An alumnus and chemistry professor continue talks with customers, investors.
When alumnus Lev Davidson was a graduate student last spring, he took home the grand prize of the Be Your Own Boss Bowl. Months later, the company he incepted is ready to meet the market.
Davidson, partnered alongside chemistry professor Dr. Eric Borguet, created a business plan for pureNANO Technologies, a company specializing in ultra-pure carbon nanotubes. The materials can be used in a number of technologies.
Last summer, the company was accepted as a participating company in the GoodCompany Ventures Social Impact Incubator.
On Sept. 14, pureNANO won best presentation during GoodCompany’s Investor Pitch Day.
Now, Davidson and Borguet are working on navigating the young company in the business world.
“We’re still working out our relationship with the university as far as exclusive rights to the technology and we’re very close to making that happen,” Davidson said.
Although the company hasn’t sold its products yet, he said he has been meeting with prospective investors and working with a company in Florida that is testing the company’s nanotube materials in flat-panel TVs.
Davidson said the nanotechnology his company employs makes such TVs 92 percent more efficient.
Clean technology is big right now, Davidson said, but educating customers about the long-term benefits of the products is also work.
“For our business, that is an initial hurl,” Davidson said. “The product we enable will initially be more expensive than TVs out there today, ultimately they’re going to be cheaper.”
Davidson said that, according to projections, the products that his material enables could conserve enough conventional grid-provided electricity to power Temple for approximately five years, which would save approximately $100 million in energy savings.
Still, Davidson credits Fox School of Business and its Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute for leading him to his current full-time job.
Davidson and Borguet met through the school’s TechConnect program, which aims to link innovative technology ideas with practical business plans by bringing together people from different disciplines.
“A lot of what happens, these professors in the chemistry department invent these amazing technologies…and they just kind of end up as papers in journals and sitting on the shelf, and nothing happens with them,” Davidson said.
But even after Davidson and Borguet were introduced, getting the company to win the business competition wasn’t an easy feat.
Davidson said he and Borguet first entered in 2010, but did not make the list of finalists.
The two then spent the following summer reworking the business plan and focusing less on the intricacies of the technology, and more on the business strategies.
“From an investment standpoint, that’s a more compelling argument,” Davidson said. “It takes a good idea, good technology..something innovative, but for a business plan, it’s about execution.”
After participating in multiple conferences and meeting prospective investors, which Davidson said were for experiential practice, the two entered again last spring and left with $70,000 in cash, $30,000 in professional services and $10,000 in Microsoft products, in addition to $10,000 for best-written clean tech plan.
The company now also has an office space at the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute, on the fifth floor of Alter Hall.
Angelo Fichera can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.