Pre-Seed Workshop - New York
Pre-Seed Workshop - New York
Pre-Seed Workshop - New York
"The Pre-Seed Workshop is the best approach I have seen to the challenging issue of determining if academic researchers have an idea that can become a commercially successful venture."

Sean Boykevisch
Senior Licensing Associate
Stony Brook University, Long Island

NOHMs Technologies Transforms Paper to Product

“Before the Pre-Seed Workshop, we were basically a company on paper,” recalled Shivaun Archer, PhD, co-founder of NOHMs Technologies. “We had no employees or money--just an idea.” The idea of high energy, battery nanomaterials came from the laboratory of Dr. Archer’s husband, Lynden Archer, PhD, co-founder of NOHMs Technologies and Director of the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Cornell University. NOHMs Technologies is licensing the core technology from the Center for Technology Licensing (CTL) at Cornell (formerly CCTEC). However, since first licensing the technology, NOHMs has developed its own patented technologies but is still closely connected with the University and uses its shared facilities.

When submitting the initial invention to the CTL, Dr. Archer was advised to attend a PSW. Both she and her husband, as well as the post-doctoral associate whose research at Cornell led to NOHMs’ core technology, attended. “For me, it was very eye-opening, and a lot of concepts presented at PSW were new,” said Dr. Archer. “They made more sense with the passage of time and with the experience of building the company, but it is entirely fair to say that my knowledge of starting a company was minimal at best. I worked mostly in academia, and although I did previously work in a small company, it was research based, not product development.”

While at PSW, the team took the first baby steps in defining a product to meet a unique set of needs. They had a great idea on paper but knew they had to find a way to market the product. Working with battery materials, the team initially thought of the consumer battery and electric vehicle markets. After PSW, they decided a more realistic near-term target niche lay in military batteries. “We are aiming for proof-of-concept with the military,” explained Dr. Archer. “We do have technologies that will be great with electric vehicles, but that is in the future, and consumer batteries are a competitive market to break into. PSW made us think of the market and our realistic share of a very large market.”

Soon after PSW, NOHMs technologies made a grand-slam with its first grant: Airforce SBIR Phase 1 funding. They also hired their first two employees, one of whom is their current Chief Development Officer. NOHMs now employs 16 people and has obtained approximately $4 million in federal and state grants and $1.3 million in private investment. Located in Eastman Kodak Business Park in Rochester, the team has benefitted from the expertise of previous Kodak and GM employees with experience in coating technologies and in batteries.

In her experience with NOHMs Technologies, Dr. Archer has learned to be realistic. “Do not expect overnight success,” she said. “It takes a long time to obtain money and build a corporate culture, especially when coming from academia. When we made our timeline, we said, ‘Two years until we make it to market.’ Now, four years later, we are nearly there and expect to be selling battery materials for electrolytes and electrodes in the next year or two. PSW gave us a good starting point to hit all the bullets--knowing our football and the importance of the team.” Although the process of transitioning an idea from paper to the market takes time and commitment, Dr. Archer highly recommends the experience.

Want to learn more about Pre-Seed Workshop alumni, their experiences, and progress? Check out our Alumni Stories by clicking here.