A Comprehensive Guide to the Future of Nanotech

17 minute read

The future of nanotechnology. Nanotechnology has evolved quickly over the past 40 years, in 1989 IBMs Don Eigler took 22 hours to arrange the letters ‘IBM’ with atoms.

Today it would take only a matter of minutes. It sounds like sci-fi, and it's a mouthful to take in at once, but the uses of nanotechnology for the future are extraordinary. 

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Interested in investing in nanotechnology companies, or just want to know a bit more about the market? Read on.

Enjoy while Valuer.ai walks you through the leaders in nanotechnology, the future technology predictions, and the technology and startups advancing in the vast world of nanotechnology.

The world's smallest film using atoms by IBM


What is nanotechnology?

Generally speaking, it’s the manipulation of material under one micrometer. To put that into perspective, that’s 0.001 of a micrometer and around 800,000 times smaller than one strand of hair.

And when you begin working on this scale, things change dramatically. The laws of physics change, creating opportunities for scientists and engineers like never before. And as time has passed, scientists and engineers have been able to design and engineer objects down to singular atoms.

It's a vast market that covers a wide range of industries like pharmaceuticals, healthcare (especially within cancer care and eradication), cosmetics, the automotive industry, electronics, and construction.

Nanotechnology In Engineering

Every nanotechnology product is based on nanomaterials, with the most famous example being carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes are cylindrical carbon structures measuring about one-billionth of a meter and have many mechanical applications, like water filters, energy storage, sports goods, and many more.


The nanotechnolgy industry today

Dubbed as the 'fifth technology revolution', the main purpose of nanotechnology research is to create cleaner, better, cheaper, and smarter products. For now, nanotechnology hasn't hit the mainstream but it's definitely an industry to keep an eye on.

As of now, it's still heavily in R&D with major players getting involved. But there is an increasing demand for more equipment and devices that utilize nanotech. But it's held back by the cost of devices and products using this technology, and the lack of skilled professionals in the field.

But by the 2020s, we'll see it popping up on our news feed a lot more. It's around this time that we'll start seeing nanomachines used in medicine, and nano-based products becoming more widespread.

Set for growth...

The ‘Global Nanotechnology Market Outlook 2024’ has shown the projection of growth at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 17% percent between 2018-2024.

In 2017, the market size reached $7.24 billion, and if it's to follow the predicted growth rate, it'll increase to a whopping $24.56 billion by 2025.

The National Science Foundation has estimated that the U.S. will account for around 40% of the worldwide products and services made with nanotechnology.


Investors in nanotechnology 

The leaders in investment have been, for a long time, the US. But as other large economies become more innovative, there's been a growing interest ‘in the commercialization of nanotechnology’.

China and the Middle East have been investing heavily. For example, China filed more US patents in nanotechnology than the US, and in 2016 they ranked number one worldwide, holding the most scientific papers and patents of nanotechnology.

Even so, there is a multitude of investors around the world, especially in federal-state funding towards research institutes.

Investors in nanotechnology startups 


ARCH Venture Partners

arch ventures logo

Investor Type: Venture Capital
Headquarters: Chicago, USA
Investments can range between $50-150k and they have a huge network of partners. They recently invested in Metacrine, a biotech startup.


Greybird Ventures

Greybird Ventures logo

Investor Type: Venture Capital (mainly investing in diagnostic technologies)
Headquarters: Concord, USA
They recently financed Ceres Nanosciences, Inc in a Series A round.


Excelsa Ventures

Excelsa Ventures logo

Investor Type: Venture Capital
Headquarters: London, United Kingdom
Recent joint ventures include £1.5 million towards MOF Technologies.


Samsung Ventures


samsung next ventures logo


Investor Type: Venture Capital
Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea
They invest in companies that are a strategic fit for Samsung.


Rising Tide

Rising tide logoLaboratory for Nanotechnology at ETH

Investor Type: Venture Capital
Headquarters: Menlo Park, USA
Along with Telegraph Hill and 5AM Ventures, RLaboratory for Nanotechnology at ETHising Tide invested in Precision Nanosystems Series B funding round, the second investment in the biotech startup.


