Pangaea Blog

Pangaea invests in early stage cleantech companies with world-class advanced materials innovation.

Recent blog posts

Space: The Final Frontier [for materials innovation]? It's a far-out idea but the notion of manufacturing materials in a microgravity environment is quite intriguing. Without all that pesky force we call gravity holding us back, we can explore lots of unusual phenomena perhaps impossible to replicate on the surface of our blue gravity-producing planet.

A little over a year ago I wrote a blog post about the advantages of including women in your team. If you're interested in reading about how your team WILL BE smarter, I encourage you to check it out here: Women: A Start-up’s Secret Weapon.

An opinion piece I read in a national newspaper this morning has prompted me to pen a quick follow up. Not to discuss how we can make our teams smarter, but how we can encourage more women to engage with technology and take a real leadership role in engaging with 'change the world' opportunities. Tenaciousness, take-charge attitudes, and leadership skills (also sometimes known as bossiness) are all qualities men and women alike must develop if they desire to be successful entrepreneurs (I'll expand on this shortly).

“The manufacturing sector comprises establishments engaged in the mechanical, physical, or chemical transformation of materials, substances, or components into new products”.1 From the early days of simplistic tooling to the mechanization approach for textile mills in Britain followed by Henry Ford’s assembly line, manufacturing practices continue to evolve, impacting every aspect of our lives. Advanced manufacturing systems are not only needed to support job creation but also to meet the needs of a growing population. By 2040, it is estimated that there will be around 9 billion people requiring the basic necessities of life! Pangaea Ventures’ focus on advanced materials provides a unique view on emerging manufacturing technologies. We like to see advantaged features, such as, sustainability, low cost, robustness, energy efficiency and scalability.

Please complete the following statement with the most correct answer:

As ____________ as Sugar?

(a) Sweet
(b) Conductive
(c) Energy Dense
(d) All of the above

I don't know about you, but when I think of sugar (particularly at this time of year) it can be bittersweet – especially when I'm trying to zip up those skinny jeans. After a holiday season of indulgence – and a box of Valentines Day chocolates within arms reach it's hard to think of sugar as relating to anything other than confections (or correlated with gym memberships).

Silicon has served us well over the last 55 years since the first integrated circuit was invented at Texas Instruments. Today, the symphony of chemistry, physics and engineering required to orchestrate the production of 22nm node chips in the latest Intel or TSMC fabs represents the pinnacle of 21st century technology. As great as Silicon may be as the driver of today's digital world, for many applications its properties make it a terrible semiconductor choice. For example, its electron bandgap is not compatible with light emission for LEDs, while its electrical and thermal properties make it an extremely inefficient choice for power electronics. Fortunately, the periodic table has come to the rescue with a vast array of compound semiconductors waiting to fill the gap.

With Google's $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest, and Apple's recent acquisition of Israeli 3D sensor company PrimeSense, sensors are making quite the splash these days. Increasingly, sensors are being deployed all around us measuring, interpreting, and transmitting troves of actionable data. Whether it's for a smarter building where an occupancy sensor detects if anyone is in a room, a manufacturing environment where sensors ensure tight process control, or in a car where rotation sensors detect a slipping wheel, sensors impact most major industries today.

Natural gas and natural gas liquids represent advantaged feedstocks for a wide range of high value chemicals and fuels. The growing natural gas abundance coupled with low pricing has spurred companies to take a fresh look at gas to liquid conversion technologies. The timing is just right for a radical change. With a game changing approach in mind, Pangaea completed an investment in Calysta Energy, a company innovating the next generation of GTL technology based on disruptive bioconversion.

No NDAs, Please, We're VCs!

Posted by on in Venture Capital

This morning, a start-up company sent their first email to me after a warm introduction from a great former colleague of mine. I was quite positively predisposed to giving this opportunity some close attention, since I think quite highly of my buddy's judgment, and the company's technology put them well within Pangaea's advanced materials mandate.

Like a kid on Christmas, I didn't read the message, but immediately tore off the wrapping paper. The sole attachment to the email was a PDF, which I assumed to be their slide deck presentation, and I was eager to be blown away by the amazing technical and business innovation I hoped to find inside. What could it be!?!?

Electronics are complicated products. When you stop to really think about it and itemize the components of your flat screen TV, tablet, and even LED light bulb, there is much more than circuitry, wiring, and glass contained inside. There is, in fact, a significant opportunity for materials innovation as manufacturers seek to provide products that are lighter, faster, and more energy efficient. My colleague Andrew has previously blogged about LED lighting innovation in relation to increasing energy efficiency, and here I will focus on transparent conductive electrodes (TCEs), which are used in touch panels, flat displays, photovoltaics, lighting, and more.

Earlier this year I wrote about medical imaging and how advanced materials are improving CT and nuclear imaging. That is, semiconductor sensors using CZT materials are lowering x-ray and photon dosages while at the same time improving image quality. This blog expands on the health theme by providing three more examples of how advanced materials will impact human health. Biosensors can help people monitor their health and seek treatment when necessary. Nano-particles can carry and target drug treatment inside a patient’s body, and antimicrobial coatings can substantially reduce the rate of infection.