Top 10 Quantum Dot companies [one to five]

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New Materials News today announced the list of companies that were ranked 1 to 5 in its list of the Top 10 Quantum Dot companies. The firms that were listed were Nanoco, Nanosys, Quantum Materials, Samsung, QD Vision. Source: New Materials News

Today we are delighted to publish the companies that have ranked 1 to 5 in the New Materials News’ list of the top 10 companies operating in the quantum dot sector. The companies listed were Nanoco, Nanosys, Quantum Materials, Samsung and QD Vision.

Our list of the top quantum dot companies was motivated by the number of requests we received for fine-grained information on companies active in this fast-growing area of the industry. Sadly good-quality information was very thin on the ground. Announced earlier this year, we wanted to identify those companies that we thought were well-placed to take advantage of the growth that the industry would experience over the next decade.

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In this process we want to cover companies active at all stages of the quantum dot supply chain, not only those firms that were active in manufacturing quantum dots. As a result, our enquiries extended to companies that were active in integrating quantum dots into their existing product ranges, like some of the largest displays manufacturers.

The process was conducted in a number of extended stages. First, we called for nominations, and we were delighted to receive over 250 from sector executives, researchers, investors, and other sector professionals and stakeholders. Secondly, we asked for more information from the 16 companies that made it on to our longlist of firms. This information was then passed on to a small committee of judges who created and ranked the final list of companies.

The league table: places 1 to 5

RankingCompanyFoundedHeadquartersCEOStatusRole
1Nanoco2001UKMichael EdelmanPublicQD Manufacturer
2Nanosys2001USAJason HartlovePrivateQD Manufacturer
3Quantum Materials2007USAStephen SquiresPublicQD Manufacturer
5QD Vision2004USAMustafa OzgenPrivateQD Manufacturer
4Samsung Electronics1938South KoreaOh-Hyun KwonPublicConsumer Electronics Manufacturer

We published places 6 to 10 of the league table last week.

1. Nanoco

Founded in 2001, Nanoco is one of the largest manufacturers of cadmium-free quantum dots, retailed under its CFQD brand. Initially targeting the screen market, it has recently started to expand into other industries, selling its quantum dots for use in lighting, solar cells and bio-imaging. The firm launched a dedicated lighting division earlier this year.

The company reported revenues of £1.4 million last year, largely owing to an exclusive manufacturing and marketing licensing agreement with The Dow Chemical Company for the displays industry. Dow is currently working with a number of displays manufacturers in South Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan and the US.

The company also generates revenues from its lighting division, and has signed deals with Marl International and Osram. It recently announced its intention to sell a new product, deep-red quantum dot film, to the specialist agricultural market as this type of light promotes plant growth, and volume production is expected to start before the end of this year.

In May this year, the company transitioned to the main market of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) from AIM, the junior market of the LSE. In the process, the company raised proceeds of £18.65 million and now has approximately £24 million of cash on its balance sheet.

Headed by Michael Edelman, the company is headquartered in Manchester, UK, with a American subsidiary based in Concord, Massachusetts. It has production facilities in Runcord, UK, and business development offices in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

The firm holds about 300 patents (granted or patent pending), covering its proprietary mass production process, its non-toxic quantum dot materials, surface chemistry, as well as applications for using its quantum dots.

Judges’ comments

Nanoco has positioned itself well for the future of the industry. It has largely led the way in developing cadmium-free quantum dots, and was a strong voice during the campaign in the EU to restrict the use of cadmium-based quantum dots in consumer electronics. In the future we expect to see a pivot away from cadmium-based solutions in the consumer electronics markets by end manufacturers, a trend that will benefit the company.

It also has been one of the first, and most zealous, companies to extend its product range beyond display technologies, launching a dedicated lighting division as well as products aimed at the medical imaging and agricultural markets.

Finally, Nanoco has a strong balance sheet, with around £24 million in cash on its books, so it has the financial flexibility to invest in research, experiment in new industries, and fund long-term growth plans. Its competitors, on the other hand, may find themselves financially pressed over the next few years.

