Subway seized for want of a $2919 tax payment
I don't know if this is a harbinger of things to come, or whether it's just someone whose franchise dreams died, but yesterday at the Flatiron Crossing Mall in Broomfield, Colorado, I was struck by the rather alarming sign on the door of the local Subway franchise, as shown to the right.
As it happens, I had been in that particular Subway franchise and had a conversation with the owner about his experience as a franchise business owner. He was, like so many people are, retired from another profession and had invested in the Subway franchise because he thought it would be a sure fire way to make money and have a half-time job as he went into his retirement. As I recall he wasn't that old (late 40s?) but it's a very common story in the industry.
Problem was, as he explained, he didn't quite make enough to be able to hire other people to work: by doing the work himself, he avoided taxes, health care and wages, so it was a cross he was bearing, working 60+ hours/week trying to keep the business afloat.
As the sign attests, he didn't succeed and the business is not afloat, it's down in Davey Jones locker with all the other failed businesses and franchise opportunities.
What most struck me was how little he owed: $2919.00:
That was enough, however, that when he missed six weeks of tax payments to the City, Broomfield seized the business and shut him down.
Peeking inside, it's clear everything's been moved around and inventoried, and indeed, the auction house that's going to sell off hardware and equipment to try and recoup the lost tax payments has a business card on the window:
Certainly, one company's failure is another company's opportunity.
I see this as a cautionary tale and can't but feel for the owner of this particular Subway sandwich shop. He went into it with his dreams and hopes for a brighter tomorrow and somehow, year after year, the dream slipped away, it became harder and harder to make ends meet, and finally, one day, he just didn't open up shop again. He walked away. And then The Man came and for want of less than $3000 in taxes, took away any chance for him to resurrect it and come out ahead.
With that in mind, how's your business doing? Are you realistically, pragmatically assessing its state, or are you living in dreamland as your dreams slip through your fingers too?
Join us at the Thin Air Summit, get my book for free!
I'm very excited to not only have been involved in the planning process for the upcoming Thin Air Summit, coming next month in Denver at the beautiful downtown Sheraton, but to also be invited to give the opening keynote talk for the event too.
My talk is titled Finding a Voice: The evolution of personal media through history and my (working) description is:
New media isn't new at all. Whether it's a hand-cranked printer hidden in the basement, a bootleg radio station or a can of spray paint, people's need to express themselves and make an impact on their community has been a pervasive part of history. What is new is that we, the public, ARE the media too now, and that your blog might well have a greater readership than a traditional media outlet controlled by a homogenizing corporation like Clear Channel. We'll look at these topics and explore the key questions of What's going on? How did we get here? And how can you gain more influence in this ever-changing marketplace?Sound interesting? I hope so!
In addition to my keynote, we also have my friend and colleague Jeremiah Owyang of Forrester Research giving the second day keynote too, entitled "The Future of Media in the Social/Digital Age", which I'm eager to hear: he's very plugged in to trends and forecasting with his position at Forrester.
Additional speakers and sessions are shown on the Thin Air Summit site, so you can read 'em yourself.
What I want to announce here is that I'm offering a special promotion: the first twenty people who sign up for the Thin Air Summit using the special registration code "dave" will get a free signed copy of my book Growing Your Business With Google. That's a good deal, and doubly so if you're joining us!
I hope this serves as a good additional incentive to join us Nov 8-9 2008 at the Sheraton Denver for the Thin Air Summit!
Microsoft Zune versus Apple iPod: Components don't make a gadget valuable!
I'm a bit baffled by this query I got from a PR agent who is working on the Microsoft Zune account:
"Between November 2006 and May 2008 Apple iPods have outsold Microsoft Zunes 38: 1. Has America chosen the best device? As the economy takes a turn for the worse, it is important for consumers to truly understand the value of a purchase. What are you getting for your money?I'm really trying to figure out the logic behind this query. I mean, the value of a consumer electronics product is not the sum value of its components, so what's the point of offering up an "expert" who has torn all of these gizmos apart?
