ABC News item cautions nanotech investors to take the long view

An article on the ABC website ("Nanotech: Will Small Stuff Become Big Business?", by Peter Dizikes, 26 June 2002) touts the potential of small-scale technologies, but then goes on to explain that investors are having a hard time figuring out how to make prudent investments in the broad array of research and development activity thatís lumped under ìnanotechnologyî ñ as well as developing realistic timeframes for a return:

Intriguing as it sounds, nanotechnology presents a conundrum to venture capital firms and other private-sector investors, for a couple of reasons. For starters, backing the right company, hard by any standards, is extremely tough in the nano field where companies are pursing a bewildering array of concepts.
The article also notes:
[E]ven boosters of the field acknowledge, many of the best-known and potentially useful nanotechnology applications ó ultra-fast computer chips, drugs targeted at cancerous cells ó may be a decade or more away from becoming commercial products. That means the hit-and-run style of investing favored by so many U.S. venture capital firms simply isn't suited to nanotechnology.
"A venture fund looking for an exit strategy in three to four years isn't going to get it from this area," says [Mark Modzelewski, head of the NanoBusiness Alliance]. Indeed, he thinks venture firms that tried to get rich quickly during the Internet boom are being too skeptical now. "Most of the biggest naysayers are the people who were shoveling their money into," says Modzelewski. "But it's going to be so much bigger than the Internet revolution."

Gina Miller also notes"The article describes the growth of nanotechnology firms, what nanotechnology is and how these developments could be applied to our daily lives. The article goes on to discuss venture funding "To this end, venture capital firms aiming to be the biggest players in the industry ó like Lux Capital of New York and Draper Fisher Jurvetson of Redwood City, Calif. ó have hired on specialized staff to evaluate the prospects of budding nanotechnology firms.""

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