2. Nanosys

Founded in 2001, Nanosys is, by some reports, the largest quantum dots company in the industry. It manufactures both cadmium and cadmium-free quantum dots, and has significant corporate partnerships with a number of large consumer electronics companies, including Samsung, 3M and AU Optronics.

These companies either license Nanosys’ quantum dots technologies or use its quantum dot enhancement film, retailed under its brand QDEF. These corporate deals have enabled the company to integrate its technology into some of the first and best-selling consumer electronics, including the Amazon Kindle Fire, ASUS Zenbook, Dolby monitors, and TCL and Hisense TVs.

Based in Milpitas in Silicon Valley, California, the company is led by Jason Hartlove, and has raised approximately $150 million in venture capital since its founding from investors including Samsung, 3M, Applied Materials, Venrock, Polaris and Lux Capital.

Its production facility in Silicon Valley is the largest of its kind in the world. With a size of 60,000 square foot, it is the only plant approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency for the mass production of quantum dots.

Although the company does not publically publish its revenues, it has confirmed it was profitable in 2014 and said the year “was a milestone year for growth.” The firm holds about 310 patents (patents granted and patents pending).

Judges’ comments

Of all the quantum dot companies, Nanosys has, perhaps alongside QD Vision, made the clearest progress in bringing its products to market, with its quantum dots integrated into a number of leading consumers electronics products.

The firm was previously held back by its lack of progress in the cadmium-free market, but early this year it signed a multiyear agreement with Samsung, which also covered patents for the production of cadmium-free quantum dots. This puts it in a very strong position to compete with Nanoco, which has traditional dominated the non-toxic space.

While there are clear signs that the firm is leading in the screens sector in North America, it has not been so fast to capitalise on potential outside the US and in the alternative application of quantum dots in, for example, lighting and medical imaging.

3. Quantum Materials

Founded in 2007, Quantum Materials Corporation (QMC) retails cadmium-free quantum dots under its QDX Heat-Resistant QD brand. The firm sells its quantum dots for use in a number of industries, including the displays, solar cells, lighting, energy storage, inks and medical imaging sectors.

Its QDX range of quantum dots, launched in May this year, is capable of withstanding temperatures of about 260 degrees Celsius, allowing them to better withstand the heat needed in the LED display production line and constant high temperatures from use in solid state lighting. It means QMC’s quantum dots can be encapsulated in resins, silicones and other polymers.

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In a pivotal announcement for the firm, Quantum Materials announced last month it had entered into a funded project development agreement with Nitto Denko, the Japanese optical film manufacturer. The deal may signal a turning point for the company as it seeks to catch up with competitors and secure deals to commercialise its quantum dots. It also sees the company carve out a space for itself in the optical film sector.

Led by Stephen Squires, the company is currently based in San Marcos, Texas. Listed on OTC Markets, it confirmed earlier this year it would be seeking a listing on a mainstream market, and had appointed a new CFO to complete this transition. The only major US-listed quantum dots company, the firm has more than 1,000 shareholders.

In its latest SEC filings, the company reported that it had total assets of about $530,000, with net liabilities of $3.7 million. The firm also wholly owns Solterra Renewable Technologies, a quantum dot-powered solar cells company.

Judges’ comments

This year will be pivotal for Quantum Materials. In the last few months, it has successfully demonstrated a new range of cadmium-free quantum dots with new characteristics, like high-temperature resistance, which may help the firm differentiate itself from other companies in the sector. The firm has also shown that it is well-positioned to launch products in a number of different industries, especially in the solar cell sector.

Even though some of the larger quantum dot manufacturers have got a headstart on QMC, there is still likely to be space in the market and time for QMC to carve out a profitable niche. Indeed its recent deal with Nitto suggests one of these niches might be the optical film sector. Only time will tell whether QMC will be able to build on this success by securing further commercial deals.

QMC has struggled with cash flow over the last few years, and it is likely to be eyeing up a listing on the mainstream market to bring more money on to its books. If the promise of the inking of a large deal with an OEM is realised and QMC’s books start to look healthier, there is a lot of reason to believe that the firm has a strong future.

4. Samsung Electronics

Founded in 1938, Samsung is the world’s largest manufacturer of TVs. Now almost 78 years old, the South Korean electronics giant employs over 489,000 employees.

