Earlier in the month I popped over to Palm Springs to visit IBFs Nanotech Investing Forum.
Six years ago I gave a keynote speech at the first IBF Nanotechnology Investing Forum in which I gave my vision for the future of nanotechnology. My message was simple, “there is not, and there never will be a nanotechnology industry.” This was very bad news for all of the people who had staked their career and/or a few million dollars on profiting from the next industrial revolution and there was quite a debate about whether that view was rational or cynical.
At this years 7th annual NIF, which had shifted a few miles east to Indian Wells to see what had changed. Over dinner the night before the conference I was told by a couple of people not to say anything bad about the state of the nanotech industry “it’s hanging by a thread right now” was one remark that was repeated a few times, and a number of people remarked that if the Nanodynmics IPO failed then it was all over.
Well it did, and it isn’t. What I did notice was that while most VCs are stampeding in the direction of clean tech, there were plenty of good looking companies applying nanotech to a wide range of industries, and making money too. Fortunately, with the less choosy VCs out of the way there is no need for ridiculous valuations or draconian term sheets these days, making the event far more pleasant than many of the early ones where people were climbing over each other to ‘own’ the nanotech revolution.
Someone once described venture capitalists to me as carnivorous sheep. When an opportunity arises they all make a lunge for it at the same time and rip it, and each other to shreds in the feeding frenzy, then its on to the next one.