Zune Internals (Image credit: zunerama.com)
It's like saying that the value of one book is greater than another because it has more pages and more words. Last I checked, however, people don't buy books because of their word count.
In terms of the Zune versus the iPod, the components are almost completely irrelevant. People don't say "I was going to buy an iPod but when I found out that the audio plug isn't robust, I bought a Zune instead".
Am I wrong? Do you care about value of the components inside your electronic gizmo or gadget? More to the point, perhaps, would you be more likely to buy a Microsoft Zune player if you knew it had better quality components inside than a comparable Apple iPod?
Public Relations in the Age of Blogging: Good Pitch, Bad Pitch
Just so happens that in my mailbox I have two lovely examples of how public relations professionals in different agencies are trying to work with bloggers, one that I believe is a poor example of how to pitch, and one that's spot-on good. I have scrubbed the names clean because it's not about the specific agency as much as the concepts here. As usual, I also have my editorial commentary like this as we go along.
Ready? Here we gooooooo....
First off, here's the initial pitch I, a daddy blogger based in Colorado, received, about a children's book signing event:
I am following up on a previous email and my voicemail today regarding the below (and attached) event at Bloomingdales which will be taking place tomorrow.
Do you think this is something you would be interested in covering for your blog?
Huh? Why would I care about something going on 1700 miles away, something with a 24 hour deadline? She didn't have information "below" within the text of the email she sent me either, making me have to open an attachment to even remember what we're talking about. I asked just that question...
Nice contact, but what makes you think I’d be interested? Did you go and read my parenting blog, or am I in a contact database you have?
to which she responded
Thank you for getting back to me.
We read your parenting blog and thought you may be interested in covering as it is an event geared towards children.
Do you think this is something you would be interested in?
I will give her points for consistency, but if she read my parenting blog she'd know that I wouldn't give a hoot about a promotional event in Manhattan on my weblog. In fact, I almost never write about anything that I'd get from a publicist or PR person. I do, however, occasionally review things, which could have been her angle (e.g. mailing me a copy of the book in question), but wasn't.
Now, contrast that with this other pitch, made to someone else, not me, by Lisa at Metzger Associates:
Subject: CSG Systems CEO would like to talk to you
I'm the Lisa Everitt perhaps best known in the Rocky business department as the person for whom Joe Nacchio autographed a can of paint in 1999. That was a bizarre era. Now I work for Metzger Associates. Did the paint make its way to the new building?
Peter Kalan, the new CEO of CSG Systems, would like to sit down with you, on the phone or in person at their office, to talk about CSG's broader outlook beyond billing, statements and customer service support for cable and DBS companies. He's available the week of Oct. 13, specifically Tuesday 10/14 and Friday 10/17. If those days don't
As you know, CSG has been an influential company in the national and local cable scene, with customers that include Comcast, Time-Warner, Charter Communications and a raft of smaller players.
What's new with CSG Systems...
[Dave again] What Lisa's done here is explain who she is, remind Jeff of a previous interact they've had, then succinctly detail exactly what the pitch is and why it should be of interest. It takes a total of, what, 15 seconds to skim this and identify the who, what, where, when and why. That's respectful and always appreciated.
Contrast that with the email I received from the other PR person, who had none of that useful information readily accessible in her email. The only thing she included was a rather naggy reminder that she'd already emailed me and left me voicemail (which I don't actually appreciate, as it happens). How much better for her to have said "To remind you, I'm talking about person X from company Y doing event Z and inviting you to ..."
But even there, the pitch never included "would you like to interview my client?" or "would you like a copy of the book for review?" or anything that suggested that I, as a blogger presumably sufficiently interesting to be on her short list, was anyone more than an additional one-way publicity channel.
This is, as I said in the beginning, a bad way to pitch bloggers or anyone else. A journalist wouldn't be impressed either.
Meanwhile, you'll note that even with this posting I still haven't offered up much information about the event at Bloomingdale's. Because... I just don't have a clue about what's going on. Still.
