This issue of NanoNews-Now covers Investing in Nanotechnology via an article by Jack Uldrich, President of The NanoVeritas Group, and author of the award-winning bestseller The Next Big Thing is Really Small: How Nanotechnology Will Change the Future of Your Business.

Nanotechnology Now Editor Rocky Rawstern also interviews newly appointed Lux Research Senior Analyst David Lackner.

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Jack Uldrich, President The NanoVeritas Group
Jack Uldrich, President, The NanoVeritas Group
Author of the award-winning, bestseller, The Next Big Thing is Really Small: How Nanotechnology Will Change the Future of Your Business

Investing in Nanotechnology

The following article is an excerpt from Jack's forthcoming book, Nanotech Investing; What Every Investor Needs to Know

If you think that investing in nanotechnology is a quick, easy road to riches you're wrong. Nanotechnology will create a lot of new wealth and it will destroy a lot of old wealth but it will not, as a general rule, do these things overnight. Rather, it will do so over a period of years and, accordingly, investors of nanotechnology will need to demonstrate some patience.

A few historical examples are worth bearing in mind. The first is the semiconductor industry. The first transistor-the basis of today's computer industry-was created in 1947. It was not until the creation of the integrated circuit, 11 years later, that the potential of the industry began to become evident to some very farsighted investors. Those investors did not see a return on their investment until the mid-1970s when integrated circuits began moving out of very specialized applications and were incorporated into some familiar commercial items. But those investors didn't really see a handsome return on their investment until the manufacturing processes grew so efficient and cost-effective that integrated circuits started to drive the growth of entirely new markets in personal computers, cell phones, and a host of other popular consumer products. The time frame between the first transistor and semiconductor industry's dominance was roughly 40 years.

The biotechnology industry followed a similar pattern. Today's biotech giants, Genentech and AMGEN, started nearly two decades ago. But only recently have they become profitable.

These two examples are offered merely to control the "irrational exuberances" of any investors hoping to strike it rich in nanotechnology tomorrow. The more important point is that both industries did become profitable in the long-run and the patient investor was rewarded.

This is not to imply, however, that investors will have to wait 40 or even 20 years to begin to reap profits from their investments in nanotechnology. This is true because technology is experiencing exponential growth, while at the same time the span between when a paradigm-shifting scientific or technological advance is first discovered and when it finally makes its appearance in commercial products is experiencing a corresponding reduction.

The shortening timeframe of the profitability of the semiconductor and biotech industries-from 40 years to 20 years-may appear to be just a coincidence; it is not. Ray Kurzweil's excellent book, The Age of the Spiritual Machines, provides a series of examples showing that the time between the development of a new technology and its wide-spread acceptance by society (defined as 25% of the population using the device) has been consistently shrinking. For instance, from the time the phone was first created by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876, it took 35 years before one-quarter of the homes in America had one. The television took only 25 years; the computer 16 years; the cell phone 12 years, and the Internet only 7 years.

I mention these facts because nanotechnology is going to enable a host of new materials, medical devices, energy-related devices, and drugs (which will likely be delayed due to FDA approval). Many of these products are going to be on the market sooner rather than later; many by the end of the decade.

Human tendency is to assume linearity. That is, most people assume progress will proceed in a prescribed, organized, and straightforward fashion. This line of thinking is best exposed with a short quiz. Consider a pond. If pond lily growth doubles every day and it takes 30 days to completely cover a pond, on what day will the pond be one-quarter covered? On what day will it be half-covered?

Many people respond that the pond will be one-quarter covered in one week and half-covered on the 15th day. They are wrong because they are guilty of linear thinking. The fact is that by the end of the third week-a full week after many people guess the pond will be half covered-lilies only cover 1/512th of the pond. It is only on Day 28 that the pond becomes one-quarter covered. Of course, it is then half-covered the next day and, because it is doubling every day, it is fully covered by Day 30.

