Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Investing in nanotech, another interview

Following along with the investing theme from yesterday’s post, I would like to present an interview I did with Tim Harper, CEO of Cientifica

RR: Given the vast plethora of nano-this and nano-that companies, how does one go about investing in a company with real potential?

First of all understand the technology and the business model. The key point is that Nanotechnology is a multidisciplinary enabling technology, and cuts horizontally across the traditional vertical markets, and interfaces with many traditional business sectors. The technology may be hard work, but if you are investing in things you don t understand, you'll have some explaining to do later. With the "Nanotechnology Opportunity Report" we have provided a framework for investors to understand how opportunities can arise at the intersection of the horizontal technology and the vertical market axes. With publications like the X Report we widen the focus and look at the intersection between info, bio and nano technology.

Secondly, consider the impact. Think about electricity enabling street lighting, telegraph, telephone, electronics and the internet. This all stemmed from the understanding that by applying a voltage you could make an electric current flow along a conductor, and resulted in the creation of new and mainly unforeseen industries. So the massage is, watch the impact of the technology, not the technology per se. Remember that producing silicon wafers is a nice little business, but the real value add comes from their application by companies like Intel, Dell & Microsoft.

Thirdly, if you can do the above, look at the team behind the business. Nanotechnology is very technical compared to internet investments, and many of the current crop of entrepreneurs have a highly technical background. Ask yourself whether they are the right people to make the transition from the lab to the boardroom.

RR: Is there any one nanoscale technology of special interest to you or your firm?

Our key goal is in providing rational information about nanotechnology, so you could say that we are interested in every aspect of the technology. At the moment, there is no global or comprehensive overview of nanotechnology apart from the "Nanotechnology Opportunity Report" and TNT Weekly. If you want to invest in nanotechnology, you need to be up to date on a global scale; it is the only way to spot the trends and opportunities. Nanotechnology is changing on a daily basis, and unless you know what your potential competitors in Europe, China and Japan are doing right now, you might make some very costly mistakes!

Read the entire interview, here:

No comments: