Wednesday, October 03, 2001

The Great Big World of the Next Smallest Thing

October 3rd was one of the last warmer days this Fall-or so the weatherpeople promised-and it was the first of the Small Talks panel series that I produced with Mark Modzelewski's NanoBusiness Alliance on the scintillating topic of Nanotechnology. I know-try and contain yourself! Topics like this are not to be trifled with for the promise of infinitesimally small amounts of excitement. Our star lineup of speakers were Ardesta founder and CEO Richard Snyder; Nanocs founder and CEO Eric Sun; New York University director of the Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, Department of Chemistry, Stephen R. Wilson; JP Morgan Partners' Jason Friedman and Lux Capital managing partner Josh Wolfe. The compelling group of panelists were moderated by the very knowledgeable Small Times VP and managing editor Steve Crosby. The evening kicked off with a report read by Nathan Tinker on survey results done in the nano space.

The panelists conversation drew a wide variety of issues to the forefront of this vastly new area of technological development. Among the main points were that nanotechnology is not to be confused with microtechnology. As usual everyone is looking for the next killer app (perhaps it's so small it can't be seen?) The long-term future for companies utilizing nanotechnology is very bright but investments in this area need to have the long-view in sight of at least ten years. Another overriding comment that carried through into the networking afterwards was that the nanotechnology industry is in desperate need of these sorts of panels and events. The academia, business and investment communities haven't been talking with each other too successfully. You can be sure we're planning on meeting that need too!

After the panel broke the networking resumed and the significant crowd that attended passed business cards, enjoyed hearty sandwiches and wine and commented on the good turnout for the event. (By the way, did you all enjoy the cold cuts? We went through a great deal of trouble to import them from a gourmet boucherie.) Sponsored by Ardesta and Small Times the event, held at TechSpace's 11th Street space, was a big success in the first of the Small Talks series. Future panels on Nanotechnology are being planned for Chicago, Philadelphia, Houston and the Silicon Valley for later this year. The NanoBusiness Alliance has a strong team-Mark Modzelewski, Nathan Tinker, Josh Wolfe-and an impressive Advisory Board to boot: Steve Jurvetson leads the array. As the techie crowd mingled a buzz was being created by one firm in particular that showed a lot of promise and potential for investment opportunities. Care to know which firm it is? Email me for the answer!