Telegraph Hill Partners


Telegraph hill partners logo

Investor Type: Private Equity Firm
Headquarters: San Francisco, USA
See 'Rising Tide' section.


5AM Ventures


5AM Ventures logo yellow

Investor Type: Venture Capital
Headquarters: San Fransisco, USA
See 'Rising Tide' section.


Viking Global Investors

Viking global investors logo

Investor Type: Private Equity Firm
Headquarters: Greenwich, USA
A joint venture in a seed round for the biotech startup, Checkerspot.


Ven Rock

venrock logo

 Investor Type: Venture Capital
Headquarters: Palo Alto, USA
Mentioned above, Ven Rock was one of the investors in gene-editing startup Inscripta.


Life Science Angels


Life Science Angels logo


Investor Type: Angel Group
Headquarters: San Francisco, USA
A joint investment, along with Generation Ventures, in Nanotech Biomachine's seed round.


Generation Ventures


Generation ventures logo

Investor Type: Venture Capital
Headquarters: Palo Alto, USA
See 'Life Sciences Angels' section.


Draper Fisher Jurvetson

DFJ logo

Investor Type: Venture Capital & Growth
Headquarters: Palo Alto, USA
One of the biggest global investors, and has invested in biotech company Synthetic Genomics.


Silicon Valley Nano Ventures


Silicon Valley Nano Ventures logo

Investor Type: Venture Capital, Angel Investor
Headquarters: La Honda, USA
Their market focus is mainly in North America and Asia.


Wellborn Ventures

wellborn ventures logo

Investor Type: Venture Capital, Angel Investor
Headquarters: Tel Aviv, Israel
They invested in Vi Series A funding round, a biotech startup.



masschallenge logo

Investor Type: Non-profit startup accelerator
Headquarters: Boston, USA
This accelerator located in Boston, Israel, Mexico, Switzerland, Texas and the UK, invests on high-potential startups across all industries. For instance, in 2017 they invested in the nanotech startup Nano-Textile.


Gobi Partners

gobi partners logo

Investor Type: Venture Capital
Headquarters: Shanghai, China
This firm is focused on IT and digital media investments. For instance, in 2017 they invested in the British nanotech startup WaveOptics.


Touchstone Innovations

Touchstone innovations logo

Investor Type: Venture Capital
Headquarters: Shanghai, China
This firm is investing in early-stage technology companies. For example, in 2017 they invested in the few biotech and nanotech startups.


Robert Bosch Venture Capital

bosch logo

Investor Type: Corporate Venture Capital
Headquarters: Stuttgart, Germany
They invest in startups either directly or via venture capital funds. In the last years they have been investing a lot in AI, nanotech and biotech, among other sectors.


Crosslink Capital

crosslink logo

Investor Type: Venture Capital
Headquarters: San Francisco, USA
Among their investments is Molekule, a startup which product purifies the air with nanotechnology.


Nanotechnology: Sectors expecting growth

The European Commission has labeled nanotechnology applications as one of the six 'Key Enabling Technologies' that will contribute to the growth of multiple industry sectors. It comes with promises of easing societal challenges like energy consumption and healthcare.

However, concerns over the safety of such technology are still uncertain. The opinion is divided on whether it's harmful or not as it has yet to be investigated sufficiently.

The key industries involved in the vast and highly fragmented nanotechnology sector have been listed below.

Nanotechnology in agriculture


It's still in the research phase, and the application of nanotech in the agriculture sector is yet to see products hit the market. Researchers at nanotoday have covered the topic extensively and present how the technology could provide major improvements to agriculture.

Areas of research are particularly focused on reducing chemicals sprayed on crops, reducing the loss of nutrients in fertilization, and increasing crop yields through water and fertilization management.

Nanotechnology in the automotive industry


Nanotechnology brings a truckload of innovation to the auto industry. From car shells with scratch-resistant and dirt repellent nano varnish, tires with inexpensive and stable nano steel, to solar energy on cars,  the uses for nanotechnology is non stop.

Dirt-repellent and scratch-resistant paint are already on the market, along with air filters that use nanotech to filter pollutants and allow fresh air to encircle the interior of a car.

And for corporations to maintain a competitive edge in the automotive industry, it's crucial for major players in the industry to implement this kind of technology.

