An extensive article in the UK-based Investors Chronicle ("The Next Big Thing Will Be Very, Very Small", by Bill Bows, 1 March 2002) offers some pretty fantastic numbers for the potential nanotech market:
The market for products and processes supported by nanotechnology is estimated to be worth between $20bn and $50bn. Technology-focused investment bank Evolution Capital believes this could grow to $150bn by 2005 and to more than $1trillion by 2010. Mark Welland, professor of nanotechnology at Cambridge University, proclaims: "In the past 30 years the computer chip has revolutionised the way we communicate. Over the next 30 years we will see a revolution of an even greater dimension through nanotechnology."
The article goes on to state:
By bringing the manufacturing process down to the nanoscale, huge advances are possible in creating products that are more versatile, more energy- efficient and more powerful than those currently available. Nanotechnology promises to transform a wide range of scientific fields from precision and electromechanical engineering and mainstream biological and chemical sciences, to medical research.
The remainder of the article takes a look at the venture investment environment in the UK and compares it to developments in the U.S., and concludes with some sound advice:
However revolutionary the advent of nanotechnology appears, hype, from any source, should be avoided, says [a UK venture capitalist]. "We need to deal in reality not hype," he says. "If you want to create sustainable shareholder value you have to be able to deliver something that is going to perform and grow going forward."