So why do I tell this story? It is because many people demonstrate the same tendency with respect to the emergence of new technologies which are growing almost exponentially. That is they overestimate the potential for the technology in the short run (i.e. they think the technology will achieve market dominance much sooner than it actually does). And when that doesn't happen, they tend to become disappointed, discouraged, or disillusioned. Ironically, it is precisely these tendencies that give rise to the second fallacy; that being they underestimate the long-term potential of the new technology. And by the time they finally do grasp how fast it is progressing-say on Day 28 of the earlier example-and hope to capitalize in on the explosive growth, it is too late.

I therefore encourage investors to think of the emerging field of nanotechnology as being around "Day 15" in the year 2005. The field of nanotechnology has been touted in the mainstream media since 2000 and a number of people have already become disillusioned at its prospects, and remain so today because of the relative scarcity of commercial products. The underlying science of nanotechnology, however, is rapidly growing; as is the number of products it is enabling and creating.

In order to reap the maximum benefits of nanotechnology over time investors are encouraged to begin learning about and investing in the field today.

Jack Uldrich is the author of the award-winning, bestseller, The Next Big Thing is Really Small: How Nanotechnology Will Change the Future of Your Business (1), and President of The NanoVeritas Group-an international leadership and technology consultancy dedicated to helping business, government, and non-profit organizations prepare for and profit from the emerging field of nanotechnology. Clients include Fortune 100 companies, venture capital firms and state and regional governments.

Uldrich's forthcoming book, Nanotech Investing: What Every Investors Knows will be published in the summer of 2005, and his written works have also appeared in The Motley Fool, The Futurist, The Scientist, CityBusiness, The Futures Research Quarterly, TechStation Central and scores of other newspapers around the country.

Uldrich is a frequent speaker on the nanotechnology lecture circuit and has addressed numerous businesses, trade associations and investment groups, including General Mills, Pfizer, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

(1) Read our review

Rocky Rawstern interviews Lux Research Senior Analyst David Lackner

David Lackner, Lux Research Senior Analyst
David Lackner
Lux Research Senior Analyst

Rocky Rawstern - Editor Nanotechnology Now -
Rocky Rawstern
Editor, Nanotechnology Now

In April I had the privilege of speaking with newly appointed Lux Research Senior Analyst David Lackner.

I had 7 specific questions, and the occasional interjection, which you will see marked with (RR). As you will see below, we covered a lot of ground.

To start, David talked a bit about himself, his background, why he is both qualified for and excited about his new role at Lux.

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David Lackner: Why I am excited to be here at Lux is that I came out of a background of engineering and commercialization, primarily with NASA. I worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Johnson Space Center, and most recently spent 5 years at the Ames Center for Nanotechnology, in Northern California, where I worked with Meyya Meyyappan. I went from an engineer with a technical background, to working on technology transfer, strategic partnerships, and commercialization, exclusively for nanotechnology.

At JPL, I had the wonderful advantage and experience of being with one of the government's largest dedicated nanotech groups. There are 70 full-time scientists and engineers working at the Center for Nanotechnology today, and they are producing a lot of groundbreaking work. It was really cool to be in a National Lab that also maintains a very application-driven environment. There is a combination of blue-sky cutting-edge/bleeding-edge research, yet it is driven by (the thought that) it's got to go into a spacecraft, or an instrument, or the next Mars rover. And NASA has been taking an increasingly business-centric role in the sense that if there is something that we cannot do, but we do something else better than anyone else, we want to partner up with them, and get into a collaborative development agreement, where NASA does the licensing.

The other beauty of the whole experience at NASA was that over the last five years I used the NASA franchise to build a great network. I had heard about Lux quite frequently, and knew them well by reputation, and had met a couple of the guys. Recently I had a chance to meet Matthew Nordan and Peter Hébert, and they convinced me to come over, and I am incredibly happy that I did. I think the opportunities are tremendous. Personally, it was the right way for me to make the transition from government to private industry.

What I like about nanotech is that it's still a little niche of people who are very tightly interconnected - it feels like a great community. We're still - for a little while, not much longer probably - in the formative stages where it is not like going to the Mac World convention, where there's a billion people and you don't really know everybody; you just know your little subset of them. In nanotech it's still possible to know everybody.

(RR) We're reaching a point where the physicists and chemists and the materials folks are starting to recognize that they're all related now; they all have a common cause, since everybody is working at the same scale finally, and they're all working with the quantum properties. It's an exciting time.