Nanotechnology in cosmetics

nanotechnology skincare products Photo from Thevalueplace / CC BY 2.0


Cosmetic companies involvement with nanotechnology products is making it a rapidly advancing industry, and it's an 'early adopter of the technology which routinely uses nano-scale ingredients'.

However, tandfonline reports that it's difficult to estimate the number of products that it's used in, as it's not mandatory to include on product labels.

There are concerns over its safety, as people are unsure of the effect of carbon nanotubes on organs. Long-term exposure, according to , has caused kidney cells to die.

L'Oreal and Estee Lauder have both entered the world of nano-cosmetics, with L'Oreal investing $600 million in nano patents.

Nanotechnology in construction

Jubilee Church Rome Nanotechnology Construction "The Jubilee Church in Rome made with nano-material 'self-cleaning' concrete" Jubilee Church by Jock Pottle / CC BY 2.0


The construction industry has, and will continue to see a number of positive changes using nanotechnology, especially within energy conservation.

According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) buildings consume 'one-third of total end-use energy and cause a fifth of total greenhouse gas emissions'.

With this level of energy consumption, nanoparticles bring about more energy-efficient construction materials. Nanoparticles in construction are already on the commercial market, with nanostructured metals, carbon nanotubes, nanofibers, and more. Nano silica means stronger cement, concrete, and steel, making these materials stronger, fire-resistant and self-healing, among other traits.

Nanotechnology in energy


The industry provides the potential for improvement of energy storage and the retrieval of oil and gas. Most notably, it will play an increasing role in the 'use of solar energy through photovoltaic (an electric current produced from exposure to light) systems'.

With the nanotechnology applications in these sectors, it will cut costs and make the energy sector more efficient. This sector will also have applications in other sectors, such as construction, electricity generated from waste heat, textiles with electricity-generating garments and the expanded capacity for windmill energy storage.

Nanotechnology in electronics

history of transistors graphic

According to Moore's law, the number of transistors in an integrated circuit would double every two years, while the cost would half. It causes computing power to increase, and as of yet, the average transistor has shrunk to impossible sizes.

At one point we will achieve maximum minimalization of silicon circuits. With the technologies and physical laws discovered it will be impossible to make them smaller within silicone possibilities, that's why there is a high need for new solutions. Mono-layered graphene is a great substitute because of it's conductive properties and low cost.

Graphene is the product you’re left with after a carbon nanotube has been split, leaving a single layer of carbon atoms. A cool property of graphene is that it’s the strongest material that's ever been tested and it’s good at conducting electricity and heat.

Nanotechnology in medicine



It's the area with the greatest potential. There are constant breakthroughs in the diagnosis and treatment of major health conditions, especially the use of nanotechnology in cancer treatment, with more advanced solutions hitting the commercial market every year.

It has an application in many areas of medicine and biotech, namely drug targeting, enhancing the efficiency of drugs, diagnostic detection, biopharmaceuticals, biomolecular engineering, and many more.

The impressive growth has, in part, been attributed to the increase ‘in government and private sector funding for R&D, partnerships, and strategic alliances between countries, and an increasing demand' for smaller devices with more computing power at a lower price.


Nanotechnology patents

The two most notable sources for gathering information on patents would be the United States Patents and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO), and according to data provided by Orbit Databank, over 20,187 nanotechnology patents were released by the USPTO in 2017 alone...

Statnano provides a list of the top ten countries with granted nanotech patents, as of 2017 with information gathered from the USPTO and EPO. The data shows that the number with the highest number of patents in 2017 was filed by the United States (with over 5,500+, and 51.7% of the USPTO patents), followed by South Korea with 1200 patents.


Patents in nanotechnology


The future of nanotechnology: Within 5 years


Brain implants

With the help of implants, brains will restore lost memory with neural implants that will help to unlock the potential of the human brain.

With tests already beginning to take place, the reality of this happening within the next five years is a possibility. The startup, Kernel, has already performed tests on animals and epileptic patients, and Johnson, the founder, hopes to take the tests to a wider group.

