Nanoco and the Business of Innovation: Michael Edelman
As interest in Nanoco continued to build among prospective customers and investors in the years following its 2001 founding, it became time to bring onboard an experienced business executive to strategically guide the company through its next stage of growth. In 2004, one of Nanoco’s investors introduced co-founder Nigel Pickett to Dr Michael Edelman. The rest (as they say) is history.
Michael, a PhD chemist by training, remembers the excitement of seeing Nanoco’s quantum dot technology for the first time. “It’s not often you see materials set with the potential to be used across a range of unrelated applications,” Michael recalls.
It started with that introduction, but the real “aha!” moment for Michael came with the signing of Nanoco’s first joint-development agreement with a prominent Japanese LED company. Michael remembers, “That was the initial proof of principle, that companies were willing to put financial skin in the game around our quantum dot technology.” That agreement kicked off Nanoco’s initial business model, positioning the company to work in close collaboration with major global OEM companies to integrate cadmium-free quantum dots (CFQD® quantum dots) into their products and processes. Since then, Nanoco’s partnerships (including leading companies like Osram and Tokyo Electron) have totalled more than $25 million in funding.
Since joining Nanoco, Michael has led the company’s growth from a two-person startup to a publicly-traded organization with 120 employees in locations across the world.
But even with this impressive growth, Michael believes Nanoco’s greatest opportunities still lie ahead. “Commercialization of our CFQD® quantum dots into displays is an important next step and we’ve got a great partnership with Dow Chemical to get our materials into TVs in the very near future,” says Michael.
Lighting is also an important market for the company. Nanoco’s Lighting Division, launched in July 2015, is already showing strong progress. CFQD® quantum dots have a range of benefits in lighting applications ranging from agricultural to retail to general architectural — helping to overcome the traditional color performance challenges of LED lighting. As Michael, puts it (with a chuckle for the pun), “The future is bright.”
Another bright spot in Nanoco’s future is around the use of CFQD® quantum dots in bio-imaging. This includes in-vivo applications that could serve as diagnostic tests for early stages of cancer. Solar is another potential application where Nanoco is developing printable CIGS nanoparticles that will enable highly efficient and low cost of production next-generation solar cells.
By continuing to push the envelope both through innovative technologies and a visionary business strategy, Nanoco is growing up. But as Michael points out, “The neat thing is the vision that we saw back in 2004—the opportunity to transform Nanoco’s platform technology into a multi-billion dollar business—not only remains but is stronger than ever.”