So you tell me. Good pitch? Bad pitch?
Disney, Sloppy PR and "do you have a degree?"
A while back I wrote a piece about sloppy PR from Disney Corporation and it's sat there for a while, garnering comment and thoughts.
Today I got one that I thought was particularly interesting, from Kate Runyan:
"I am curious about your comments about Disney's sloppy PR. I am interning there and trying to learn as much about it as I can... from every point of view. Do you hold any degrees and if so, what field? I hope to hear from you via e-mail as soon as you get a chance out of your busy day. Thank you so much! Cheers!"
Let me tell you a bit about the original article, then answer Kate's question and make some observations about how she's structured her query...
Basically, I got a clumsy pitch from Disney's Family.com travel team that started out "Dear Apparanting, I'm contacting you to let you know about a new travel site Disney Family.com needs your help promoting!"
Even pasting it here, you can see how clumsy and lame this is. 30 seconds of work (scroll to bottom, see © notice) would have revealed my name as the author of the parenting blog, but they didn't do that. That's a cardinal sin in blogger/PR relations.
The pitch was also ridiculously long and clueless about what motivates people to want to help you join a publicity effort without pay. For example, how different it would have been if they said "We know you travel with kids: can we send you a book that highlights how to travel more easily next time?" or "We'd like to invite you to be a Disney.com VIP by helping us spread the word" or "we're focused on making travel more green. If you help us, we'll donate $20 to Plant A Tree" or, well, you get the idea.
However loved the brand, people don't generally help a commercial business out of a sense of philanthropy or noblesse oblige. Like anything else, you need to give them an incentive and of all professionals, Public Relations pros should know this. And a big corporation like Disney can afford to hire the best. That's why I wrote about that in the first place.
So, Kate, I'm glad you asked me how and why I thought the pitch was clumsy. I hope I've addressed that here. What I also want to ask you is why do you care if I have any degrees?
As it happens, I do. A BA in Computer Science, Masters in Education and an MBA. But I think it's dangerous to suggest that one person's feedback is more or less important than another's simply on the basis of how much they've spent for their education. Uh, how much they studied. Um, well, you know what I mean. :-)
Then again, PR is a profession where I think you have to create heirarchies to survive. If there's no "A List" and no "key media outlets" then it's all a quantitative game and sending out a $200 prweb release might just be more valuable with its 300 links from press release archive sites than $10,000 on pro PR to get a small mention in the Washington Post. Hmmmm.....
Anyway, dear reader, what do you think? Was Disney sloppy in its original email to me and was Kate demonstrating a perhaps dangerously hierarchical mind in her query?
YOU can help out with the DonorsChoose Blogger Challenge
First things first: I ask that you forego your next latté or bagel and instead donate a few dollars to this very worthy cause, helping out teachers and kids throughout the United States. Easily done, just click on the "Colorado Bloggers Challenge" text in the ad graphic below:
Now, let me tell you how this ended up here and in my sidebar too: My good friend Micah Baldwin of Lijit asked me to add it. Well, he asked a couple of us Colorado bloggers and we've all added the widget with the hopes we can raise some serious cash for a worthy cause.
I asked Micah for the back story on his relationship with DonorsChoose, and here's what he explained...
About a year ago, I was beginning to read VC and tech blogs. During that time, I came across Fred Wilson's blog. I had no idea who Fred Wilson was, other than a lot of people seem to read his blog. He was linked to Brad Feld, and Brad was someone I trusted, so I assumed Fred's content was equally trustworthy.
For a period of time, as I read Fred's blog, I began to find most of the content pretty interesting and on topics that I found interesting.
Then one day he had a post about joining a "blogger's challenge" by DonorsChoose. I was a new blogger, and was just learning what a widget was, etc., plus the power of blogging.
Having been an educational fundraiser for years early in my career (mostly colleges and universities), I always have held any philanthropic effort to help education in high regard, so I took a closer look at DonorsChoose.