Absolutely. The fact that you have physicists and chemists working together is amazing actually.

How do you define nanotechnology?

Lux has a very specific definition, the essence of which is "exploiting size-dependent properties at the nanoscale." Our rule-of-thumb is that if you are not taking advantage of emerging properties of the nanoscale, then you're not truly "nano."

Who are the major players in the emerging nanotechnology space? What differentiates them from those that we wouldn't consider major players?

That's a great question. Let me answer it this way: there are the big companies, the startups, and the companies that nobody has ever heard of, which may be big or small.

There is a really interesting space here regarding what the big companies are doing, especially diversified companies like 3M and GE. I'll focus on automobile companies; in one of our reports, we talked about nanotech's impact on a consumer truck. For example, if you looked at a very specific case study on a Ford F-Series truck, what would you see in terms of nanotech's ability to add value? We took six emerging nanotech innovations, and applied them to one model year of this high-volume truck. This took into account that there were tier one suppliers and other OEM suppliers. We looked at who's going to win the most. If you looked at tier one suppliers to the auto manufacturer, they would win the most, with a $493M incremental increase in revenue for the year that nanotechnology innovations were implemented. Consumers would be ranked second, and they would see $327M in cost savings over five years of usage of the truck. How would they do that? It would be through better fuel economy, as well as soft benefits in performance and savings. The truck manufacturer itself would follow with a net $248M in cost savings and boosted resale value, plus points of differentiation against competitors. The other notable winner is the environment; we estimated 10% less fuel consumed and a 30% drop in emissions, and the use of recyclable plastics. There are also other manufacturing gains, such as the 19M gallons of water saved annually.

I mentioned a lot of things there, but let's focus on one in particular; there is a developing market for nano-coated glass. There are a lot of players in that area. It actually adds quite a bit of cost to the vehicle, but it is an upgrade that the consumer is very aware of that the manufacturer can charge more for. You get performance enhancements like fog-resistance, glare-resistance, and easily cleaned glass with nano-coating, and that's here today.

To get back to the central question. A diverse group of companies, ranging from large ones such as PPG, to startups like Nano-X and NanoGate, are developing nanoscale coatings for automotive surfaces. These coatings are based on a variety of technologies that hold nanoscale dimensions in common. They are for improved surface properties for many different parts of the vehicle. If we look at performance enhancements, we're talking about scratch-resistant paints, corrosion-resistance, easy to clean metal surfaces; these things are all very valuable to the automobile manufacturers. If you aggregate the costs of these coatings, they could add an extra $400 dollars, which is quite a bit. That would yield a price markup of $500 to the consumer (at a 20% margin). However, the consumer would make up that value (over a five year period) with an extra $500 on resale.

You can trace the whole value-chain, and see that nanotechnology does indeed add value at every step.

(RR) So we could say that the major players differentiate themselves when they add value to their products (even though that value sometimes comes with extra cost)?

Exactly. And that's the essence of any business model, right? Nanotechnology or not, you have to provide something, in terms of benefit in performance, or you have to provide a cost savings. Nanotech can do both.

Are the major player's R&D efforts and products specialty-focused, or broad-based?

Nanotechnology is an enabling platform, and the smart companies understand how it's going to fit into all of their business units. If we continue with the automobile example, they're using nano-composites in bumpers and running boards, and they're partnering with other companies to provide coatings for the flat surfaces.

The more diversified the company, the more applications you'll find for nanotechnology.

What we're finding is that the smart companies, big and small, are staging their nanotechnology opportunities. For example, there is a small company that we're talking to now that is applying their nanotech solutions to a variety of platforms. They have one solution that is very near-term, in fuel additives; one medium-term activity in cosmetics additives; and a long-term activity in bio-diagnostics.

So it's not only that their R&D is broad-based or specialty-focused, there is a temporal effect, where if you're doing it the right way you see what you can do early on and use that as leverage to do the R&D for the later stages.

Is R&D investing trending up or down and why?

Overall, nanotechnology R&D was at $3.8B last year, and is trending up. There is more private funding in nanotechnology now than government investment.

