MC10 Banks $10M, Wends Its Way Into Digital Health, Consumer Tech
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how to cash in on emerging trends in home monitoring, personal analytics, mobile health, and biosensors. The big challenge for the startup, as I see it, is that it has new technology to sell to generally risk-averse companies; and it has a huge array of possible applications to pursue, including some really transformative long-range stuff, so it has to focus on the right areas at the right times.
To that end, Icke says, “You have to stay focused to really deliver on the things you’re working on.” He adds that MC10 is something like 80 to 90 percent focused on its current projects for customers. “Ten percent of our time, at the management level, we entertain longer-term growth initiatives.” That could mean government grants, or working with academic research groups on far-out projects. (Incidentally, co-founder Rogers and his collaborators published an intriguing paper this year on dissolvable, “transient” electronics.)
I asked Icke which companies that have come before he would consider role models for MC10’s growth. He named Gore, the materials company; Corning, the glass firm; and chipmaker Qualcomm, for its strategy in fabless semiconductors and broad tech-industry reach.
For now, MC10 is pushing 30 employees and is about to move into a larger office space in town. The company is gearing up to do product concept demos—which will include various biostamp applications—at the International CES expo in Las Vegas next month. So there’s plenty of device testing going on at headquarters (see lab photo). But the magnitude of the longer-term business challenge is not lost on Icke.