidance to entrepreneurs.

PV Conversion Efficiency Doubled In NanoWire Array Solar Cell

Sweden-based Sol Voltaics has announced that it has doubled the previous world record for  photovoltaic (PV) conversion efficiency using a gallium-arsenide (GaAs) nanowire array (NWA).

sol voltaics

The company’s 1-sun conversion efficiency of 15.3% in a GaAs NWA solar cell was reportedly verified by an independent source, Fraunhofer-ISE, the largest solar research institute in Europe (with a staff of about 1,300).

“The efficiency of our GaAs nanowires is a critical component of our low-cost film. The use of III-V materials in the PV industry has always been a goal but the costs have been prohibitive. Using Sol Voltaic’s Aerotaxy® nanowire production methodology allows our III-V film to be produced at competitive cost at efficiencies that are industry changing,” explained Erik Smith, CEO. “We look forward to working with industrial partners on the integration of our technology on to Si cells so they may make the leap to 27% efficiency and beyond.”

These kinds of milestones are important because they move the needle towards a future when solar power is everywhere, providing the human race with clean, renewable energy, instead of relying on harmful fossil fuels.

Sol Voltaics has a video here that gives you an idea of how they enhance solar cell surfaces with their nanotechnology to increase efficiency.

Increasing to 27% efficiency would be quite a leap, at least in solar cell terms.

In 1959, the first commercially available solar cells with 10% efficiency were made available. Today, the rate of technology improvement seems to be much faster, most likely due to the fact our computing resources are relatively vast.

The nanowires are sort of like antennae that are embedded into a film so that they can absorb sunlight and generate electricity.

Sol Voltaics makes nanomaterials and nanowire material to enhance solar panel products. The company was founded in 2008. In 2013, it collected a $6 million conditional loan from the Swedish Energy Agency.

Image Credit: Sol Voltaic

UCLA and B.C. Company to Announce Graphene Solar “Game-Changer”

SunVault Batteries_flickr_scalespeeder_9890847913A Canadian renewable energy company will next week reveal details of a joint venture which it claims will cause a paradigm shift in renewable energy generation  and storage.

Sunvault Energy, based in Kelowna, British Columbia, has formed the Supervault Energy JV to develop UCLA-patented graphene supercapacitor technology.

An explanatory video on the Supervault Energy website claims the use of all-organic graphene, created through a simple process, will enable devices to recharge within seconds.

In the video, Richard Kaner, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UCLA, and PhD student Maher El-Kady, explain how a graphene supercapacitor could be scaled up from portable devices, such as smartphones, to charging stations for electric vehicles (EV).

SunVault Batteries_flickr_scalespeeder_9890847913

SunVault Energy says its graphene supercapacitors will make traditional batteries a thing of the past

In a press release issued by SunVault Energy about the JV, and carried by PR Newswire yesterday (Thursday), the Canadian company says it intends to incorporate the technology in its solar cells to produce a device capable of generating, transferring and storing energy in one unit.

Scaleable technology

Sunvault also claims the technology can be scaled up to utility-sized applications.

Details of the JV will be announced on Wednesday (March 18) in a webinar at 4.30pm, U.S. Eastern time.

The development follows the announcement by Sunvault president and CEO Gary Monaghan in October that the company had signed an MoU with Los Angeles-based Nanotech Energy to develop the ‘Nanotech Energy Graphine Supercapacitor’ as part of an all-in-one solar product a step nearer the company’s ‘bio-cell storage’ vision.SA Solar 5 191b940e-6e05-402a-bfbb-3e7be5f8a46f_16x9_600x338

Graphene, as a carbon-based material, contains none of the toxic metals used in lithium-ion batteries that dominate the renewable energy storage market at present, with Kaner claiming graphene can be disposed of in domestic composters.

Read more:

Solving Solar Power’s Problem

WEF solarpowersavemoney-628x330*From the World Economic Forum on Energy – Francesca McCaffrey*

Several government agencies, academic researchers, and firms have proposed scenarios for the future in which photovoltaic (PV) technologies grow rapidly. To support such growth, PV technologies would need to be developed with resource constraints in mind. For some PV technologies, the production of the required input materials would need to grow at a rate never before seen in the metals industry, according to a new analysis by MIT researchers.

