So, while there may be nothing new about hydrophobic nanomaterials, there was something novel about Aken Technologies beyond its claim to be the "first in the industry" to be "100 percent safe, non-toxic, green, & eco-friendly." The novel bit - at least to me - was that it was relying onKickstarter, the crowdfunding site, for its initial funding.
I soon found out, however, that Aken was not the first nanotechnology-related company to use Kickstarter for its funding mechanism, or even the first company trying to fund a hydrophobic nanomaterial for textiles. A project dubbed Silic used Kickstarter late last year to fund a hydrophobic nanomaterial. Silic initially aimed to raise US $20,000, but quickly overshot its goal, securing $112,254 in funding. At least now, Silic has a website, a milestone that Aken Technologies has yet to achieve.
The funding gap remains one of the biggest obstacles for bringing nanotechnologies developed in the lab to the market place. Whether Kickstarter can become a viable method for bridging that gap remains to be seen. However, it's hard to see how funding a few small companies so that they can develop the commercial potential for a technology that has already been in commercial markets for nearly two decades recommends it as the solution.