My guest today is Hunter McDaniel, the founder and CEO of UbiQD, a startup exploiting quantum dots to improve agricultural yield in greenhouses and generating electricity by embedding them into windows. In this episode of Lab to startup, we talk about...
My guest today is Hunter McDaniel, the founder and CEO of UbiQD, a startup exploiting quantum dots to improve agricultural yield in greenhouses and generating electricity by embedding them into windows. In this episode of Lab to startup, we talk about how non-toxic quantum dots were developed at Los Alamos; the evolution of the use cases; fundraising trials and tribulations; the complications of convincing multiple stakeholders in the solar space; and how Hunter’s grit and persistence helped in building this startup.
- UbiQD: https://ubiqd.com
- Using quantum dots to modify sunlight to enhance photosynthetic efficiency and boost fruit and flower production
- Help plants get more from the sun in a greenhouse and boost crop yields and quality without the cost or energy impact of lighting
- UbiQD solar windows are made from glass laminated with a quantum dot doped interlayer to generate electricity
- Translated research during his postdoc at Los Alamos national labs to products at his startup
- Licensed some technology from MIT and the rest from Los Alamos
- Technology evolved from trying to solve the problem of toxicity from cadmium and lead in quantum dots
- Swapped Cadmium with Indium and Copper
- Once the toxicity problem was solved, the hope was that companies would line up for the new solution
- Initially funded by NSF SBIR grant (10th attempt)
- While generating electricity from windows was funded, NSF I-Corp program helped find the greenhouse market
- Increases crop yield by 10-30%; 6 Watts/sq.foot while maintaining transparency of windows (half of traditional solar cells)
- Understand all the people that had to be convinced to adopt the products
- Ask for advice and you get money
- Investors: Breakout labs, Scout Ventures, Keiretsu Forum, Sun Mountain Capital, Epic Ventures, Plug and Play Ventures, Arcview Collective Fund, Nanosys.
- Relations with Nanosys, NASA, SpaceX, US Air Force
- Contact: https://ubiqd.com/contact/