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the nanotech market




As reported by The Red Herring:

In the late '90s, it was common to see Greenpeace activists railing against an agricultural biotech company like Monsanto for producing and shipping food made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  Next year, we could see the same thing in nanotech. In agricultural biotech, profit margins that weren't destroyed by the consumer and political backlash were finished off when companies were forced to purchase liability insurance.  

"I know the signs.  This could easily be GMO all over again," says Simon Waddington, a VC who worked at Monsanto during the GMO brouhaha.”

  Estimates on industry spending now vary considerably, but all agree that investments in nanotechnology research & development are accelerating.  According to Lux Research, in 2006 nanotechnology accounted for $50 billion in spending worldwide, nearly quadrupling the investment levels of just two years prior of about $13 billion. 

The US National Science Foundation estimated nanotech to be a trillion-dollar market by 2015.  (Other analysts predict reaching that mark by 2010; Lux Research predicts a $2.6 trillion market by 2014.) To put this in context, global auto sales generated only $850 billion in annual revenue, and cars are one of the most ubiquitous products in the world.

All signs point to increased funding from all sources.  Venture capitalists have poured nearly $500 million this past year alone in nanotechnology companies.   In recent years, the US Army invested $50 million into MIT’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies,
among its other interests in the area.  On the other coast, UCLA and UC Santa Barbara opened a $53 million facility for nanotech research & development.  And the list goes on.

So while industry estimates vary, everyone agrees that a lot is at stake now and even more so in the future, since nanotechnology is expected to change literally everything.
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