Our representatives from the companies
The NIBS conference (nanotechnology and innovation in the Baltic Sea area) from 4-6 August offered three days of exchange between researchers and industry representatives within topics with relevance to nanotechnology. Subsequently a Motivation Day, an Innovation Day and a Young Researchers Day have been organized. The CheckNano project contributed with talks and a business development session at the Innovation Day. The talks were namely given by Jacek Fiutowski that presented CheckNano and the way to a prototype for rapid detection of nanoparticles. Ayoub Laghrissi presented a poster on the development of separating different size nanoparticles in traps in a template assisted self-assembly process, making it possible to detect nanoparticles with simple spectroscopic solutions.

A highlight started later in the afternoon when four inventors presented their companies and discussed the way to business with the audience, guided by the chair Horst-Günter Rubahn. The 51 participants could see the enthusiasm with which the companies presented themselves and highlighted their niche in the market.

Jeanette Hvam presented AmiNIC with their freshness and expiration date sensor for meat and fish based on the cadaverine molecule’s detection. A handheld sensor detects the freshness and other parameters of the samples that are investigated. Jeanette emphasized the potential of the sensor to reduce food waste since the sensor detects when meat or fish is still eatable – where present methods would have suggested to throw away the food.

Maksym Plakhotnyuk introduced an atomic layer nano printing solution with his company Atlant 3D that will even be tested in space via a cooperation with NASA. He claims that their solution will significantly speed up microelectronics fabrication.

Emil Højlund-Nielsen told us the story of CPHnano, a company that is specialized on upgrading  spectrophotometers, for example via specifically designed  NanoCuvettes, based on photonic crystals. Those enable them to measure accurate concentrations of proteins in samples and via a new development also sizes of nanoparticles.

In a final example, Tomas Tamulevičius introduced the concept of two spin-offs of Kaunas University of Technology, namely ‘Holtida’ and ‘Nanoversa’. Nanoversa produces self-assembled metasurfaces for functional nanophotonics, and Holtida develops and markets advanced security labels.

Lessons learned

Emil and Maksym emphasized that it is necessary for being successful to engage 100% in and for your new startup; they also mentioned that the second year in the life of a start up is the most critical one since the initial financing is used. When everyone asks for a product and you need to build a more advanced prototype, that can be costly and the funding is much more difficult as compared to the initial phase.

AmiNIK had fewer problems getting the funding for the prototypes, but then it was hard because there is still no positive turnover. In Jeanette’s opinion, it is, however, also rewarding to see the research applied and valued by actual customers.

Asked for the support that German universities give to their startups, Franz Faupel and Martina Gerken admitted that Denmark is more entrepreneurial friendly but that the University in Kiel has improved their efforts to support startups. That varies among German universities, and they have only insights into the CAU in Kiel.

In Lithuania, spin-offs are valued in the funding of universities; there is some press to have a look at the commercialization potential in projects.

Overall, the business development forum showed that it is worthwhile and well possible to generate start ups and commercialisation from clever nanotechnological ideas – however, the road to success is not easy and requires 100% dedication. The participants of the forum are open to answer further questions and to give good advice if needed.