Organ regeneration

The year 2023 is forecast to bring significant advancements in the health sector. Within the next five years, organs will supposedly regenerate at a rate previously thought impossible.

We're already able to print out organs, which is a huge step for healthcare. We're not able to print out organs completely, but nanotechnology in medicine is evolving. This science behind it is called tissue engineering.

[Related Article - Technologies That Transformed the Healthcare & Biotech Industry]


The future of nanotechnology: Within 10 years


Battery upgrade

At present, there are wireless pads that charge your phone, and that's already pretty cool. Samsung, Dell, and Apple have released phones that can charge wirelessly. But we're still striving for a world without any wires what-so-ever. One contender is doing just that.

Tech.co reports that Disney has created a technology that can charge your phone just by entering a room by 'generating magnetic fields'. There's just one problem, the prototype room is covered in aluminium. But while they're facing issues, complete wireless charging for all devices is a possibility for the future.

Disease detection

Ray Kurzweil predicted in 2016 that by 2029, the advancements in health care would mean that the life expectancy would increase by one year on an annual basis.

And by 2028, we'll be closer to that prediction with smartphones. With an inbuilt breathalyzer, our mobile phones will be capable of detecting disease through screen technology that analyses your breath.


The future of nanotechnology: Within 15 years



By 2035, humans will communicate with one another telepathically with the help of computers. It will become the next step in the evolution of human intelligence. To some, this may sound like science fiction, but researchers have already made discoveries in 'brain-to-brain communication using non-invasive technology'.


According to the world economic forum, in 2030,  investment into renewable energy will quadruple as coal becomes a thing of the past, a global price for carbon will be set, and Europe will be the center for the production of next-generation renewables.

Eradicating disease

Flash to 15 years from now. Healthcare begins to see even crazier advances beyond organ regeneration and artificial vision. Nanorobots will perform cellular repairs that could cure almost any disease, and cancer will no longer be considered a serious illness.


The future of nanotechnology: Within 20 years


Sustainable Energy

In 2038, the population will exceed 9 billion, and the sales of electric vehicles will reach over 18 million. Sustainable energy will account for at least 80% of the world's energy supply by 2050.

The only problem - the technology that will enable energy to be captured better isn’t there yet. They don’t exist naturally and have to be designed to capture the sun more efficiently.

3D Printing

3D printers will print out a lot more in 2045. It’s predicted that at this point, humans will be able to print out full and functioning organs, not just their tissue with protein-based engineering.

They'll also be able to print medicine and food, although, Bartmoss St. Clair, a nanotechnology enthusiast, states that advancements in this sector could be held back or limited due to outdated regulations.

[Related Article - Everything You Need to Know About Technology Trends in 2022]


The nanotechnology startups

The following list includes young companies that use nanotechnology and nanomaterials.

Nanotechnology in 3D printing

3D printing technology is everywhere. The only problem is it's vastly expensive, especially when it comes to printing objects on a nanoscale. There are multiple 3D printers on the market, but there aren’t many printing graphene. There’s a problem with graphene printing though. It's expected to completely ‘disrupt the semiconductor industry, but they’re stuck in R&D’.


XG Sciences


XG Sciences the material difference logo

Founded: 2006
Headquarters: East Lansing, MI, USA
Technology: Graphene 3D printing. They manufacture and sell nanomaterials. They raised funding from Samsung Ventures and Dow Venture Capital in 2016.


Log 9 Materials


log nine materials logo

Founded: 2015
Headquarters: Bengaluru, India
Technology: They specialize in Graphene, 'designing innovative applications' that will bring Graphene to the commercial market.


XJet 3D


XJET logo

Founded: 2005
Headquarters: Rehovot, Israel
Technology: 3D nanoparticle printing that hit the market in 2018. It's applicable in both metal and ceramic manufacturing.


Nano Dimensions


nano dimension logo

Founded: 2012
Headquarters: Tel Aviv, Israel
Technology: A 3D printing company disrupting the industry and changing how products are made. They are able to print hardware, making it more cost and time-efficient.