Who's partnering with who, and why? What are companies looking for in partners?

That's a great question. It depends on how you define partnerships. I think what we're seeing a lot of is small companies and start ups licensing patents from universities and national labs. If you call that a partnership, that's a very effective model.

(RR) I do, and I see a lot of this type of partnership happening these days.

There is a ton of it happening. It's a good model, although it can also be a difficult one because of the technology transfer issues (I know them very well since that's where I'm coming from).

So that's one class of partnerships. The other could be classified as "internal partnerships" within large companies. (For instance) A large company has assigned someone to look at nanotechnology, and they are struggling with how to get support within business units. We feel that will lead to partnerships between business units who want to leverage corporate nanotech R&D.

An example might be a pharmaceutical or aerospace company that has someone assigned to look into nanotech. This person is realizing that they can affect many business units, so they actually have to move the entire activity up to a higher level within the company so they can align the business units and spread the R&D across the corporation. In a sense that is a partnership, since business units often do not talk to each other.

Those are two classes of partnerships that are trending upward, and they essentially make two types of business models.

(RR) We have a technology transfer database and monthly report. In the monthly report I interview university tech transfer offices, and in some cases the research scientists. What I have found is that there are some very smart folks in the tech transfer offices these days. They have cohesive plans for what they want to do and how they want to accomplish it, and they are being very aggressive at getting their partnership needs out to the business world.

I agree. I was surprised by how forward looking folks were in general, because I think tech transfer has been slow to adopt emerging technologies, except in biotech and pharma. The ramp up in nanotech is quite amazing.

What types of projects are getting the most investment dollars and why? Where do you see companies investing money in R&D?

That's a bit difficult to answer, especially when you have a large conglomerate - it's hard to get a breakdown of how they are doing that.

Let me try going in a bit of a different direction, and see if it makes sense.

In one of our reports, titled "Sizing Nanotechnology's Value Chain," we talk about the period when nanotechnology becomes commonplace. What we said was that by 2014, emerging nanotechnology will become an ordinary element of manufactured goods. In some key segments, such as microchips and computer hardware, penetration of nanotechnology into products will exceed 50%. At the end of this period, revenues from products incorporating emerging nanotechnology will total $2.6 Trillion across industry value chain, equaling 16% of gross manufacturing output, worldwide.

2014 sounds like a long ways away, but it's only nine years.

(RR) Which is outside of most people's investment horizons, but not outside of most development horizons.

Precisely. If we want to talk about investment horizons we can talk about nano-materials specifically. Prices of nano-materials will plummet due to increasing scale of production. We can all see that coming.

(RR) And nanotubes are a great example.

Exactly. So nano-materials will become cost-effective replacements for traditional materials, in a range of applications, where they would never have been considered before. I think at the same time novel applications of these materials will mature with products that begin shipping in mass quantities. As a result, Lux believes that over five years nano-materials sales will blast off, from $2.8B to $13B.

So to follow your example, let's look at carbon nanotubes (CNT's). CNT's can become a substitute for graphite. When - not if, but when - prices fall to under a dollar per gram, these once "other worldly" CNT's will be accepted as a better form of graphite, and a higher performance alternative to conducting metals.

So you can expect to see significant substitution of CNT's. Couple that with new enabling applications such as armor reinforcement, energy storage, and fuel cell and batteries, Lux believes that CNT revenues will reach the low single-digit billions by 2014.

Which country holds the lead in nanotech investing? Do you see that changing, and why?

We (the U.S.) hold the lead, but it's tenuous. Asian governments spent $1.6B in 2004. The thing that we all acknowledge though is that of the $1.6B spent, some portion of that was in China, and that buys you a heck of a lot more brain-power and labor then it does here. So the numbers cannot be compared - it's apples to oranges. It is, however, a looming threat. I would also contend that there is a looming threat in terms of outsourcing. We just talked about nano-materials - if there is a way to cost-effectively make vats of some nano-enabled products in China, they're going to go do it there, and the IP will be at risk.

So it's a very shaky lead.

(RR) Is investing in the next generation of scholars an important factor in maintaining our lead?

