A little background first… I’m the broker part of the equation, but that’s good because my partner has no idea how to communicate with people in any reasonable manner.

We develop primarily super hydrophobic and “smart” polymer nano-formulas. These are organic chemicals (based of course on a nano-scale) that are reinventing everything from Teflon to de-icing agents for high altitude aircraft.

I’m a long time lurker of Reddit and a big fan of the community in general so thought it was time to pitch in. I’ll be here for a while so ask away.


EDIT: Thanks for keeping me busy on a slow day Reddit. Some great question and I hope I answered them all, but there’s a cold beer waiting for me now.

Check in on our blog from time to time as we post articles relevant to nanotechnology developments quite often and if you have more questions feel free to e-mail.

Comments: 106 • Responses: 47  • Date: 

JoeDaStudd8 karma

Have you looked at using on human skin? As a protective layer and for waterproofing (for diving etc)
I've away been curious if it would be possible as I could see if having a lot of uses.

nanexcompany8 karma

Is it possible? Yes. Is it a good idea? No.

Even the water based formulas which are generally safe for contact with human skin still create results that would get in the way of things your skin is naturally supposed to do.

For example, the formulas are both hydrophobic (water) and oleophobic (oil). Your skin needs both of those things to stay healthy. There’s also the fact that you need an oxidizer to remove the coating and its not a good idea to scrub yourself down with Hydrogen peroxide

cosmotravella5 karma

What are some of the applications to watercraft propulsion systems?

nanexcompany8 karma

We haven’t yet developed a formula that can be used as an additive to fuels (some companies have). That said the nano-coatings will reduce (if not do away with entirely) buildup of any kind. They essentially create a super slick surface as well as being hydrophobic, which prevents friction or the microscopic texture needed for mold, algae, or even dirt to adhere.

bowtieshark5 karma

I am super interested in these materials for aquatic application. There are huge applications in marine industries. But I am specifically interested in aquaria. Something non-toxic that can line tanks and pipes in aquaculture systems and prevent biofilm build up would change my business.

I've never seen anything that was fish and algae safe though. Is there anything on the horizon that could meet my needs?

nanexcompany6 karma

Going into this I decided I didn’t want it to be a plug for our technologies, so I won’t go into those specific details, but I can tell you that the water based formulas are.

These types of formulas are based on a range of nano-polymers, the majority of them are non-toxic such as ours, but the nano-polymers require a delivery method and that’s where you get into the toxic components. Some of our formulas are solvent based. That solvent base is mildly toxic in the sense that it is rated as an irritant and minor hazard to water pollution should it be put in the water on a mass scale. Even that though, once the formula dries and the solvent dissipates the nano-polymers are entirely non-toxic.

Point is when looking for these types of technologies look at the delivery method. Water based is obviously 100% safe.

bowtieshark1 karma

Since you aren't plugging here (thanks) is there a way to get in touch with y'all if one was interested in testing this?

nanexcompany2 karma

Yeah my e-mail and everything is on the contact page. I'm Clayton

Stoooooooo3 karma

Aside from the technology/science itself, what were some of the challenges in breaking into the field as a new business?

nanexcompany3 karma

There is a serious lack of understanding about the formulas, which is to be expected, but matters are made worse when you have some companies out there that are being a bit unethical in their promises and have big advertising budgets.

We don’t mind competing evenly with many of the good companies, in fact I have a lot of respect for them, but some of the others are hurting the industry in general and I find myself repairing their damage with every phone call.

cosmotravella3 karma

What is the name of your company? Can I buy stock yet?

nanexcompany4 karma

Believe it or not we just incorporated this year, prior to that we were just a partnership. I'm afraid an IPO is some time off. The verification leads to a blog post on our site, feel free to check it out if you want.

cosmotravella8 karma

I am a scientist and a recruiter with 30 years of experience. I am also an ACS Career Counselor and just returned from the ACS NAtional Meeting where I interviewed dozens of recent PhD grads with deep experience in nanotechnology. Are you hiring? Would you like help? What is the name of the company - I will go to the website

nanexcompany6 karma

Head over to the contact page and you can e-mail me from there. I'd at least be interested in discussing.


howboutthatshit3 karma

What are some everyday applications of your companys product that we may see eventually? It sounds really interesting. Thanks for doing an AMA

nanexcompany3 karma

Not even eventually, the formulas are ready now. Every day uses range from protecting your carpet or sofa from stains to keeping your car clean perpetually with little to no cleaning.