It's a really interesting charity. It allows teachers to self-identify things that are important to them. So music teachers will choose things like new guitar stands, a history teacher might select a trip to a local museum, an English teacher might select a series of books. Then individuals can contribute to whichever cause they find particularly interesting. The amount doesn't matter, and the contributor can designate the entire donation to go directly to the cause (with DonorsChoose getting zero).
I decided to participate and help Fred out. It didn't hurt that the winning blogger would get a lunch date with Jerry Yang, which Fred had decided to give to the participant who provided the best reason for giving. My dad, having recently retired from Stanford University, would love to have lunch with Jerry, so I jumped in.
DonorsChoose allows you to pick a school by geography, and I was very excited to see that my middle school, Morrill Middle School in San Jose, CA had a fundable project. So I sent in a small amount ($500 I think), to fund that project.
Fred did win the lunch with Jerry, and selected someone extremely worthy to get the lunch, but I had found a site that I felt had all the pieces of a biz that could make a real difference. And over the next year, I made several donations, usually in the name of a family member. (In fact, for Christmas, I gave everyone a donation in their name rather than gifts.)
A couple of weeks back, I got an email from Kris Murray, DonorsChoose's Deputy Director, Northwest Region. She happened to be from Colorado and was out visiting family. She asked if we could connect, and, like a good Boulderite, we met over coffee.
She told me that DonorsChoose was going to have another Bloggers Challenge this year. She asked me to join Fred, Robert Scoble, Mike Arrington, Kara Swisher and others in the challenge. I knew that I would never be very effective on my own, so I offered to help in any way I can, which I knew was getting more people involved than just me.
In truth, its one of the best parts of the technology scene in Colorado. We are all more than happy to help one another. Unlike the coasts, where often the individual is the center, in Colorado its is usually a collective effort. TechStars is a great example of that. Lijit is a great example of that.
So, I asked the premier bloggers in the state: you, Brad Feld, Seth Levine, Ryan McIntire, Jason Mendelson, Andrew Hyde, Alex King and David Cohen; created a giving page called the Colorado Bloggers Challenge, and asked everyone to join in.
I am glad to see that everyone has decided to be part of the effort.
Thanks for the kind words, Micah, and thank you, dear reader, for your efforts to help us raise some serious money for DonorsChoose. Spread the word!
The latest tech companies emerging from CU Boulder
I just returned from the Fall ESPRIT Innovation Alliance Breakfast, hosted by the non-profit Boulder Innovation Center and it was, as usual, a fascinating morning.
In cooperation with the University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office, the Boulder Innovation Center helps take great ideas and inventions out of the university and into the business world. They wrestle with a fundamental challenge for any university that has a strong research base: how do you spin out companies while still retaining at least some of the IP for the benefit of the University and its students, faculty and staff?
This isn't much different from the tensions, challenges, and harsh reality I encountered at HP Labs when I worked there. Like many other corporate R&D facilities (Xerox PARC, DEC's Western Research Labs, Interval Research), it's hard to take blue sky and turn it into pragmatic for-profit businesses for both the benefit of the inventors and institution.
In a format similar to DEMO and other startup events, the BIC breakfast format gave each company approximately 8 minutes to present and 2-3 minutes for questions. Fast and furious.
Here are my notes, with my commentary and thoughts in [italics]...
Intro: The CU Innovation Alliance
David Allen: You're going to see some wicked cool technology. This is the stuff that's right on the edge. We get about 100 invention disclosures from the Boulder campus each year, so we have 100 opportunities to figure out what it's all about. Our faculty are some of the very best people in the world in what they do, and here we are trying to figure out what they're doing.
We (The CU Tech Transfer Office) pay $50k year for the Boulder Innovation Center, which lets our investigators -- the inventors of these technologies -- have access to the BIC and its expert management and professional services teams.
Our first goal is to get a grip on the technology so we can protect it (patents), then we have a definable asset and then look to the tech platform to find business drivers.