I am a member of a task force in California, called the Blue Ribbon Task Force For Nanotechnology (BRTFN). It's sponsored by US Rep. Mike Honda (D-San José) and California State Controller Steve Westly (D). They have five subcommittees, and one of them is on education. It was seen as critical for California to be educating its next generation in science and technology, not only at the university level, but very early on at the grade school level.

(RR) And hopefully get the next generation excited about science again.

The nice thing is, I think nanotechnology can be a catalyst for that too.

About David Lackner
As Senior Analyst for Lux Research, the leading nanotechnology research and advisory firm, David Lackner will be the vanguard for their west coast expansion. Lux Research is building one of the most enviable emerging franchises in all of nanotechnology: Their domain expertise, proprietary advantages, and amazing team are unmatched.

The firm's principals are recognized internationally as thought-leaders in the field of nanotechnology and have been invited by President Bush to the Oval Office, frequently appear on CNBC, CNN, and Forbes and are regularly cited in the Economist, Business Week, Barron's and other leading financial and technology publications. On March 28th, called Lux Research "One of the most respected research firms to rise up around nanotech..."

He led the technology transfer and partnership development activities for NASA Ames' Center for Nanotechnology, the federal government's largest dedicated nanotechnology group. Lackner recently created the first ever joint venture between NASA and an entrepreneurial company to develop nano-enabled cooling systems for electronics. Prior to joining NASA, Lackner specialized in technology commercialization and deployment as an analyst with Stanford Research Institute.

Lackner has been selected for numerous nationally-recognized panels: Editorial Advisory Board of Nanotech Briefs, Commercialization Subcommittee of the Blue Ribbon Task Force on Nanotechnology. Lackner served on a committee at the National Academies of Science to chart domestic nanotechnology policy, contributing to the latest National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan. Lackner co-founded the NanoScience Insitute, which has become part of the Bio-Info-Nano Research and Development Institute being built by the University of California under the Silicon Valley Initiative.

About Lux Research
Lux Research is the world's premier research and advisory firm focusing on the business and economic impact of nanotechnology and related emerging technologies. Lux Research provides continuous advisory services, customized consulting, and reference studies to corporations, start-ups, financial institutions, and public sector organizations. Our founders and our research staff are the most widely recognized nanotechnology visionaries throughout the world.

The industries that nanotechnology will likely have a disruptive effect on in the near term include the following:
(Amounts are Billions of US Dollars)




Long Term Care








U.S. Chemical












Hospitality / Restaurant


US Insurance




Corrosion Removal


US Steel




Diet Supplement


















Blue Jeans




Fluorescent Tagging

Figures are from:

The Next Big Thing Is Really Small: How Nanotechnology Will Change the Future of Your Business. J Uldrich & D Newberry. March 2003
Read our review

NANO - John Robert Marlow. Hardcover January 2004
Our Review
The Superswarm Interview
The Superswarm Option
Nanoveau - This column will cover the science, the speculation, and (occasionally) the politics of nanotechnology and related topics. If you want to know what nanotech is about, and how and why it will change everything we know-Nanoveau is for you.

Got Nanotechnology?
If not, read this:

Our Molecular Future: How Nanotechnology, Robotics, Genetics, and Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Our World.
Douglas Mulhall, March 2002
Read our review


The money the United States is investing in nanotechnology is money very well spent, and continued robust funding is important for the Nation's long-term economic well-being and national security, PCAST Releases NNI 5-Year Review

"Investing in innovation is the key to a vibrant US manufacturing base and the continued generation of new jobs. Nanotechnology has the potential to create entirely new industries and radically transform the basis of competition in other fields." —U.S. Representative Mike Honda (D-San Jose)

(RE: investing in a company) "The most important thing to look at is the people who are there. Read their bios. Do they have accomplishments or an ambiguous past? Is there a customer need for what they're selling? Do they have anything more than intellectual property? Is it a big market? Are competitors breaking new ground?" —Warren Packard, a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson

"... a company's involvement in nanotechnology today is one practical way of gauging whether they, at least, understand the forces which will allow them to still be in existence in 2025." —Jack Uldrich, NanoNovus

