Recent blog posts

Sustainable Innovation For Food Security

Posted by on in Health

By 2050, the global population is expected to reach 9.7 billion! As a result, world food production will need to rise by 70%, and food production in the developing world will need to double, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN! Barring large-scale migration to the other planets, we will simply need more food. Add the energy, water and climate change challenges and you know we are in trouble. Luckily, there are efforts underway to implement innovative, sustainable solutions addressing food security. Approaches include changes in distribution and intelligent packaging to minimize waste, use of smart agriculture techniques to impact crop durability and yield, adopting environmentally friendly pest control and disease treatment, diversifying food sources and strengthening aquaculture. These are expected to have broad impact across the food groups, namely, fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and proteins.

MEMS are Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems and they are an enabling technology for so many of the devices we interact with everyday. While their near ubiquity may come as a surprise to some, their economic impact should not be understated. MEMS and the components or products they empower fuel markets in the tens of billions of dollars per year. Recently, Knowles Corporation announced that they’ve shipped eight billion MEMS microphones globally. Think about that for a minute – That’s more microphones than people living today. And that’s just one MEMS supplier and one of the myriad applications of MEMS…

How does Pangaea add value?

Posted by on in Video

A lot of investors talk about "smart money" and "value add". Pangaea Ventures won't even invest unless we have a whole arsenal of tools or advantages we can bring to maximize the success of the start-up company. In this video, we hear from the CEOs and CTOs of Envia Systems, NewLeaf Symbiotics, Redlen Technologies, Semprus BioSciences, Switch Materials, Tivra Corporation, and Vestaron Corporation on the work Pangaea has done to help its portfolio succeed, beyond just money.

Portfolio Spotlight: Redlen Technologies

Posted by on in Video

Redlen Technologies is a leading manufacturer of high resolution Cadmium Zinc Telluride (CZT) semiconductor radiation detectors which are enabling a new generation of high performance detection and imaging equipment including Nuclear Cardiology, CT Scanning, Baggage Scanning and Dirty Bomb Detection.

The Recipe For A High Multiple Exit

Posted by on in Video

Don’t Worry, Bee Happy

Posted by on in Health

This week, the US EPA told our portfolio company Vestaron that they could remove the bee toxicity warning from the label of its biopesticide product, Spear. We were thrilled to be able to announce this in yesterday's press release, but I thought people may be interested to know exactly what we had to do to prove that Spear was non-toxic to bees.

Renowned futurist Ray Kurzweil has made some eye-popping predictions about the future of human longevity. For example, by 2030 he predicts average lifespans will grow by one annum per annum. This progress will accelerate rapidly and not too long after, the average person can expect to live for 1,000 years. Now, if having a swarm of nanobots floating around your body repairing cells and damaged DNA seems a little far fetched, it may be comforting to learn that in the meantime, biomaterials innovators have some tricks up their sleeve to help our aging population better heal from disease, trauma, and wear-and-tear. Advanced materials have long played a role in western medicine with ubiquitous products such as cardiac stents, artificial joints, hemodialysis membranes, and artificial heart valves. But biomaterials innovation is accelerating just as pharmaceutical innovation struggles in the context of high technical risk, long timelines, and pushback on ever-increasing treatment costs. As healthcare budgets are increasingly constrained, will these biomaterial innovations turn us all into the Six Million Dollar Man (as seen on the television show about a former astronaut filled with implants, which aired four decades ago) or are they a potential savior to a healthcare system under strain? Let’s take a look at where biomaterials have a big role to play:

The Threes C's of CO2

Posted by on in Sustainability

As we enter into yet another global summit on climate change, this time in Paris over the next month, I am expecting the pattern of previous summits to continue. Backroom deals, posturing, pointing figures, smiling photo ops, speeches, and all of the other things politicians do well. But my faith in this summit actually driving any meaningful reductions five to ten years out is very low, in the context of a world with falling energy prices and national balance sheets requiring growth at all costs. I fall in the camp that believes market driven technology is needed if the climate change problem is to ever be solved. Unfortunately, CO2, a key greenhouse gas (GHG), is a highly stable molecule. Both capturing and converting it to a product of value is typically an uphill battle with highly prohibitive costs. But living plants have evolved over billions of years to become highly efficient users of this gas, so what's stopping us from figuring out how to do the same? Let's see what a few smart people around the world are working on every day:

NASA in Your Pocket

Posted by on in Electronics

For half a century, Moore's Law has charted semiconductor development with incredible accuracy. In 1965, Gordon Moore quantified the scaling principle for semiconductors by predicting that the number of transistors that can be etched on a computer chip would double every one year. He revised it to every two years in 1975. His initial belief was that this would hold for a decade. But five decades later, Moore's Law has held up surprisingly well. However, there is now a belief among many semiconductor engineers and scientists that we will hit a miniaturization wall unless there are major breakthroughs in advanced materials innovation.

Materials for the Masses, part 2

Posted by on in Advanced Materials

In part 1 of this blog, I used water and food as a starting place for how advanced materials are making our world better by improving quality of life in the developing world. I covered topics such as desalination, air conditioning, turning natural gas into food, and even eating bugs!