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NOT nanotechnology investment advice

Regular readers of Nanodot know that we never give nanotechnology investment advice. We are not experts at nanotech investing and our own personal portfolios are dismal. That said, here’s some news from Nanotero (pdf):

Nantero Announces Routine Use of Nanotubes in Production CMOS Fabs
Carbon Nanotube Electronics Era Has Begun

Woburn, MA. November 1, 2006; Nantero, Inc., a nanotechnology company using carbon nanotubes for the development of next-generation semiconductor devices, has resolved all of the major obstacles that had been preventing carbon nanotubes from being used in mass production in semiconductor fabs. Nanotubes are widely acknowledged to hold great promise for the future of semiconductors, but most experts had predicted it would take a decade or two before they would become a viable material. This was due to several historic obstacles that prevented their use, including a previous inability to position them reliably across entire silicon wafers and contamination previously mixed with the nanotubes that made the nanotube material incompatible with semiconductor fabs.

Nantero has developed a method for positioning carbon nanotubes reliably on a large scale by treating them as a fabric which can be deposited using methods such as spincoating, and then patterned using lithography and etching, all common CMOS processes present in every semiconductor fab. Nantero has been issued patents on all the steps in the process, as well as on the article of the carbon nanotube fabric itself, US Patent No. 6,706,402, “Nanotube Films and Articles,” by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The patent relates to the article of a carbon nanotube film comprised of a conductive fabric of carbon nanotubes deposited on a surface.

Nantero has also developed a method for purifying carbon nanotubes to the standards required for use in a production semiconductor fab, which means consistently containing less than 25 parts per billion of any metal contamination.

With these innovations, Nantero has become the first company in the world to introduce and use carbon nanotubes in mass production semiconductor fabs.

See the video linked from the botton of their homepage.

Normally it is not possible for the public to get in on investments like Nantero, which is funded by venture capital such as Draper Fisher Jurvetson, which has a strong nanotech team. But also on their investor list is Harris & Harris, which is publicly traded. I don’t know how much of Nanotero is owned by Harris & Harris, but presumably it’s something. So if you buy Harris & Harris, you presumably get a tiny, tiny piece of Nanotero…I think.

However, it’s best to get your nanotech investment advice from someone who does well in technology investing, not from us here at Nanodot. Someone like, say, Steve Jurvetson. Oh wait, he did invest in Nanotero…

Sometimes we discuss “public participation” in nanotechnology here on Nanodot, which normally refers to talking about the technology. Investing is an alternative mode for participation. If the SEC weren’t so (overly) worried about widows and orphans getting ripped off by startups, the rest of us could invest in nanotech too, not just the VCs. Sigh.

Say, Nantero, how about donating a little pre-IPO stock to a worthy cause…such as Foresight? —Christine

3 Responses to “NOT nanotechnology investment advice”

  1. Adam Says:

    This certainly sounds like a promising investment. It should be noted, however, that while there are SEC rules that allow certain “accredited” ($1M+ Net worth or $200K+ Yearly income) investors access to these pre IPO firms, that most entrepreneurs and owners will shy away from any investment other than their angel or VC rounds. The reason for this lies in the fact that for every round the company participates in, the entrepreneur’s ownership is diluted, decreasing the potential windfall that would come from an exit.

    Christine is right in that the rest of us can’t really get into nanotech until firms start going public. Most companies, however, are going to court just enough cash from VC’s and angels to cover their burn and their growth until exit, leaving us out of the equation altogether. So while SEC laws certainly hinder our investment, the SEC isn’t wholly responsible for the situation.

    By the way Christine, if foresight has assets greater than $3 Million, foresight is eligible for investment according to the SEC under the accredited investor exemption.

    Nanotech is exciting, but we should also remember the risks associated with pre IPO’s and startup stage businesses. Refer to Nature’s article “Drilling for Nanotech Gold,” here: http://www.nature.com/materials/nanozone/news/061102/journal/444016a.html (subscription is free). For every company that has orders too numerous to fill there are many others who may not make it at all. I’m comfortable leaving that risk to just the VC’s, but that’s me.

    Adam

  2. Gregg Early Says:

    Christine,

    Interested investors can also check out my Web site where Cientifica President Tim Harper and I hack through the investment industry hype to help nanotech investors make money for themselves, not stock promoters or charlatans.

    Best,
    G
    http://www.realnanotechinvestor.com

  3. Says:

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