Nanotech entrepreneurs should take heart - with a budget of $15.4 billion, NASA is willing to put its money on the line. The agency spent $52 million on nanotech-related work in 2003. The National Nanotechnology Initiative funded $36 million of that total; the rest came from various NASA operation centers investing their own dollars to gauge nanotech's merits. The Ames Center alone has nearly 70 researchers, one of the largest single nanotechnology research efforts in the world. —SmallTimes

"It will take many years of substantial federal investment for the nanotechnology industry to achieve maturity, and it is critical that the President has structures in place to ensure that the U.S. leads the world in development. Additionally, nanotechnology will give rise to a host of novel social, ethical, philosophical and legal issues. It will be important to have a group in place to predict and work to alleviate anticipated problems." —Rep. Mike Honda (D-San Jose)

Lux Capital is a venture capital firm focused on identifying and building early-stage technology businesses. Lux aggressively seeks defensible investment opportunities in the information technology and nanotechnology industries. Lux has strong ties to and maintains a focus of sourcing deals from leading research-driven universities. —Josh Wolfe, Managing Partner.

"All investment strategies are not created equal: One size does not fit all and there is no cookie-cutter investment strategy. Many companies bootstrap themselves. Others partner with angel investors, traditional venture capital firms or even obtain debt financing. The venture capital model has served us well. But all venture capital firms are not created equal. You don't need money people, you need partners who balance the risks and motivate your team." —Barry Weinbaum Choosing The Right Investors Sets Stage For Likely Success

The car industry is currently investing more than $1 billion annually in hydrogen fuel cell technology. The federal government has pledged more than $1 billion over four years. EETimes

The U.S. government is steadily increasing investment for research and development of nanotechnology. Despite this, (Dr. Calvin) Shipbaugh relays, "the timeline for initial development of assemblers and replicators depends on laboratory breakthroughs that are not easily predicted…if a full assembler actually can be developed within the next 10 to 20 years, and a useful replicator follows shortly thereafter, then an impressive capability for logistics sustainment will arrive during the third decade of the new century." —Dr. Calvin Shipbaugh

While eager to invest in nanotechnology, in the past two years some VC firms have been cautious to invest in specific nanotech companies for a variety of reasons. The primary reason being the lack of understanding of the technology and the nanotech market. The US Nanotechnology Environment - Where is the business? (PDF)

PCAST found that the United States is the acknowledged leader in nanotechnology research and development (R&D). The approximately $1 billion the Federal government will spend on nanotechnology R&D this fiscal year is roughly one-quarter of the current global investment by all nations. Total annual U.S. R&D spending (Federal, State, and private) now stands at approximately $3 billion, or one-third of the estimated $9 billion in total worldwide spending by the public and private sectors combined. In addition, the United States leads in the number of start-up companies based on nanotechnology, and in research output as measured by patents and publications. The U.S. leadership position, however, is under increasing competitive pressure from other nations as they ramp up their own programs. PCAST Releases First Report on Nanotechnology R&D

But what of investors? Should our portfolios take notice of this emerging, Rule Breaking -- but as yet commercially unproven -- technology? Companies at the forefront of nanotechnology promise to be the commercial giants of the 21st century. Mastering the unique chemical and physical properties to potentially create products that promise to deliver disruptive technologies is what the nascent science is all about. Tomorrow's commercial giants can reward the patient investors who believed in them early on -- just ask the wise and wealthy early investors in IBM. —Carl Wherrett and John Yelovich, The Next Tech Revolution.

"We keep talking and talking about research and development, and yet I see a slipping in comparison to other countries," Biggert said. The United States is still an R&D leader, "but we are slipping badly."

Biggert "thought we'd made some pretty good strides in Congress, but you see the dollars sliding for R&D," she said. "If we're going to maintain our position in the global economy," the United States must have a competitive R&D policy. —House Science Energy Subcommittee Chairwoman Judy Biggert Lawmakers Lament Lack Of Funding For Science Agency

It's not exactly the dawn of the Nanotechology Age, but given how stingy venture capitalists have been regarding investing in nanotech, it passes for good news: A handful of the earliest nanotech start-ups appears to be bearing fruit -- and VCs are lining up to get in on the action.