On a more professional level these formulas are used in a lot of medical environments where bodily fluids are a problem.

howboutthatshit2 karma

Are there any big downsides? Cost, or perhaps disposal?

nanexcompany2 karma

Cost is a big one, maybe not as big as you might think, but overall the formulas are expansive and our profit margins are low.

We still need to obtain the nano-polymers from organizations that have the capability to cut them but not use them. These organizations are quite small so once we have the ability to expand and do that ourselves or to further develop our partners' businesses the cost will decrease.

IAmDanMarshall3 karma

If nanobots were to run amok, what would be your method for trying to stop them?

nanexcompany7 karma

EMP, at least until they adapt, then we're screwed

BreakingForABad3 karma

Have you ever read Prey by Michael Crichton? What did you think? Are we there yet?

nanexcompany4 karma

Its actually sitting on my bookshelf but I have yet to read it. I was a big fan of William Gibson back in the day and a lot of his concepts have already come to reality or are close to.

These days my mind is pretty swamped with nano-tech day in and day out so for my personal time I mostly read zombie stuff.

Shoebox_ovaries2 karma

Will we ever see nanotechnology like it is romanticized in Science Fiction?

nanexcompany5 karma

The curve scientific evolution is progressing at I wouldn't be surprised if we see the capability in the next 50-100 years, but then there’s the question of if we should or not. Whether or not the answer is yes, you’ll always have groups that will say no for fear of the unknown and these types of groups have been an obstacle for progress throughout history, so could be a problem.

DroDro2 karma

Do you think safety testing and regulations are sufficient for nano-products? The density of functional groups and little knowledge about breakdown pathways add some extra possible paths to toxicity.

Is this a University spin-out? Where was the IP developed?

nanexcompany6 karma

To be completely honest… on a common logic level, yes, but realistically there hasn’t been nearly as much testing and regulation as I would like to see.

Many of these technologies get away with saying its existing technology and materials just on a smaller scale so should be fine, but the father with kids in me says that scares the crap out of me.

swish_2 karma

For us dummies, what exactly is nanotechnology and how are you using it to benefit mankind?

nanexcompany3 karma

This is a tricky one because the international community as a whole hasn’t fully accepted the definitions yet. Basically it means using stuff that is really really small. In 2011 the IRMM defined real-world nanoparticle size as 20 nanometres (nm) but again that hasn’t been fully accepted.

Our formulas fit that criteria so technically nanotech, but nanotech could be just about anything. When you see the sci-fi version of nano-scale robots that’s not nanotech any more so than our formulas with nano sized particles. Maybe a bit cooler though.

zoomorphism2 karma

Do you think nanomachines can or will ever be used the way Kojima uses it in Metal Gear Solid?

nanexcompany5 karma

Anything that can be will be weaponized by man. That’s about as sure as death and taxes, so yeah.

skuIIdouggery2 karma

What kind of backgrounds did you and your partner have prior to founding the company? What made you choose this particular niche to work in?

nanexcompany5 karma

My partner, the chemist has his background primarily in chemistry but obviously a lot of other sciences.

I have a background in medicine. Not really anything to do with nanotechnology, but it helped me to understand the science a bit better. I guess you could say a similar mindset.

jDude29131 karma

I'm currently in High School with a 3.6 GPA, I know this isn't really that good, but what should one major in college to get into this field?

nanexcompany2 karma

I'll be posting an answer from my partner later on how he got started in the science end of this. He'll be able to answer that much better.

nianuh1 karma


nanexcompany3 karma

Medicine was never really for me. Half my family is doctors and surgeons so I just followed suit. After school I kind of drifted a bit. Ended up working some government jobs then met my partner and it seemed perfect. Really just random chain of events.

speedy6212 karma

Are you hiring?

nanexcompany2 karma

Not at the moment, but we're growing quite fast so you never know

Morrinn32 karma

So... What steps are you taking to prevent a potential grey goo scenario?

nanexcompany3 karma

That's pretty far from what we do. The nano-polymers we work with have no ability to do anything other than what they were made for. They can't replicate or even move.

xenight1 karma

Do you prefer cats or dogs? On a note serious note, how will your product differ compared to some other companies super hydrophobic sprays?

nanexcompany5 karma

We try to break it down into 4 categories


Toxicity levels

Ease of application

And of course cost

There are only a handful of companies developing formulas with similar results, even less that achieve the results while keeping toxicity levels down. Some are more potent than ours but require a three stage application process. Some are less potent but cost considerably less.