[ I read this somewhat as "we get solutions, then have to identify a problem" which is accurate, and classic research. "Here's something cool. Now what?" ]
[The CU Tech Transfer Office also offers these Proof Of Concept Grants (they refer to these as "POCg" internally), so inventors have two shots at proving their ideas to the marketplace before seeking funding]
Allen posited that CU is the most active university in the US with its self-funded Tech Transfer Office, a university that's putting 3.5 million into proof of concept programs. [it's very interesting, this concept of University as angel capital investor and incubator!]
Tim Bour: Often the advisors that we (BIC) find become the principles of the newly formed company. We wrap a community around this young company with the goal of making it successful.
[In that sense, then, it's not like a traditional incubator, but it's one heck of a way for smart execs to get plugged in to hot new companies just coming out of a strong research institution]
[Presented by Tin Tin Su, Association Prof Molecular, Cellular, and developmental biology, Suvica uses drosophila to create a tissue micro-environment that significantly improves the discovery of new anti-cancer compounds]
We're working on discovering novel combination therapeutics against cancer [Amusing to see that the title slide had "confidential" written on it] We're trying to find combination therapies, because combining radiation with chemo works better than either does individually. Their success is based on synergy between agents: result exceeds sum of individual therapies, but the challenge is: how do you find combinations that work?
They're trying to avoid clinical trials because they're costly and time-consuming. Suvica offers screening technologies for drugs that work well with radiation.
We're accomplishing this by radiating common fruit fly (drosophila) larvae to see what happens: the fruit fly is similar to cancer tumors. Through extensive research, we've identified that you can use drosophila to find agents that are effective against human cancer. Dros is 100x better predictive model than any screening system in existence, and there's potential to find drugs that act on mutants but not normal tissue
The presentation addressed scalability, competition and barriers to entry. They've filed patents, done a pilot screen, secured $381K grant to test on mouse model, screening commercial library (20k compounds), seek: equity finance, management, commence screening service, partner with biotech/pharma to screen their libraries.
[I found this exciting research, the idea that specifically trying to screen combination therapies for efficacy can produce better cancer treatments that have less side effects and work faster and more effectively. It also seems like a solid business idea, mostly likely a small biz that'll find revenue through licensing and testing with big pharma]
Ion Engineering: Colorado Carbon Capture
[Presented by Jason Bara, Colorado Carbon Capture develops technology that improves the efficiency of carbon capture from power plants and natural gas wells through the use of "green" solvents. CCC promises to bring dramatic improvements to the energy efficiency of current processes, as well as provide innovative, new and cost-efficient approaches to carbon capture.]
The market for CO2 capture already exists:
We replace the water in the process with an ionic solvent
initial focus on natural gas application: $5 *billion* spent on new natgas equip each year, with an immediate market in Colo and Wyoming
24 month scale up: lab -> pilot -> wellhead
income sources: royalties on gas volumes, direct solvent sales, equip design
Have management and engineering team in place: CEO, scientific staff [Tip: a CEO is not a management team]
Q: What is your ionic solvent and what does it cost? It costs anywhere from $100-$500 gallon to create ionic liquids. room temperature ionic liquid - a family of organic solvents
Q: Is the solvent consumed or recycled? It is not consumed. The chemical process occurs to consume the co2, and since its not volatile, it doesn't evaporate.
Q: How is the carbon captured? When it''s captured from nat gas you vent it back out into the atmosphere. The h2s you have to turn it back into sulfur or some other product because it's toxic.
[I admit that I didn't fully understand this solution, but it's clearly a very big market and though we like to sweep industrial waste and pollution under the proverbial rug, it's a growing problem and there's a lot of money therein]
[Presented by Michael Larson, Tissue Fusion develops laser devices to "weld" biological tissues together for wound closures. This device is an improvement on existing technologies using sutures in an array of standard surgical procedures]
Laser tissue fusion is an alternative to sutures -- it's a medical device that's based on using laser energies to fuse tissues together and close wounds. Their product is called LaSept, and it's a device for helping with septoplasty and rhinoplasty surgeries: over 500,000 of these procedures are done annually in US. $100mil worldwide market
They also have a vision about follow on products: minimally invasive surgeries (laparoscopic procedures), their product will also prove a boon for procedures needing immediate, water-tight closure.