Graphma Tech


graphmatech logo

Founded: 2017
Headquarters: Västerås, Sweden
Technology: A young startup that has teamed up with Add North 3D to create a 3D printer, capable of printing circuit boards, electromagnetic shielding, and more, using graphene-based materials. It's expected to reach the market in half a year or more.




vorbeck logo

Founded: 2006
Headquarters: Jessup, Maryland, United States
Technology: They develop graphene-based products for the industrial market, like graphene-infused rubber with 'extreme strength', weather and heat resistant, with undeniable stability and conductive properties.


Nanotechnology in 3D printing organs 

Companies aren’t at the level of printing out human brains and hearts just yet, but scientists have worked tirelessly to create groundbreaking 3D bioprinting techniques with the help of nanotechnology startups. The science behind it is called tissue engineering and there are slight links to nanomaterials.

It's an incredibly relevant technology that could help save countless lives, as 20 people die per day waiting for an organ donor. With this powerful tool, scientists could begin to understand human organs and tissue unlike ever before. At this rate, scientists will be well on the way to hitting the 2045 deadline.

Aspect Biosystems


Aspect biosystems logo

Founded: 2013
Headquarters: Vancouver, Canada
Technology: A biotechnology company that is aiming for the stars. Their bioprinting technology is capable of creating human tissues on demand for therapeutic discovery and regenerative medicine.



emulate logo

Founded: 2013
Headquarters: Boston, MA, USA
Technology: the first organ-on-a-chip company that received $36 million in their Series C funding in June.




Insphero logo

Founded: 2009
Headquarters: Zurich, Switzerland
Technology: They build 3D cell models on the nanoscale, and became the no.1 startup in Switzerland. In June they received $10 million in a Series D from a single investor.



Mimetas logo

Founded: 2013
Headquarters: Leiden, the Netherlands
Technology: A company that has developed a gut, kidney and more on a chip. They received $20.5 million in a Series B investment in April.


3Dynamic Systems


3dynamic-systems logo

Founded: 2012
Headquarters: Swansea, United Kingdom
Technology: A bioprinting manufacturer looking to print skin, muscle, and bone in the future. They were the first to bring bioprinting to the market at an affordable price.


Nanotechnology in NextGen batteries

A dead battery..we've all been there. And while power banks are one solution, there are startups working on extending battery life. While it's not solely related to the sector, it still uses the technology in creating next-generation batteries by utilizing quantum dots and other nanomaterials.




StoreDot logo

Founded: 2012
Headquarters: Tel Aviv, Israel
Technology: Can fully charge a battery in one minute. Uses nanotechnology in the form of quantum dots, and amassed $20 million in funding from BP in May 2018.


Prieto Battery


Prieto battery logo

Founded: 2009
Headquarters: Fort Collins, CO, USA
Technology: Has built a new type of ion battery with nanomaterials, with their latest Series B funding in January raising $1.2 million.




Amprius logo

Founded: 2007
Headquarters: Sunnyvale, CA, USA
Technology: Creating lithium-ion batteries.


Nanotech Energy


Nanotech energy logo

Founded: 2014
Headquarters: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Technology: Unlike most battery companies, this startup is using graphene instead of lithium-ion to create super batteries, capable of charging electric cars in a matter of minutes. They raised $3.4 million this April.




Battrion grey logo

Founded: n/a
Headquarters: Lucerne, Switzerland
Technology: Develops and markets lithium-ion batteries and works closely with the Laboratory for Nanotechnology at ETH.


Energous Energy



Founded: 2012
Headquarters: San Jose, CA, USA
Technology: This technology enables you to charge your device just by entering the room, and it can charge any device from up to 15m away.


Nanotechnology in telepathic communication

In terms of leaders in the field, the most ‘newsworthy’ would be Elon Musk’s Neuralink. Founded in 2016, Neuralink, like most of Musk's ventures, aims high with futuristic tech that creates industry innovation. Don’t let the simplistic website fool you, the minds behind this project have formed a ‘super-think tank’, with all the parties involved working seamlessly together.

Neuralink has been described by some as a brain-machine interface development project. And it’s considered his biggest project yet. If Musk were to succeed with this crazy startup, it would make it possible for brains to communicate with computers using thought.