In 2015, Samsung announced it would release its first range of TVs with quantum dot technology under its ‘SUHD’ label. The South Korean conglomerate licenses Nanosys’ cadmium-free QD technology and the firm has invested money into Nanosys in the past.

Whereas its competitors, such as LG, have firmly backed OLEDs, Samsung stopped employing OLEDs in its TV screens this year in favour of LCDs with quantum dot technology. The company has said LCD TVs with QD features will be a focal point for its high-end TV screen line in 2016.

However in August the South Korean news publication, ET News, reported that Samsung was developing a film with similar qualities to quantum dots for use in its TVs. It said the company was looking to commercialise the technology over the next 3 years and that the film would cost a fraction of quantum dots.

Judges’ comments

Our Top 10 Quantum Dots Companies league table looks to give credit to companies operating in the quantum dot market, wherever they may be in the supply chain.

Samsung’s uptake of quantum dot technology has not only supported quantum dot producers, such as Nanosys, but brought QD technology into the lives of consumers all around the world. Without the support of multinationals such as Samsung, quantum dots would remain unknown to ordinary consumers.

Yet the high cost of quantum dots continues to rear its ugly head. If rumours are correct, over the next few years Samsung could shift its weight behind quantum dot technology in search of cheaper alternatives.

5. QD Vision

Founded in 2004, QD Vision is one of the leading providers of quantum dots solutions for display systems. It retails its quantum dot LEDs under its Color IQ brand, which are used by various high-profile displays manufacturers, including Sony, TCL, Hisense, and Philips.

The company says that it is well-placed in the market because it has “significant momentum with top-tier customers.” In fact, Sony selected QD Vision as its partner to develop the world’s first commercially-available QD-based television in 2013, and this year the company worked with MMD (Philips Monitors) to develop and launch the first quantum dot desktop monitor.

QD Vision works exclusively in developing quantum dot technologies for screens and displays, and has not shown any intention of expanding into other industries and sectors, such as lighting and healthcare.

The firm, which uses cadmium in its product range, has robustly defended its use of the element. In fact, it believes that competitors, such as Nanoco, who have launched cadmium-free quantum dot solutions, are not able to rival the color gamut and energy efficiency performance offered by cadmium solutions. In a recent statement their CEO said that alternative non-cadmium-based quantum dots could not “match these important performance characteristics.”

The company is currently privately held, but there has been suggestions that the firm might be eyeing a public listing before the end of the year or in Q1 2016. In a statement given to Reuters in August 2015, former CEO Jason Carlson said he considered an IPO to be a possibility in 2015.

QD Vision has raised about $100 million in venture funding to date, and its investors include Bridge Venture Partners, Capricorn Investment Group, DTE Energy Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, In-Q-Tel, Novus Energy Partners and Passport Capital.

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Led by Mustafa Ogzen, the company has its corporate headquarters in Lexington, Massachusetts, although it has manufacturing operations in Taiwan. As the company has robustly targeted Asian displays manufacturers for partnerships, it also has sales and support operations in China, Korea and Japan.

Judges’ comments

QD Vision’s strength is its strong pipeline of contracts with several major players in the consumer electronics market. For example, the company’s quantum dot solutions have been used by Hisense to create the world’s first curved QD-based TV and Philips have adopted QD Vision’s products to develop the first QD-based desktop monitor.

Moreover, the company has raised approximately $100m in venture funding from capital firms, including Bridge Venture Partners and Capricorn Investment Group.

However, QD Vision is currently focused on supplying its technology to display manufacturers and it might fall behind competitors unless it expands to other markets.

The real chink in QD Vision’s armour is its reliance on cadmium. At present, the company does not have a cadmium-free solution on public record and this may hamper revenue growth in the future.

Regulators are expected to continue to restrict the use of cadmium and other heavy metals in consumer electronics in the future and some of its customers, such as Sony, have said in the past they are investigating methods to avoid the use of cadmium.

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Comments

  1. says

    Great Article. It is very difficult to get true information in regards to the QD firms. It is extremely competitive . Your research has given me a much clearer picture of the current QD situation

    Peter

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