"The first FDA approved laser device for wound closure will create excitement and will transform the market"
[This company is definitely savvy: they picked septoplasty & rhinoplasty surgery because it's a fast FDA approval since the inside of the nose is considered the outside of the body. Yeah, that's a weird idea, but that's the FDA for you]
They have successfully fused horse mucosal tissue in a manner similar to the human nose. Have completed pre-clinical phases. As he explained, the science is proven, engineering is done, FDA approval process is straightforward.
Company has Larson as founder, two product designers, two academic otolaryngologists, but no management, no marketing, etc, The identified need for growing to the next step: a CEO to do fund raising.
[Again, my expertise is not in medical products, but this seemed like a neat, handheld product with a specific use and defined market. Not exciting, but a solid business opportunity.]
[This was the token geeky software presentation, made by John Giacomoni. LineRate Systems has a software network appliance platform that delivers 10 gb/s application layer processing capabilities on commodity servers and blades]
"Rethinking Network Appliances" - the plumbing that connects your machine to the Internet. When the equipment that they have to put in front of the machine costs more than the machine itself, that's a serious problem. Our focus is on low-cost no hassle sales model.
In 2009 we are going to bring our products to market. The idea came up in 2003, 2006 initial proof of concept, 2006-2008 they filed patents, 2007 got first gigabit appliance functioning, 2008 got 4gb/s.
These speeds mean each frame has to be processed in a few hundred nanoseconds max. In 2009 we've been talking with Intel and we should be able to hit 10gb/s system and enter the market
process: built upon open source building blocks: xorp, nginx, snort, RIsense (?), leveraging hw Intel, amd, dell, sun, hp. Missing piece: the glue: Line Rate acceleration software
There are 40 appliance manufacturers in the marketplace already. Total market $30 bil by 2013, $16bil today.
[This is where it got a bit confusing because John's answer to how they compete is "there's a great apathy in the market for new competitor entries because of the high cost of goods", yet his slide showed that the cost of goods was about 23% of total sales, nothing out of line for a hardware-based product line.]
They believe they can deliver the end product for the basic cost of goods of competitors, forcing the competitors to license their system.
Need: rest of business team and funds.
[I was intrigued by LineRate Systems and its idea of rethinking network backend appliances but I get a sense that the company needs to rethink its business vision. The cliché error of "we have no competition" wasn't quite visible, but having identified 40 big competitors (including Cisco and Juniper Systems) then claiming none of them can innovate at the software level, well, that's hubris at best and naive at worst.]
[Presented by Johan Baeck, 3QMatrix focuses on the development and commercialization of novel wound healing and drug delivery products using a proprietary product platform. This was the most interesting company I saw this morning and I believe there's a tremendous opportunity here]
"A novel wound healing company: advanced biomaterials for enhanced quality of life"
Their market: 5-7 million US patients with chronic wounds -- wound care is $1 billion market.
Today's solutions don't meet clinical need, which is for a solution that:
Traditional solutions are low cost, but low performance (think special ointments or salves applied to wounds). Interactive solutions are high performance but have a high cost ($2000-4000 per application). 3QMatrix offers a low cost, high performance solution.
Their solution is an advanced synthetic biomaterial which creates a 3-dimensional mesh that lets the neighboring cells begin to rebuild the skin and tissue. It biodegrades and is bio-absorbable. They can also "functionalize" it by adding antibacterial, growth hormones and other medications to the material itself.
3QMatrix has a management team, scientific advisory board, and has received proof of concept grant from the CU Boulder Tech Transfer Office to solidify patents. Submitted two grants to NIH and one to DoD.
Seeking $2mil in seed money to further product development and clinical studies.