In the end it comes down to what you’re looking for

EDIT: Have the best cat ever named Achilles, but grew up around dogs. Love them both

ksieben1 karma

What other types of applications will these hydrophobic formulas have other than using them on electronics?

nanexcompany3 karma

The electronics aspect is widely misunderstood so I’ll give that a bit of explanation first.

You’ve probably seen companies like Liquipel that offer to make iPhones, tablets, etc waterproof. They can and they do, but the process isn’t quite as simple as they describe. To coat electronics the item needs to be in a vacuum sealed chamber and the nano-coating has to be capable of being atomized and applied inside that chamber.

We ourselves are developing a partnership with a smart watch company, but in this case it’s because they can apply the formula prior to assembly, and so no need for vacuum chambers etc.

Beyond electronics we can make anything from a T-shirt to a cement floor super-hydrophobic. We even have a pro-mountain biker who uses it, the idea being that if mud and water can’t stick to you then you’re the guy finishing the race 50lbs lighter than everybody else.

thirmonk1 karma

Are nanobots ever going to happen? If so, how far off are we?

nanexcompany2 karma

Quick answer because the long answer is on another similar question.

Yes, and probably in the next 50-100 years.

thirmonk1 karma

This is so cool. I feel like we are on the verge of ushering in a new era. Almost of evolution even, though it's not necessarily on a biological level. Thanks for replying!

nanexcompany1 karma

I agree completely

TetraCyde1 karma

How do you get the raw materials? Do you ship things in or out of your business?

nanexcompany2 karma

We work with a number of partners that manufacture the nano-particles. Most of these partners do not have the capability of turning the particles into anything useful. As an analogy it’s kind of like a tire manufacturer selling tires to the car company. We can’t build without them and vice versa.

We ship both directions, raw materials in and formulas out, both on a commercial level and large scale B2B.

siv_720p1 karma

Are there nanomachines used in hospitals?

nanexcompany1 karma

Nanomachines I'm not sure, but I doubt it. There's probably a few types of functional nano-scale devices that are used, or at least I imagine there are. I can tell you though that a number of hospitals use super-hydrophobics on uniforms, gloves, bedding, etc.

HikerMiker1 karma

What about safety and toxicity? Nano-sized particles can get really deep in the lung when inhaled....

nanexcompany2 karma

Definitely a consideration. We use two types of particles, both are naturally occurring minerals, one is an irritant so you could expect some discomfort if you inhaled it but we only use that on our industrial formulas and once its dry it’s not coming off and certainly not going airborne. The other is completely non-harmful.

LobsterDoctor1 karma

How far do you see nanotechnology advancing in your lifetime?

nanexcompany4 karma

I’ve said this since I was a teenager, but I honestly believe that everything from curing cancer to cosmetic surgery through nanotechnology will be accomplished in the next fifty or so years. I’m pushing 40 now so I hope to see it, or at least hope we make enough headway that I can push my life expectancy long enough to see it.

Beyond that we’re going to see some major advancements in mining where nanotechnology can be used to siphon minerals in a much more friendly manner, advancements in green tech with nanotechnology allowing equipment and materials to last ten times longer and making green energy far more efficient, etc etc.

In general the sky is the limit. Actually, strike that because the sky is a pretty low limit.

Yakra1 karma

Would you consider it a small field, with potential for exponential (and life-consuming) growth?

nanexcompany2 karma

Almost exactly, but I might have said "life changing" as opposed to "life consuming". There are only about 10 – 20 companies doing super hydrophobic or nano-coatings right now and none of them with more than 10 employees.

With regards to growth there are some pretty devastating blows coming for the technologies of the past such as Teflon and etc. PFOA and PFOS, both known as C8 technologies are about to become illegal throughout the EU. These are the same technologies used in most non-stick treatments and many water proofing solutions.

Moves like that are definitely going to be a game changer for companies like ours.

