|NanoSpun: A Legend Goes to Market
By Georgina Johnson
Featured on the Technion 2012 Cornerstone Centennial Stamp, the nanofibers behind the dynamic new start-up NanoSpun signify many of the secrets of Technion’s success in conceptualizing, shaping and nurturing Israel as the high-tech global success of the third millennium.
Throughout the world, news headlines have cited Technion’s unique ability to produce dynamic and profitable start-ups using advanced technology and skills. In 2012, one company that exemplifies the secrets of this success is the prizewinning start-up, NanoSpun.
Cutting-edge innovation at the frontiers of multidisciplinary science, a streamlined, in-depth approach to technology transfer from the laboratory to the marketplace, and a powerful spirit of entrepreneurship that persists through the often turbulent process of making a raw innovation commercially viable: these are the known factors behind a university’s ability to succeed on a national and international scale. And another factor, whispered in the halls of the successful: People. You need good people, who work together as a team.
“Success is all about people,” says Ohad Ben Dror, founder of NanoSpun, which after two years of intense groundwork was incorporated as a company in April of 2011. “You need a strong team that can work together well and drive the company to success.”
Backed by prominent investors, the versatile, hollow nanofiber innovation first emerged from the laboratory of Technion Prof. Eyal Zussman. The nanofibers first gained world attention with a prototype - an example of just one application - in the form of a nature-based tiny parachute that can be released in the sky and can sense and transmit the presence of biological pathogens or pollutants in the air. Unique and cost-effective in their fabrication, the fibers can also be tailored for applications in medical devices, solar energy, textiles, and packaging.
At the forefront of the young company’s present agenda is to apply the nanofibers in the world of CleanTech, where there is a global demand for advanced and efficient systems for water and wastewater filtration and purification.
Based in the Gutwirth Science Park in Technion City, NanoSpun has already won world acclaim. In 2011, in Padua, Italy, the race was on at the Nano/Polymer Challenge as Nano entrepreneurs from across the world presented their innovative nanotechnologies, business plans, and long-term vision to an international panel of judges. NanoSpun won the day, with first place in the Polymer category and a prize of €300,000.
“Success is all about people. You need a strong team that can work together well and drive the company to success.”
Ohad Ben Dror was enticed into the exciting venture, which is now entering its second round of funding, through the Technion’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program, hosted by Technion Technology Transfer - T3. “T3 understands well the challenges of the entrepreneur...” says Ben Dror. “They know how to balance between the needs of the entrepreneur and the academic perception. Creating a new start-up is always challenging and T3 helped a lot in this process.”
Holding several patents, and with a dedicated team of scientists, NanoSpun offers unique electrospun hollow nanofibers whose market potential is enormous. The world industries are now realizing the competitive advantage of moving into the nano dimension.