The field of nanotechnology is relatively new and many customers do not have any ideas of the applications of nanotechnology. The project ProNano offers help to researchers with nanotechnological innovations, on the route to commercialization. Francisco de Aristegui gives his view on the initiative
A consortium connected to the project ProNano coaches researchers to reach the market with their innovations, by technology licensing or by creating new spin out companies. Francisco de Aristegui from Zabala Innovation Consulting SA has been the coordinator of the ProNano project for more than a year. “Having in mind the lack of visibility of the nanotech business opportunities, I think the biggest achievement so far is that we have been able of identifying 30 promising nanotech projects. It’s not that easy at all. You can’t just find 30 nanotech business opportunities with real market potential, coming from several European countries, by launching a mass mailing or mass advertising campaign. We had to approach technology transfer offices of research institutes and universities in different countries. For example the UK and Germany have well-developed offices. It has been hard work to achieve this,” he said.
Researchers from the life science company Cellendes, who received coaching until they had secured their financing, were happy with this kind of consultancy. They need advice about how to use their limited funding to market their products to scientists. “We have a limited budget, so we must distribute our limited resources among the 30 selected projects for coaching. To fulfill our commitment with the Commission we will end when we either have closed the deal with an investor or closed the deal with a potential licensing. But if there is a market for further coaching we have to discuss this on a case by case and commercial basis after ProNano ends” de Aristegui said.
With the experience he has gained from coordinating the project he can now see that at least one thing could have been done differently. “Probably I would have planned more time than 24 months. It took us almost a year to raise awareness, gain trust from organizations, identify potential results and finally select these 30 projects. On the other side I’m happy with the expertise we have in the consortium containing people from different countries with different market expertise. They have real added value to offer the researchers,” de Aristegui said.
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