I got the joke, just decided to answer seriously

leafhog1 karma

I still think Drexler when I hear "nanotechnology". In your opinion, how far away are we from the first Drexler-style nano assembler?

nanexcompany1 karma

Ah, Molecular nanotechnology, one of my favourite future sciences. The other is living ships, biological organisms bred to live in outer space for the purpose of transportation.

Anyhow… the molecular assembler! Vey far unfortunately. It’s not that the nanotechnology aspect can’t be achieved but what we’re really looking at is a hybrid of not just genetic manipulation, but genetic creation and nanotechnology. That’s if we’re talking about a true molecular assembler. Other technologies along the same lines such as the ribosome-like molecular assemblers or mechanized mechanosynthesis may be much closer.

gigamosh571 karma

What is the scariest public health disaster you think could realistically result from misapplication of nanotechnology?

nanexcompany1 karma

The kind we do, pretty much nothing, but I also just answered a question on molecular nanotechnology. Now that’s some scary shit. Let’s say in the process of building a creature based on mechanosynthesis some wise guy gets the bright idea to program it to learn and adapt, we are then dealing in a world we know so little about from perspective. Who knows what lessons the machines might learn and how they might adapt to them.

We couldn’t even effectively gate them with the Asimovian three laws of robotics. Sure we could tell them not to harm humans, but these things would live on such a scale that a human would be a pretty remote concept no matter how in depth the initial programming is and we’re bound to miss something, some chain of events that would not end well.

potsyflank1 karma

What is a common irrational fear when it comes to nanotechnology? Do you have any yourself?

Also what is your favourite science fiction book or movie?

nanexcompany2 karma

You’ll see the gray goo scenario coming up a few times in the questions here. That’s not entirely irrational it’s just completely wrong. Something like that could happen but not that way.

In general there is a disconnect in people’s understanding of what nanotechnology really is. It’s not all little robots and genetically manipulated materials. Nanotechnology really just refers to size.

Take for example a commonly used nano-particle, Silica. We’ve known about this material in quartz since ancient times and we’ve been using it that long as well. The only difference with nanotechnology is that using it on a nano-scale opens up a whole world of possibilities, but as far as health is concerned its still just silica.

EDIT: Forgot the book part, not your usual science fiction but I'm a big fan of 'The Difference Engine' by William Gibson and Bruce Sterling. After that the usual Ender's Game, the culture novels by Ian Banks, etc

deipriex1 karma

What are your thoughts of the technology in "ghost in the shell".

nanexcompany1 karma

Never really got into Ghost in the Shell, so don't know much about it

iamnotmerkel1 karma

I think about studying Microsystems and nanotechnology. Any advices for me and/or impressions you had during study time? How did you like your time at university? Do you think this kind of science has its future?

nanexcompany1 karma

I think it has a very promising future. In fact it’s already well positioned to replace many of the technologies of the past. As for university, unless you want to be a medical doctor I can’t tell you much because that’s what I went to school for. At Nanex I work on the development of the company. It’s my partner that does all of the science stuff.

Acot311 karma

I am a business student, getting my CPA. I want to get involved in technology companies, specially nano science/engineering. How did you get your start in them and any advice for me. Thank you.

nanexcompany1 karma

Getting into this field from a business side of things isn’t unlike any other business. We still need operations managers, business development, accounting, etc. Other than accounting its probably a good idea to have some sort of knowledge of sciences otherwise you will find the learning curve pretty steep, but that’s about it.

At this period in time the industry probably has a lot more in common with internet or tech startups than it does with sciences related type business. There’s a handful of small companies, mostly all with promising technologies, but almost all underfunded and fighting to get known.

My suggestion would be to start looking around at who’s out there and see if you work your way into apart time internship or low level position before you graduate.

jdepeter1 karma

I'm about to graduate with a bachelors degree in chemical engineering and would like to get into nanotechnology.

Based on your experience, what are some good first steps to take to get involved with this industry? Are there certain masters programs that are more helpful than others?

For context I'm currently studying in Boston and most of the chemical engineering jobs focus on biotechnology/pharmaceuticals. Maybe you know of some work going on in my area I could get involved with!


nanexcompany0 karma

This is one question that my partner could probably answer better, so I’ll come back to you or have him PM you once I hear from him. Best to hear from somebody who’s done it.

jdepeter1 karma

I appreciate that, looking forward to it.