The future availability of critical materials is a widely acknowledged concern within the energy community. Other studies have examined whether projected production growth rates are realistic, but they have approached the question through the lens of constraints such as annual metal production levels and reserves.

MIT graduate student Goksin Kavlak, postdoctoral associate James McNerney, Professor Robert Jaffe of physics, and Professor Jessika Trancik of engineering systems develop a novel method in a paper recently published in Proceedings of the 40th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference.

“We provide a new perspective by putting the projected PV metal requirements into an historical context,” says Trancik, who is the Atlantic Richfield Career Development Assistant Professor in Energy Studies at MIT and the team lead. “We focus on the changes in metals production over time rather than the absolute amounts.”

This approach allows for an assessment of how quickly metals production would need to be scaled up to meet the rapidly increasing PV deployment levels required by aggressive low-carbon energy scenarios.

To calculate the metals production growth rates required under those scenarios, as lead author Kavlak explained in a recent interview, the researchers first estimated the required production in 2030 for each metal of interest, and then calculated the annual growth rate needed to reach that level. They took into account the projected demand for each metal by both the PV sector and other industrial sectors. In addition, they looked at the effect of potential improvements in PV technology that would reduce the amount of each metal required in production.SA Solar 5 191b940e-6e05-402a-bfbb-3e7be5f8a46f_16x9_600x338

The researchers then compared these projected growth rates to historical metals production growth rates in order to “understand the extent of production growth that happened in the past and whether the projected growth rates have historical precedent,” says Trancik.

The results of this analysis differed from one kind of PV technology to another. For silicon-based PVs, which include first-generation panels using crystalline silicon solar cells, the results presented an optimistic view of the future.

“Silicon-based PVs look promising from a material point of view: The growth-rate of silicon production required to meet high deployment goals does not exceed historical norms,” says Jaffe, the Morningstar Professor of Physics and MacVicar Faculty Fellow at MIT.

The outlook is more complex for newer photovoltaic technologies, especially increasingly attractive thin-film PV technologies. While a handful of thin-film solar panels use silicon in their absorption layers, many make use of other metals, such as cadmium telluride and copper indium gallium diselinide, commonly referred to as CIGS.

Trancik summarized the paper’s findings concerning CIGS and cadmium telluride production: “To meet even relatively small percentages of electricity demand by the year 2030, these technologies would require historically unprecedented [metals production] growth rates.”

The reasoning? In mining, CIGS and cadmium telluride are considered byproduct metals, not mined for their own sake, but only accessible as byproducts of the mining processes for other metals, such as copper. Upping their production, therefore, is a cost-intensive process.

“It is quite possible that the cost and availability of these critical elements will constrain deployment of otherwise game-changing technologies,” said Jaffe.

Published in collaboration with MIT News

*** Team GNT adds: “We are encouraged with regard to an emerging nanotechnology using cadmium-free Quantum Dots for solar energy generation. As such with regards to this article, it is a ‘metal-neutral’ tech with potential for high conversion rates with LOW manufacturing costs.”

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… and we will keep you ‘posted’!  

Google Eyes Nanoparticle Platform: Grand Challenge Health Rethink

google rethinkGoogle likes taking on big problems and that’s no secret. Transportation. Communication, and now Health. The Atlantic has posted a video and it is all about Google’s attempt to redefine how we manage our health.

“Over the last three years, Google has quietly built a cutting-edge health care facility,” said the magazine video. Google’s facility employs over 100 doctors and scientists. James Hamblin, senior editor at The Atlantic, sat in Mountain View, California, and spoke with Andrew Conrad, head of Google Life Sciences. Conrad told him that the group is trying to change medicine from being episodic and reactive (like going to the doctor because your arm hurts) to proactive. Google is working on a wristband that can detect when they first appear. That would be possible in a system where they would be designing tiny magnetic particles to patrol the human body for signs of cancer and other diseases. “So imagine that you swallow a pill [You would take a pill maybe twice a month] and that pill has small things called nanoparticles in it, decorated on their surface with markers that attach to cancer cells, We have them circulate through your whole body, and we collect them in the vasculature of the arm with a magnet, and you ask them what they saw.”
google rethink

