If you´ve got nanotechnology on your mind, NY wants you. The state, area associations and investors have been plugging away for the last four to five years to make the Albany area a center for nanotechnology companies and they´ve made some admirable headway.
Earlier this year New York beat out 10 other states in landing the Institute for Nanoelectronic Discovery and Exploration (INDEX), a $435 million nanotechnology research center to be built at the University of Albany. The Institute is a joint effort by Semiconductor Industry Association and the Semiconductor Research Corp. A similar center will be located in Silicon Valley. Advanced Micro Devices, IBM and Freescale Semiconductor Inc. will provide researchers to be located on the site.
The powers that be hope the Institute will solidify the state´s initiative for the area (known as Tech Valley) to be a hub for nanotech research and innovation the likes of Silicon Valley and Austin, providing economic growth for the region, which has suffered since the glory days of Xerox and Kodak and the downsizing of IBM´s presence in the area.
A media-savvy state, it launched its "NY Loves Nanotech" (insert a picture of a heart for "Loves), campaign through the Center for Economic Growth, which serves the state´s "capital" region.
Aside from INDEX, the nylovesnano.com site lists recent "wins" for the region, including:
*June 26, 2006: AMD announces it will construct a $3.2 billion fab in the area
*May 10, 2006: Through a partnership with IBM and the state, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) will construct a $100 million Computational Center for Nanotechnology Innovations
An early win for the area came in 2002 when Austin-based Sematech, a consortium of computer-chip makers, announced it would open a research center in Albany, stinging the Texas nanotech community, according to some reports.
One individual who has helped to foster the area´s nano industry is Mark Modzelewski, founder of the NanoBusiness Alliance, now headquartered in Chicago, but originally launched in the Tech Valley region. A leading trade organization for the nanotech field, Modzelewski´s knowledge of and presence in the region has helped to bring attention to nano-focused companies working in the area and the state´s own initiatives. Steve Jurvetson of the prestigious venture capital firm Draper, Fisher Jurveston, Herb Goronkin, President of Technology Acceleration Associates and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich all serve as Chairmen-or Honorary Chairman–of the Alliance (of note, Gingrich´s conservative "family values" issues have overshadowed his surprisingly long-standing commitment to technology).
By any standards, New York state´s nanotech initiative has so-far paid-off. A 2005 BusinessWeek Online article had this to say about the region, "Boston is a leader in nano lighting and energy technologies. San Diego stands at the junction between nano and biotech, a frontier for new medicines. But in electronics, Albany is a new nano force to be reckoned with."
See my next post for a follow-up on venture investing in the nanotech arena.
"New York´s Big Hopes for Nano," Business Week Online, February 4, 2005, Stephen Baker.
"New York Get Nanotech Institute," Austin Business Journal, January 3, 2006.