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Bringing Nanotechnology to Market

Michael P. Mason 

Institute of Nanotechnology (IoN), 6 The Alpha Centre, Stirling FK9 4NF, United Kingdom


It is recognized that spin-outs and start-ups in micro and nanotechnology will be important in the
future economy of the EU. These early companies tend to be fragile and often lack relative support
and the opportunity to network available to ‘large’ companies, so important in the early stages of
development and that can mean the differences between success and failure.
Start-ups and spin-outs are the prime source of commercial applications of nanotechnology but
often work in isolation from each other and from the business community. They may also become
remote from sources of technology to fill knowledge gaps, and find quality advice difficult to find or
too expensive to access. As a consequence, they often have to reinvent the wheel, and struggle to
solve what may be simple problems to experienced entrepreneurs, which results in slow growth, the
likelihood of making long-term mistakes, and even ultimate failure.
The end-product of such companies is often enabling technology that can be introduced into
existing products, for example, paints. The marketing can be difficult and requires start-ups to look
at their customer’s customers, and beyond.
Even if a route to market can be found the issue of where to start a negotiation can be hard. Time to-
market can be a critical issue.
How can you identify mentors and professional advisors that understand the technology and its
unique issues and opportunities.
This paper will attempt to raise all the questions and suggest how they may be addressed.


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Presentation: invited oral at E-MRS Fall Meeting 2004, Funding Workshop, by Michael P. Mason
See On-line Journal of E-MRS Fall Meeting 2004

Submitted: 2004-04-27 16:36
Revised:   2009-06-08 12:55