Also, any chances you'll be hiring in 2015? Wink wink nudge nudge?

nanexcompany1 karma

You never know. Keep in touch

SoCal_Sapper1 karma

Hello. What made you say to yourself, "Hey, I want to get into nano tech? Let me go and find a mad scientist to do the work for me!"?

nanexcompany2 karma

"Hey, I want to get into nano tech? Let me go and find a mad scientist to do the work for me!"?

That’s actually not too far off, even the mad scientist part. I repeatedly refer to him as Heisenberg. The catalyst was money and potential. On a personal side I’ve always been fascinated with future technologies, even if they aren’t so future anymore, so there was a personal draw as well.

blueraider6151 karma

What is the best way to get involved in this field?

nanexcompany2 karma

Depends if you’re talking on the development side or the business side. Both are pretty straight forward. Development means a lot of university and probably getting in on an internship with a lab somewhere. I’ll be posting more on this once I get a statement from my partner the chemist.

As for the business side, my side of things, it’s definitely good to have a science background. Mine is in medicine and it definitely helped me to understand the technologies just being scientifically oriented. Beyond that it’s not unlike any other business segment.

MrMischiefMackson1 karma

Can I volunteer my body for nanotech research or do you mainly work on things that don't breathe?

nanexcompany1 karma

We're not biotech, so yeah mostly coatings for inorganic material, but I'm sure there are a lot of companies and universities that would love to take you up on that

toodr1 karma

The first thing I'd like to see is fog proof glass, particularly on the inside of my car's windshield. Please say this is coming soon!

nanexcompany2 karma

You won't have to wait long. We've got a couple of new developments coming and that's one of them. You'll see it by New Years

SlimShadyLover1 karma

Hi, thanks for doing this AMA.

I am a 17-year old student in Ontario and I hope to go to the University of Waterloo this coming fall for Nanotechnology Engineering.

Do you believe this field has a lot of job opportunities in the near future?

nanexcompany1 karma

Absolutely, but more than that you're getting in on the ground floor. In the not too distant future you're going to be seeing a lot of Fortune 500s looking toward this type of technology. Make a name for yourself now before that happens.

isee_hot1 karma

how did you get funding?

nanexcompany2 karma

We didn’t. We weren’t exactly rich but we had fairly good incomes and reasonable savings. We poured pretty much all of it into the company and we were able to fund ourselves. We started with one formula and started selling. The revenues from that paid for the rest of the company.

Today we’re completely debt and investment free, and very glad for the struggle. As an entrepreneur I would suggest seriously considering if it’s possible to go it on your own. There’s nothing like having full control and full ownership.

isee_hot1 karma

Do you feel that you have limited the business at all be growing organically?

How big do you need to be before you start considering a second round of investment?

nanexcompany1 karma

Its definitely been an uphill battle and there were some very real sacrifices we had to make, but I don’t regret any of it. In the end it all paid off.

A portion of our business model now is to work through distributors, so what this means is having other companies sign up to sell the products. They do this by becoming Always Dry Chile for example (Always Dry is one of the brands). They get exclusivity for all of that country and we in return get an infusion of cash without handing out portions of the company, just regions, and even for those regions we will continue to profit as the distributor grows.

It’s a win win for both parties and in the end it ensures that we will probably never need an actual investor.

samoajoe21 karma

Do you have any plans to work on nanotechnology that can be used in or on the human body?

nanexcompany3 karma

No, that would pretty much fall under biotech, which isn't what we do

Deverone1 karma

In your professional opinion, how long would you estimate before all matter in the universe is transformed into a seething gray mass of nanomachines?

I understand that nanotechonology =/= nanomachines, but this is an important question, dammit!

nanexcompany2 karma

Well I’m glad you said “transformed” because it means you get that the materials nano or otherwise have to come from something.

I honestly don’t think it would ever happen though, or at least I don’t think it’s more plausible than a catastrophic gravitational wave or supernova at just the wrong place and time.

Completely talking out my ass there. I don’t know anything about astrophysics but they both sound reasonable.

ValkStorm-4 karma


nanexcompany5 karma

Sorry if you’d seen it that way. I had meant to go out of my way not to push the products and in fact I’ve mentioned a few competitors in a positive light. I’m here to offer some insight into a field that Reddit has been fairly interested in and that’s it.