“There’s plenty of room at the bottom” — making way for nanotechnology with Nanojet
“There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom” by Richard Feynman
Nobel laureate Richard Feynman’s pioneering lecture on nanotechnology had a visionary title back in 1959. But little did he know how far-sighted his ideas would be sixty years later. Nowadays a plethora of bleeding-edge technologies share nanotechnology as their common denominator: targeted drug delivery, printable solar cells, ultra-thin and extremely durable materials and the future of scientific microscopy, to name a few examples.
Realizing the full potential of these technologies is, however, preceded by a fundamental prerequisite — we must be able to see the three dimensions of the nanoscopic nature. Existing imaging technologies already meet some of the requirements to achieve this but a handful of problems hinders their use in nanoimaging.
The state-of-the-art technologies, such as atomic force and scanning electron microscopy, have major limitations in their ability to show things in 3D and may alter samples making them poorly suitable for many applications in e.g. pharma and scientific research. Traditional optical microscopes, being much cheaper, easier to use, and not harming the sample, could be the way to go but struggle to achieve sufficient resolution.
What is Nanojet?
Nanojet is a Finnish startup enhancing microscopy with several innovations: a purely optical 3D microscope capable of nano-scale resolution, a 2D-3D Magic tool that turns ordinary 2D optical microscopes into 3D while helping in their calibration, and 3D nano-scale calibration tools.
In 3D nano-scale imaging, optical methods have long been waited to fix problems related to sample-harming and field of vision. As an optical device, the 3D super-resolution “nanoscope” truly is revolutionary in the field of subwavelength diffraction optics while more than doubling the resolution compared to conventional light microscopes.
In turn, the 2D-3D Magic enables conventional light microscopes at the lab to see the nature in 3D. Additionally, Nanojet’s 3D nano-scale calibration tools make sure that measurements are comparable across different labs — which have raised great interest among accreditation officials worldwide.
The transition from a top-tier research group to a fully-functioning startup company is not the easiest nor fastest of processes to pull off. During the last couple of years, we’ve been tracking the team’s transition as they have shown great progress in team-building and developed several fully functioning products. For this year, their main goal is to probe the first target markets such as pharma and land the first major pilot customers from which to expand to other industries later on.
What made us invest?
Our journey with Nanojet begun already years ago when we first met Nanojet’s current CEO Kristian Ahlers, heading Lääkärihinta.fi at that time. As an analytically-minded M. Sc. Econ. & soon M.D., ex-consultant and exited founder, we embarked on a symbiotic sparring relationship with him on the health and MedTech scene’s development. After chatting with the head of Electronics Lab at Univ. Helsinki professor Edward Haeggström, a seasoned serial founder himself too, we discovered Nanojet who were looking for a CEO to turn the research project into a company. We brought Kristian in, and soon he joined the company to take the lead.
As a spin-out from the University of Helsinki and Åbo Akademi, Nanojet’s innovations are based on tens of years of world-leading basic and applied research that has given them a clear scientific and technical edge over potential competitors, both patent- and product-wise. Add up a growing multi-billion dollar market and a team combining top tier science and product development professionalism with extensive experience in commercializing and scaling up research-based ventures — we felt almost obliged to make the investment. The round was led by Lifeline Ventures who also have an impressive track record in scaling up science-based ventures.
The role of nanotechnology will indisputably be crucial in solving some of the greatest problems our civilization is facing ranging from curing chronic diseases and producing energy sustainably to unlocking the potential of producing sci-fi-level materials. Hence we feel that joining forces with Nanojet to boost the breakthroughs of nanotechnology echoes beautifully with our investment ethos.
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