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Home > News > Nanotechnology investing - understanding the technology and accepting the time frames are key

November 14th, 2007

Nanotechnology investing - understanding the technology and accepting the time frames are key

Slowly but surely the realization begins to sink in that there is no quick buck to be made for individual investors in nanotechnology companies (except for the people pushing investment advice of course). Existing public nanotechnology firms as a group have performed sub-standard (to put it politely); there isn't exactly a flood of nanotech IPOs on the horizon; and many product advances that have to do with nanotechnologies are made by large companies which either make these advances silently (witness the cosmetics industry) or tout them as major breakthroughs (like IBM's 'airgap' technology). In any case, all these nanotechnology-based materials are incremental improvements over existing materials - leading to better coatings, more efficient batteries and fuel cells, better performing materials, etc. - and not revolutionary devices. Of course, when we look back 10 years from now, there will have been one or two great performing nanotech stocks (I will tell you in 2017 who they are); but then there will be one or two great performing stocks in almost any other investment sector. Nevertheless, there are many start-ups and early stage companies out there - some might even make it to the IPO (initial public offering) stage or be bought by larger companies - and given the nature of the field, with its broad and multidisciplinary character, it certainly is helpful for the professional investor to be able to gauge the nanotechnology investment landscape from a technology perspective. A recent article describes a methodology to categorize different nanotechnologies into one of three types: passive, active, or hybrid nanotechnologies, each with different time horizons for expected commercial viability.


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