In brief, Google is designing a system where tiny magnetic particles patrol the human body for signs of cancer and other diseases. UPI’s Brooks Hays said that “the pill would release nanoparticles into a patient’s bloodstream; the magnetized particles would tour the body seeking out cancer cells to bind to. A wearable monitor would attract and count the particles, pulling information as to what the particles had detected.” Cancer cells, for example, would light up. How does light pass through skin? To understand that, Google started to make synthetic skin. For their arm model, they had to use materials that behave like skin with biocomponents of real arms. Also, Google is monitoring 175 healthy volunteers, collecting physiological data frequently,. The goal is to understand what defines a “healthy” person, to know what ‘normal’ is. They need to understand the baseline. In the video, Conrad, had a memorable reply when his interviewer asked if some people would feel weird having nanoparticles floating through their body as trackers. “It’s way weirder,” said Conrad, “to have cancer cells floating through your body that are constantly trying to kill you.”

In November, Conrad also talked about Google’s health explorations at the WSJD Live conference. As a complex system, a reactive, episodic paradigm for a health system makes little sense, said Conrad. “Can you imagine,” said Conrad, “changing the oil in your car when the engine is broken?” Yet that is what we do in health care. We wait and go to the mechanic when we are broken. He talked about the use of to monitor for signs of cancer and other diseases. He said the goal was to functionalize these , the nexus between biology and engineering, to make them behave the way they wanted. The idea, he said, was to swallow a and one could call them somewhere, trap them and then can ask them what they saw.

“Imagine you want to explore Parisian culture and you do it by flying a helicopter over Paris once a year. That’s what doctors do now. What we’re hoping to do is that these little particles go out, mingle with the people, we call them back to one place, and we ask them, hey what did you see?” Did you find cancer? … Too much sodium?”

Explore further: Google seeks way to search bodies for disease

Quantum Materials Begins Shipping Cadmium-Free Red and Green Quantum Dots

quantum material corp logoSAN MARCOS, Texas, Feb. 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Rapidly growing North American quantum dot manufacturer Quantum Materials Corp (OTCQB:QTMM) today announced it has begun shipping Cadmium-free red and green quantum dots in evaluation and production quantities to select leading consumer electronics manufacturers.

The company has increased the uniformity and enhanced stability of its Cadmium-free nanomaterials as a result of bringing previously-reported automated capital equipment, facility and personnel investments online. Quantum Materials is at the forefront of Cadmium-free quantum dot development and recently announced increasing production capacity to 2000Kg of quantum dots and nanoparticles per annum in Q2 2015.

Meetings with manufacturers at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) spurred requests for Cadmium-free red and green quantum dots with application-specific functionality. Quantum Materials has accelerated Cadmium-free quantum dot development because electronics manufacturers’ are seeking to stay ahead of environmental regulations governing dangerous materials in consumer electronic devices. Quantum dots are easily integrated into the industry-standard thin-film roll-to-roll inkjet and surface deposition technologies currently used in existing LCD display production lines, as illustrated in an informative video* detailing Cadmium-free quantum dot uses and benefits.

“We were very encouraged with the results of our meetings at CES,” said Quantum Materials Corp CEO Stephen Squires. “I personally am even more pleased with the dedication, hard work and creativity of our team. Their discoveries have enabled us to meet the stringent demands and tight delivery deadlines necessary to rapidly integrate our materials into commercial products.”Hisense%20Quantum%20Dot%20ULED

The U.S. leads the world in nanotechnology innovation with over $30 billion invested in research to date. Quantum Materials is working with manufacturers toward integrating its advanced materials into commercial products that will create jobs, generate profits, and strengthen our economy and balance of payments.  The limited industrial availability of a reliable supply of Cadmium-free quantum dots has attracted the interest of the world’s largest display and solid-state lighting manufacturers in evaluating Quantum Materials mass-production capability.

Quantum Materials’ products are the foundation for technologically superior, energy efficient and environmentally sound LCD UHD displays, the next generation of solid-state lighting, solar photovoltaic power applications, advanced battery and energy storage solutions, biotech imaging, and biomedical theranostics.

*High Definition Video available for download by broadcast outlets at for use with attribution.

About Quantum Materials Corp

Quantum Materials Corp develops and manufactures Quantum Dots and nanomaterials for use in medical, display, solar energy and lighting applications through its patent-pending volume production process. QMC’s volume manufacturing methods enable consistent quality and scalable cost reductions to drive innovative discovery to commercial success. Wholly-owned subsidiary Solterra Renewable Technologies develops sustainable quantum dot solar technology.

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