In 2000, 50 start-ups with a claim to using nanotechnology in their businesses raised $654 million, according to researcher VentureOne. Similarly, 2001 was another banner year for funding nanotech, with 58 start-ups netting $571 million. Like many of the dot-coms of those years, several of those companies raising money were simply very big ideas that showed promise in research labs.

But tech's lean times caused nanotech financing to slow. Last year, 41 companies raised $373 million, fairly even with the previous two years.

However, in the first quarter of this year, VentureOne says, 12 companies raised $155 million, nearly as much as was raised in the previous three quarters combined. —Kevin Kelleher Nanotech Investors Play the Later Rounds

Like Internet technology stocks and biotech, (nanotech) growth will be characterized by fits and starts. It's been said that new technologies are almost always overestimated in the short-run, but underestimated over the long-run. And therein lies the opportunity for nanotechnology investors. Today's investors are paying the lowest valuations for nanotech-related securities since we started this publication in 2002. The valuations are relatively low, yet the pace of new nanotech development is chugging along at breakneck speed. —Josh Wolfe Top Nanotech Buys For 2005

From Our Molecular Future: How Nanotechnology, Robotics, Genetics, and Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Our World, by Douglas Mulhall:

  • What happens to the monetary system when everyone is able to satisfy his own basic material needs at very low cost?
  • How would we use cash when digital manufacturing makes it impossible to differentiate a counterfeit bill or coin from the real thing?
  • What happens to fiscal policy when digital information, moving at light speed, is the major commodity?
  • How fast will monetary cycles move compared to, say, the ten- or twenty-year cycles of the late twentieth century, when products and patents go out of date in a matter of months instead of years?
  • What happens when we don't have to worry about trade or social services for our basic needs, because most of what we need is provided locally with digital manufacturing, and the biggest trade is in information?
  • How do we control the excesses of the ultrarich, the overabundance of the molecular assembler economy, and the challenge to intellectual property laws created by intelligent, inventive machines?
  • What happens if half of all jobs are made redundant every decade?
  • What happens to the War on Drugs when there's no import, export, or transport of contraband because drugs can be manufactured in a desktop machine using pirated software downloaded from the Internet?
  • What happens to democratic controls when individuals can get as rich as small governments in a year or so?
  • What's the relevance of insurance if many things are replaceable at very low capital cost, but liabilities from software are potentially unlimited?
  • How should organized labor react when molecular assemblers and intelligent robots eliminate most manufacturing jobs?
  • What is the nature of work going to be?
  • What happens to land prices when an individual can build a tropical farm under a bubble in North Dakota, and get there from New York in an hour?
  • What happens when everyone can go everywhere, whenever they want, and work from wherever they want?

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Useful Links

The National Nanotechnology Initiative at Five Years: Assessment and Recommendations of the National Nanotechnology Advisory Panel. (PDF)

Is 2005 the year the Nanotech Revolution hits Wall Street?

information on private equity investing in Nanotechnology.

The Investor's Guide to Nanotechnology and Micromachines. Glenn Fishbine.

Nanotechnology Investing: 2005

Research Applications and Markets in Nanotechnology in the UK 2005

Nanoscale Technology Related Venture Capital (VC) Firms, Incubators, Angels, Consulting Companies, and Recruitment and Placement Companies.

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Issue #25 will cover Nanotechnology Patents. It will land in your mailbox July 5th, 2005.

Infamous Quotes:

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." Western Union internal memo, 1876
"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Physicist and mathematician Lord Kelvin, President of the British Royal Society, 1895
"Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles H. Duell, Director of U.S. Patent Office, 1899
"There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom." - Robert Milikan, Nobel Laureate in Physics, 1923
"Theoretically, television may be feasible, but I consider it an impossibility-a development which we should waste little time dreaming about." - Lee de Forest, inventor of the cathode ray tube, 1926
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." IBM's Thomas Watson, 1943
"Landing and moving around on the moon offer so many serious problems for human beings that it may take science another 200 years to lick them." - Science Digest, August 1948
"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." Popular Mechanics, 1949
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." Ken Olsen, Digital Equipment Corp, 1977

And the lesson is? It's a tough game to call.

Need advice? Check out NanoStrategies

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