Nanotechnology in synthetic engineering

Synthetic engineering uses robotics, AI, and other sophisticated software to redesign proteins to do specific jobs. It’s attracting many VC’s, with the top synthetic biology companies raking in $1.7 billion in 2017. Needless to say, it’s an industry to keep an eye on.

If synthetic biology reaches new heights, it has the possibility of transforming industry related to physical materials, for example, the consumer goods market, industrial chemicals, and medicine.


Ginkgo Bioworks


Gingoko Bioworks logo

Founded: 2009
Headquarters: Boston, IL, USA
Technology: Ginkgo Bioworks, amassed the two largest deals last year, raising $275 million. They’re set to reach unicorn status anytime soon.




arzeda logo

Founded: 2008
Headquarters: Seattle, WA, USA
Technology: Pulled in an impressive $12 million Series A in 2017. The company designs enzymes for both manufacturing and agriculture. With a key customer being DuPont, they’re making waves.



Cyrus Biotechnology logo

Founded: 2014
Headquarters: Seattle, WA, USA
Technology: Their Series A totaled $8M and they raised over $11M in total in seed and Series A rounds. Their focus is on their commercialized protein-design software named Cyrus Bench, a user-friendly version of their existing open source software package name Rosetta.




Inscripta logo

Founded: 2015
Headquarters: Boulder, CO, USA
Technology: A biotech/pharmaceutical focusing on gene-editing. In February they received $55.5 million in their Series C round.



nano cellect blue

Founded: 2009
Headquarters: San Diego, CA, USA
Technology: A biotech company that analyzes and isolates cells, helping to improve personalized medicine.


Nanotechnology in nanomachines

Researchers from Durham and Rice University have demonstrated how their nanomachine can pierce membranes in cells. The technology could be used to drill holes into the membranes of individual cancer cells, essentially killing them.

"These nanomachines are so small, we could park 50,000 of them across the diameter of a human hair, yet they have the targeting and actuating components combined in that diminutive package to make molecular machines a reality for treating disease," - Prof James Tour.


Cambridge Cancer Genomics


cambridge color genomics logo

Founded: 2016
Headquarters: Cambridge, UK
Technology: focuses on transforming cancer patient care through liquid biopsy, Ai, and smart genomics. Using their tech, they will predict ‘the best therapeutic strategy for cancer patients before treatment.’


Nanored Biotech


nanored logo red white

Founded: 2015
Headquarters: Wisconsin, United States
Technology: uses ‘revolutionary cancer care’ which delivers precise therapy to tumors. With their technLaboratory for Nanotechnology at ETHology, they can turn drug release on and off in real-time.


Precision Nanosystems


Precision nanosystems medicines blue orange green logo

Founded: 2010
Headquarters: Vancouver, Canada
Technology: They primarily develop tools and processes in the development of nanoparticles that can be used in health care. They recently raised $6 million in Series B in June.


T3 Pharmaceuticals


T3 Pharma logo blue grey

Founded: 2015
Headquarters: Basel, Switzerland
Technology: A nanomachine startup that has created a protein delivery nanomachine designed to treat cancer patients.


Rice University


rice university owl logo

Founded: n/a
Headquarters: Houston, TX, USA
Technology: Researchers at Rice University are creating small molecules that are capable of delivering medicine. These molecules are turned into mechanical machines but on the nanoscale. They are capable of drilling through cell membranes, bringing lots of possibilities to cancer treatment.


Nanotechnology in alternative energy

We are running out of fossil fuels, and that's a scary prospect. Research suggests the biofuels market will reach $246 billion by 2024. That's a tiny amount in comparison to the $1,720 billion oil market.

But research into alternative forms of energy is taking place around the world, and biofuels are set to grow after wind energy, opening lots of doors for new startups and larger corporates. Although it should be noted that different segments of the renewable energy sector are at various stages of development.


Synthetic Genomics


Synthetic Genomics logo

Founded: 2005
Headquarters: San Diego, CA
Technology: Received $40 million in funding. They use algae to yield biofuels, and they can get 5 times as much from algae than from sugar cane or corn.


