The challenges we face regarding climate change, rising energy demand and the huge inefficiencies in the way we currently generate, transmit and use energy, are not going to be resolved simply by changing our lifestyles or trying to re-balance our existing energy sources.
They are going to be solved with major scientific breakthroughs – new technologies and science on a level with the invention of the combustion engine, the silicon chip or the internet. And we think these breakthroughs will happen in the field of nanotechnology.
But we don’t have the luxury of hoping that these discoveries will come along at their own pace some time in the future. We need them now. And right now, somewhere in a lab, somewhere in the world, there is a person working on something that the world desperately needs, something that can help us address our energy challenges. Our job is to hunt out these people and work with them to make sure that their research develops into viable, industrial solutions.
In this way we will make possible the kinds of scientific breakthroughs that will revolutionize the way we generate, transmit and use energy.
In 2000 Justin Hall-Tipping, a successful venture capitalist with a global bank, realized that a field he had been tracking for some time – nanotechnology – was at the tipping point of becoming a major technological force, and decided that here was an opportunity to create something new and exciting.
Justin realized the potential of nanotechnology was seemingly limitless, and that one area in particular where nanotechnology could be applied with huge impact was energy. Justin had seen the satellite pictures of the B15 Iceberg, the largest iceberg in the world, as it broke away from the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica, and was inspired to turn his entrepreneurial and investment experience to addressing energy efficiency and climate change. NanoHoldings, a company specifically focused on hunting out nanotechnology breakthroughs in the fields of energy generation, transmission, storage and use, was founded.
Since then NanoHoldings has created a number of companies: from producing safe drinking water for all, to making concrete with zero carbon dioxide emissions and developing energy efficient, flexible electronic displays. These companies are already making tomorrow’s headlines.
NanoHoldings has also established relationships with universities worldwide, including Yale University, the University of Florida, Gainesville, The Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Cambridge, England, Rice University, Wake Forest University, the University of Texas, Dallas, University of Central Florida and the National University of Singapore; and has received investment from partners like Morgan Stanley, Schlumberger, McLendon Ventures, Royal DSM and Anchor.
Two things make our work at NanoHoldings different…We focus exclusively on nanotechnology-based energy and water solutions and we work at the very cutting-edge of nano-research.
NanoHoldings works with the very best scientists, at the best universities, seeking out the ideas and research that could change the way we generate and use energy and water.
Working directly with the scientists we develop, license and commercialise those breakthroughs to create commercially viable products and solutions.
Focusing on these areas of research allows us to build up strong working relationships with the universities and scientists, and to stay abreast of the latest thinking and developments. And by working in the universities themselves, right at the coal-face of nano-research, we can spot and pick up the discoveries that otherwise might flounder and disappear without leaving the lab, simply from lack of support.
Our aim is to hunt out the scientific breakthroughs of tomorrow, to make possible the next steam engine, the next silicon chip, and to revolutionize our energy and water industries.
We believe that nanotechnology provides our best hope for a better future.
Nanotechnology is science at the smallest scale, and allows us to manipulate the fundamental building blocks of all matter – atoms. By designing and tweaking materials at this level scientists can create super materials with incredible new chemical, electrical and physical properties – properties never before thought possible.
Nanotechnology is already being used to produce stain-resistant fabrics, odour-eating socks even fire-resistant paints, but its real potential is for energy and water.
By re-engineering the way we generate, store, transmit and use energy at the nano-scale, we will be able to create energy technologies that are far cleaner, more efficient and therefore cheaper, than any of the fossil fuel or alternative energy technologies around today.
By eliminating viruses, bacteria, heavy metals and pesticides from ground water with innovative “nano-magnets”, we will be able to put a stop to the sickness and suffering experienced by many in the developing world.
And now is the time to invest. Nanotechnology is a relatively new science – the first major breakthroughs took place in the mid 1980’s and since then work has focused on developing the tools and equipment needed to work at the nano-scale. Industrial applications are now starting to multiply and the industry is set to expand rapidly over the next few years. Nano-energy in particular has received little attention to-date but is increasingly talked about as the most significant area for development. We believe that over the next 4-5 years, the sort of comprehensive nano-energy portfolio we are developing will prove to be exceptionally valuable.
To discover and support the breakthroughs that will change our energy and water industries, we need to be at the very forefront of research, working in the labs where the scientific breakthroughs are being made, along-side the scientists responsible. We need to get in early – before proof of commercial viability – to help fill the funding gap in research that sees many breakthroughs never realizing their industrial potential.
Our unique relationship with the global scientific community makes this possible. They are our biggest asset, with the expertise, resources and incentive to convert nano ideas into scientific breakthroughs and solutions. We set up collaborative partnerships with them and their universities, providing support and finance to both in exchange for exclusive licenses to their discoveries.
And we work with the scientists on their home ground, within the university infrastructure, utilising the unique, cutting-edge resources available there – University of Florida, University of Texas and the University of Cambridge are home to just a few of our portfolio companies.
It’s this partnership approach that makes us different, the ‘first on the scene’, with majority stakes in the most exciting companies. It also means that we can work closely with the scientists to track developments in their work, focusing on the most encouraging ideas and working out when to change tack or stop investing.
It’s this approach that will put us and our scientists behind the next big industry breakthroughs.