Emerging Technologies

Applied Ventures Expands Portfolio with Two New Investments

Applied Ventures Expands Portfolio with Two New Investments

With 2013 in our rear-view mirror, I’m pleased to announce that Applied Ventures has completed another successful and busy year, investing more than $18 million in 2013, including closing six new investments in early stage companies.  Altogether, since we first formed Applied Ventures in 2005, we have invested approximately $179 million in more than 50 portfolio companies spanning equipment, materials, device and process providers in the clean energy, semiconductor, display, lighting and energy storage sectors. 
Accelerating the Innovation Pipeline

Accelerating the Innovation Pipeline

Applied Materials drives innovation in a variety of ways, including investing in internal R&D to continue to offer new products and technologies and collaborating with the world’s leading universities, research institutions, industry associations and consortia as well as government entities.We’ve also developed internal programs to advance technology breakthroughs by encouraging and funding disruptive ideas that can accelerate product development.
Areas of Opportunity for Corporate Venture Investing

Areas of Opportunity for Corporate Venture Investing

The past two years have seen a significant decline in the number of venture firms making new investments in the Energy Technology and Semiconductor sectors. As a result, it has become increasingly difficult for private companies raising capital in these sectors.Increasingly, corporate investors are playing a critical role in financing companies in these sectors, with 54% of energy tech and 24% of semiconductor private financing rounds in 2012 including one or more corporate investors1.As the funding for energy tech and semiconductor startups from traditional financing sources has weakened, Applied Ventures continues to be a strong supporter of new thinking that will drive these sectors.
Game Changers: Energy Science, Innovation and the Future of America

Game Changers: Energy Science, Innovation and the Future of America

What does it really mean to change the game in energy technologies? Not to change a single game  – as with a last-second shot at the buzzer, a Hail Mary pass, or a diving catch to close out the inning – but to transform the entire game, with new rules, new technologies, and often-unexpected new results.In the National Laboratory system, we are working on new energy technologies that could transform the ways we generate, store and use energy, and that could protect our environment while recharging our national economy. But as we tackle the fundamental scientific research we need to discover and develop disruptive new energy technologies, it’s worthwhile to ask: What does game-changing technology look like, and what are currently our best prospects for game changers? 
Novel Zero-Power Display Technology from Halation Photonics

Novel Zero-Power Display Technology from Halation Photonics

Picture a future where your bathroom mirror doubles as an information resource, displaying the weather forecast and your daily agenda, and where your vision is precisely enhanced by tunable eyeglasses and windshields. This is a future that Halation Photonics aims to enable. Applied Ventures is proud to join Halation as an investor.The majority of mobile devices today use LCD screens. While these displays are certainly a technical marvel, next generation devices will demand higher efficiency displays that consume significantly less power.Unlike traditional displays that require a backlight and a constant power source, Halation’s multi-stable liquid crystal displays do not require any power to hold an image. In this video, Dan Sun, Halation’s chairman and CTO, explains Halation’s innovative technology and some of its applications.More on Halation's technology after the jump.
LED Market Volatility: Prepare Now for Future Growth

LED Market Volatility: Prepare Now for Future Growth

Growth in LED demand—driven by broad adoption of general lighting applications—is expected to come at a fast, furious and sustained pace which analysts predict may last for a few years before the market once again pauses.The way I see it, the current lull in LED market growth actually may be a great opportunity for LED manufacturers: Those who invest in productivity improvements now, while there is still the luxury of time, could potentially benefit significantly and outpace their competitors during the next high growth cycles.
Applied Materials

Life in the Fast Lane – Electric Vehicle Observations

Recently I had the opportunity to use a Nissan Leaf™ for several full days, a much more interesting exercise than a simple test drive. As someone working in the sustainability area, as a co-chair of the California Clean Cars campaign and as a likely car buyer in 2012 (my current vehicle has over 230,000 miles on it) I am very interested in the electric vehicle (EV) market.Nissan’s Leaf™ is among the handful of low emission cars that are presently authorized to carry a Clean Air Vehicle Sticker, entitling a single occupant to use the carpool lanes during rush hours – a very nice side benefit to EV ownership that helped speed my commute this week.My general impression of EV driving is very favorable.
How do Innovations Become Industries?

How do Innovations Become Industries?

 Click on the graphic to expand the image.We’ve all seen it happen many times, especially during major events such as the post-thanksgiving Black Friday, Cyber Monday and holiday sales: gadgets that were expensively priced for early adopters are suddenly affordable and accessible to the average person, which in turn spur a jump in demand. A 55-inch 3D LED TV, for example, that retailed for more than $3000 USD not too long ago now sells for about $1300 (and it comes with a 3D Blu-ray player and 4 sets of 3D glasses!) Similarly, a respectable laptop PC can cost less than $300 USD these days when they were more than $2000 just a couple years back. My 486 desktop computer used to be two grand! Aside from consumer electronics, we’re seeing similar trends of cost reduction in industries such as solar and LED lighting. A photovoltaic (PV) solar module that used to cost more than $5 per watt five years ago now goes for about $1.50 per watt. LED light bulbs for general lighting sold for more than $40 per bulb in hardware stores two years ago now sell for less than $20, and I am sure they will be comparably priced with today’s CFL bulb in the near future.So how do these incredibly technologically advanced products become so affordable? The answer is technology and scale.