[To me, 3QMatrix is a perfect example of how ingenious technologies can be invented in a university research setting with high applicability to the real world and then can evolve into a commercial business. I have high expectations for this company]
[Presented by Mark Hernandez, XenoPur Systems provides metals decontamination in water treatment processes. The combination of low-cost ingredients, low energy requirements and lower waste disposal costs will allow XenoPur to lower total process costs to industry]
Radionuclide and metal removal technologies - removal of heavy, precious and radioactive metals. Water and nuclear pollution is increasing worldwide. Over $1bil spent on treating industrial wastewater in US alone.
Their product is called the XenoPur "Liquid Magnet" and it's essentially impregnating carbon with corrosion inhibitors. Mark liken its primary industrial use to an "industrial wastewater Britta filter", and noted that the other primary configuration is as a "tea bag", cleaning passive water (from, for example, the contamination of acid rain).
It's a cost effective way to purify acidic metal-laden waters, including high efficiency removal of all EPA priority pollutants: copper, lead, silver, uranium and other semi-precious (silver) and toxics.
Displaces conventional sludge generating technology through solidification of dissolved metals [In other words, the end product pollutants are far easier to deal with and process]
The solution has to be cheap: water purification applications must deal with billions of gallons of water effectively. One patent has been issued, one tech continuation patent submitted.
Tested / field optimization in SAE Circuits, Boulder (industrial wastewater), Rockford Mine, Idaho Springs (mining reclamation) Los Alamos National Lab (radionuclide sequestration)
Incorporated in 2006 has received the following funding: $400k from NSF and US Air Force, $100k from State of Colorado
[The technology here is very cool. Imagine a device that could be lowered into a polluted mountain lake and actually filter out all the contaminants. Then it's pulled out and those contaminants can be easily processed and broken down into non-toxic elements. A solid business, I'm thankful smart people are working on cleaning up our environment after 100+ years of the waste from the industrial revolution]
Kapteyn-Murnane Labs (aka KMLabs)
[Presented by Dirk Muller, KMLabs was founded by Margaret Murnane and Henry Kapteyn. This presentation was more of a TTO success story as KMLabs has been around since 1994]
KMLabs is a manufacturer of femtosecond lasers. They've built a very successful business, founded in 1994 and profitable every year since. Now has 20 people and a 21,000sf research and manufacturing facility in Boulder, Colorado.
[Tip: a femtosecond is one millionth of a nanosecond. As Dirk said, a femtosecond is to a second as a minute is to the age of the universe. Amazing, really]
The great advantage of femtosecond lasers is that they generate zero heat which gives them many interesting capabilities.
The company vision: bringing highest performance ultrafast laser systems to the research community. KMLabs was the first company to develop a reliable 10 femtosecond laser, and are a cornerstone in the NSF Engineering Research Center for Extreme Ultraviolet Science and Technology.
Global customer base, applications: ultrafast spectroscopy, nonlinear coherent light sources, coherent x-ray generation, attosecond pulse generation, optical coherence tomography. future apps: micromachining, sensors, lithographic mask inspection, biomedical, soft x-ray microscopy and metrology
[Femtoseconds weren't fast enough for you? An attosecond is 1/1000th of a femtosecond]
KMLabs are global leaders in high average power ultrafast lasers, cryogenic cooling for 10-100W (military applications), carrier envelope offset phase stabilization of high average power ultrafast lasers and coherent short wavelength light.
[I don't much know about femtosecond laser system and what they're used for in the research setting (my own research has been with people and computers, not cool laser gizmos) but, damn, pretty cool stuff, and KMlabs is a splendid example of tech transfer done right]
Those were the companies that presented. Fascinating stuff and it makes me glad to live in a college town with a thriving research community and the desire and passion for those research findings to make it out into the world and help make everything faster, safer, cleaner and healthier.
If you have questions about these companies or want to get in touch with either the Boulder Innovation Center or CU Technology Transfer Office, please visit their Web sites: BoulderInnovationCenter.com and CU.edu/techtransfer.
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