Any seasoned entrepreneur knows that starting a company takes much more than just a great idea. Creating a successful business is a careful exercise in timing, planning, and tenacity. Like setting up a circuit, all the right pieces need to snap into place in order for the lights to come on. The right scientific minds need to encounter the right business minds at a time when the world is ready for—and ready to pay for—a particular innovation.
In the following pages, C&EN is, for the second year, telling the stories of 10 young companies that have managed to bring all the right pieces together. Working across the chemical enterprise, they were selected by our business reporters because they reflect the way chemistry is at the foundation of so many important technological advances.
Several of the firms are addressing some of the world’s most recalcitrant scientific problems, including neglected disease, electronics miniaturization, and energy conservation. Others are finding ways to bring to reality the things we have so far only imagined—a television that can rolled up like a sheet of paper, for example. Most are the product of years of academic research that has finally been pulled out of the lab.
As always, we remind readers of the outsized failure rate for start-ups. Far more fold than flourish. That said, we think these companies have a good shot at beating the odds.