The need to be first when investing, to be ‘ahead of the curve’, is vital. But in a world where new discoveries are made daily, and where new companies are founded with every entrepreneur’s next big idea, how can the serious investor decide where to put their money?
The secret perhaps, is to invest in technologies that are so large, with so many different products, applications, and variations that being first is not the key.
Two of today’s fastest growing technology sectors are in the development of blockchain for digital communication and data storage and in real-world applications of nanotechnology.
Few industries will have as big an effect on everyday life in the future as blockchain.
Today, it is a concept that is difficult to imagine, just as it was previously difficult to imagine the Internet and its impact on the world; until everyone was using it. Those who appreciated the notion of a world wide web in the early nineties, invested wisely in Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Intel.
Similarly, blockchain is currently more of an abstract idea than something physical, even though it is in use all around us.
Alex Tapscott, the author of ‘Blockchain Revolution’, describes blockchain as, “… an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.”
In a world with an increasing number of digital transactions, blockchain will likely be involved in replacing what today we know as money. According to financial experts at the consultancy PwC, “… 10% to 20% of global economic infrastructure will be running on blockchain-based systems by 2030.”
While business consultants at Gartner estimate that, “Blockchain willcreate $3.1 trillion in business value by 2030.”
New technologies create new markets, and no new market is predicted to be bigger than blockchain.
Except perhaps for nanotechnology.
Nanotechnology involves the use of materials on a minute scale, typically less than 100 nanometres. To put this into perspective the width of a human hair is about 100,000nm (1 mm = 1 million nanometres).
Materials used at such a tiny scale function differently to how they do at the macro scale. For example, a gold bar must be heated to 1,064oC before it starts to melt. But the same gold bar in a nanoform will melt at 591oC. While carbon, admired for its strength, is usually relatively heavy, when modified into carbon nanotubes it can become exceptionally light weight, while still maintaining its strength.
As the American Chemical Society notes, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are one of the most versatile applications of nanotechnology, stating that, “CNTs are one hundred times stronger than steel and yet also much lighter.”
It can also make carbon materials magnetic, electrically or thermally conductive, when they rarely are at the macroscale.
In short, nanotechnology enables chemical engineers to create what was previously thought impossible.
But more importantly for investors and entrepreneurs, nanotechnology has real-world, practical uses. As the American Chemical Society report notes, “The average person already encounters nanotechnology in a range of everyday consumer products – in hand washes, bandages, socks, sunscreens, medicines, skin care products, and cancer detection techniques.”
Typical of industry’s advance into nanotechnology is the Prague-based company AG CHEMI GROUP, which has more than 25-years of experience in supplying raw materials. With a long-established network of customers, AG CHEMI GROUP supplies products such as monocalcium phosphate for animal feed, sodium hydroxide used in the manufacture of soaps, paper, cellophane, and numerous industrial chemicals, aluminium, potassium sulfate (K2SO4) and sulfate of potash (SOP) for fertilizer, and sodium tripolyphosphate (STPP) for the manufacture of detergents, ceramics, and flame retardants.
However, today the company has major expansion plans to diversify into supplying raw materials based on nanotechnology. For example:
· Nanoparticles that strengthen paints and coatings
· A nanotechnology process that enables the reuse of waste concrete
· Nanoparticle fillers for concrete which provide crack resistance and added strength
· A nanotechnology process for improved tyre design and recycling
· Nanoparticle fillers and processes for the plastics and polymer industry
· Nanoparticle fillers which make polycarbonate surfaces kill pathogens on contact
One specific technological advance that the company has developed allows for the improved recycling of raw materials. This not only re-uses waste plastic but can also improve the recycled ingredients giving them additional qualities.
As Lev Lyapeikov, the product development manager at AG CHEMI GROUP, explains, “Nanostructure technology allows 100% modification of secondary raw materials, both in order to maintain the conventional properties of materials at the required level (for example, impact strength) and in order to obtain new material properties (for example, obtaining thermally or electrically conductive plastics).”
Adding that, “Examples of the use of this technology can be found in our product portfolio and in our projects in the development and commercialization phase.”
To find out more about AG CHEMI GROUP and how to invest in novel technologies such as nanoparticle production visit: AG CHEMI GROUP.