22nd August 2022

UbiQD- Leveraging quantum dots to improve crop yield & harvesting sunlight to generate electricity

Show Notes 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. Show Notes: - 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) - https://ubigro.com - 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/ Listen Now https://www.labtostartup.com/ubiqd-leveraging-quantum-dots-to-improve-crop-yield-harvesting-sunlight-to-generate-electricity/