Pond Technologies


Pond Technologies Logo

Founded: 2008
Headquarters: Toronto, Canada
Technology: Uses industrial greenhouse gases to grow algae and other biomass using bioreactors. They completed a funding round of $8.7M in early 2018.




sylvatex logo

Founded: 2007
Headquarters: San Fransisco, CA, USA
Technology: A nano-chemistry platform that aims to increase the use of renewables. They recently completed an $8.7 million equity financing.


NanoCAGE with the University of Bristol


university of bristol logo

Founded: n/a
Headquarters: Bristol, UK
Technology: A more efficient way to store hydrogen, using nano-composites.


University of Texas at Dallas


University of Texas at Dallas logo

Founded: n/a
Headquarters: Dallas, TX, USA
Technology: Last but not least, electricity-generating yarn. It’s made with carbon nanotubes that have been twisted together. Developed by the University of Texas, the yarn generates energy when stretched, and can bring tides of innovation to wave energy production. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many startups as the technology is still far away from being commercialized.


PyroGenesis Canada


pyrogenesis logo

Founded: 2006
Headquarters: Quebec, Canada
Technology: PyroGenesis is well known for its 'design, development, manufacturing and commercialization of advanced plasma processes.'


Natcore Technology

netcore technology logo

Founded: 2009
Headquarters: Red Bank, New Jersey, United States
Technology: They're disrupting the solar cell industry by creating a new black silicon cell that could, in theory, replace the silver in solar cells making them cheaper.


Nanotechnology in nanobiotics

There hasn’t been a new class of antibiotics since 1980, and the threat of antibiotic resistance is growing ever stronger. Nanobiotics are paving the way to becoming a new class of antibiotics. But it's a slow process, and this technology is still in its research stages.


Michigan University


michigan university logo

Founded: ca. 2017
Headquarters: Michigan, USA
Technology: Researched by Michigan University, they can help prevent bacteria from spreading by engineering small nanoparticles that will nestle themselves into bacteria.


London Centre for Nanotechnology


london centre for nanotechnology logo

Founded: n/a
Headquarters: London, UK
Technology: Professors including Rachel McKendry from the London Centre for Nanotechnology are heavily investing their time in the subject, hoping to create medical breakthroughs.


Nanotechnology in artificial vision

There have been incredible advancements in optometry for a long time, take laser eye surgery for example. However, there are new forms of technology making their way to the forefront. One research institute uses small cameras to convert visual information into an auditory input.


Nano Retina


nano retina logo

Founded: 2009
Headquarters: Herzliya, Israel
Technology: A startup that's in its development stages. They are creating a device that will restore vision in people with retinal degenerative disorders.


Shaare Zedek Medical Center and Bar-Ilan University


shaare zedek medical center logo

Founded: n/a
Headquarters: Jerusalem, Israel
Technology: This research has developed eye drops that can restore vision. Clinical trials will be taking place this year, although experiments have been conducted on pig eyes.


Nanotechnology in thermoelectric generation

Thermoelectric energy. It has been around for a while, although venture capitalists are beginning to invest big money because of the advancements in nanotechnology applications.

What is thermoelectric generation?

The idea is you can convert electricity into heat using a chip (computer chips would do the job). There are many startups recycling this old technology and making it ten times better by using nanotechnology.




phononic logo

Founded: 2009
Headquarters: Durham, NC
Technology: Earned over $160.9 million in funding, and they have a huge list of investors like GGV Capital and Oak Investment Partners. They use their technology in countless products like refrigerators and fiber optics.


Alphabet Energy


Alphabet Energy logo

Founded: 2009
Headquarters: Silicon Valley, CA
Technology: Uses waste heat to gather energy. They are focusing on the auto industry, which makes sense as General Motors was one of their investors.


Silicium Energy/Matrix Industries

silicium blue energy logo

Founded: 2011
Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA, USA
Technology: Uses thermoelectric and nanotechnology to increase battery life.

Search for technologies


Check the interactive map

The interactive map below shows the locations of all the mentioned startups and investors. Each pin marks the location together with some extra details about the company.


Nanotechnology applications 

How far away is the human race is from achieving a carbon nanotube elevator heading straight to space, or a printed out set of lungs? That’s a question we won’t be able to answer for quite a while.

But the excitement and enthusiasm for nanotechnology in R&D, government funding and venture capital is evident. One thing is sure, the future looks promising.



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