The Silicon Review
“We focus on innovation and we partner with larger companies that manufacture our products in large volumes.”
Nanoramic Laboratories is an industry-leading energy storage technology company and materials solutions innovator based in Boston, MA. Nanoramic’s Neocarbonix™ electrodes for rechargeable Li-ion batteries, Li-ion capacitors, and supercapacitors, are produced using an advanced 3-D nanoscopic carbon binding structure that removes the need for traditional polymer binders and primers. The resulting product provides greater power, energy density, and performance in extreme environments compared to traditional battery designs. Battery and supercapacitor manufacturers utilize Neocarbonix™ to optimize their production process, support product growth, and reduce cost.
Nanoramic was established in 2009 and is headquartered in Boston, MA.
Nicolo Brambilla: Interview Highlights
Can you brief us about the history of your company?
Nanoramic Laboratories was founded by MIT graduates. It started as a FastCAP Systems, specializing in extreme environment energy storage in the form of high-temperature ultra-capacitors capable of operation in conditions up to 150C. Through extensive research and development (R&D) in the energy storage space, we rebranded to Nanoramic and refocused on electrode technology called Neocarbonix™. Nanoramic’sultracapacitor business now operates under the brand name FastCAPUltracapacitors.
The Nanoramic product family also includes Thermexit and FastCAPUltracapacitors. Thermexit™ is a line of high-end thermal interface gap filler pads, a division launched by Nanoramic in 2019. Thermexit gap fillers are non-reactive, non-silicon, no cure system featuring high thermal conductivity, and high thermal stability.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
The biggest initial hurdle was moving from an R&D company, composed of engineers and scientists and funded by grants, to an actual business generating revenue. I think it was very important for us to hire the right business people and to create internal processes that efficiently convert technology into products and products into revenue.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear?
As a company we innovate and we disrupt markets by introducing new technologies. I would say my greatest fear is the unknown, we do not know how things will work out as we do things nobody did before. I manage fear by transforming it into excitement, and by creating an environment where people know that failing is normal as we are trying to innovate. If we don’t fail or we are too comfortable it means we are not innovating enough.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business’ success?
A change in the business model! We recognized that our strength was in technology development: the ability to quickly bring early-stage energy storage technologies to market with well-designed products that work. Initially, we wanted to sell full systems (energy storage, electronics, and software) to customers, but later we realized that our real value-added was the energy storage piece, and more particularly the advanced materials inside the energy storage. Today, our main business model is licensing: we focus on technology and we partner with larger companies that manufacture our products in large volumes.
What other leaders do you look up to, and why?
Elon Musk. He is a visionary and innovator, who truly believe in every business venture he puts his mind to. He isn’t afraid to face obstacles others might find impossible to overcome, thanks to his strong vision. The projects he’s been involved in tackle almost every major industry and global problem, from automotive to telecommunications, to amazing energy! What I like about him, is that he considers initial failure as an option. I am a firm believer of his quote: “A failure is an option here. If things are not failing you are not innovating.”
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting, what would it be?
Execution and timing are the most important factors. Make sure you are surrounded by the right people, who know how to execute and make sure it is the right timing to start the business, in terms of market demand or major pain points to solve.
What are your future focus areas?
Our future focus area is to fully scale and prove our Neocarbonix electrode technology in li-ion batteries for electric vehicles. This market is projected to be a $100B market in 2027 and we are planning to play a major role in this market with the introduction of our electrode technology.
Moreover, as a company, we are striving to disrupt the automotive industry with our Neocarbonix electrode technology. Neocarbonix electrodes make li-ion batteries last longer and charge faster at a lower price. Those are exactly the main pain points that the electric vehicle industry is facing. EVs are “batteries on wheels”. Their performance and cost depend mostly on their batteries. We hope to be one of the businesses that will help to transform the automotive industry and bring electrification in other areas too.
The Dynamic Leader Behind Nanoramic Laboratories: Nicolo Brambillaa
Nicolo Brambilla serves as the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of Nanoramic Laboratories. He is an expert in energy storage and nanotechnologies. Mr. Brambilla joined the company in 2010 and was the first hired employee. He currently leads the technology department to bring disruptive technologies in the field of energy storage and advanced materials to the market. His team successfully developed energy storage technologies such as high-temperature ultracapacitors and electrodes for li-ion batteries that are disrupting the automotive, electronics, aerospace, defense, and energy exploration markets.
Mr.Brambilla was the Principal Investigator of NASA, DoE, and DoD programs. He is a lead author on numerous patents covering nano-materials for energy storage electrodes, electrolytes, and energy storage cells and modules, including Li-ion batteries and supercapacitors. Mr.Brambilla holds a post-graduate degree in Electrical Engineering,an M.Sc. in Micro and Nanotechnologies from the ÉcoleSupérieured’Électricité Paris, and an M.Sc. in Physics Engineering from Politecnico di Milano.
“We hope to be one of the businesses that will help to transform the automotive industry and bring electrification in other areas as well.”