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DOE SBIR Success Story

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DOE SBIR Success Story
Source: DOE Success Story ( click here to go to the source)

Featured firm in this article: ColnaTec LLC of Gilbert, AZ

SBIR enabled Wendy Jameson and Scott Grimshaw to test and grow their new thin-film technology without giving away equity.

Colnatec manufactures advanced film thickness monitoring tools and provides process engineering services for organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), thin film solar, and semiconductor manufacturing. Colnatec is the only company in the world designing and building high-temperature and temperature-controlled sensor systems for the harsh conditions necessary for making high-efficiency thin film solar cells and next generation, high-speed electronics.
SBIR Grant(s) Received

Phase I and Phase II DOE SBIR for "Self Cleaning Process Control Sensor for Thin Film Solar Cell Manufacturing"
Uses of SBIR Grant

Funding paid for engineering services, prototype development, materials, and laboratory testing to create a closed-loop film thickness monitoring system capable of stable operation in a high-vacuum deposition process at extreme temperatures (500°C+). System includes crystal sensor, sensor holder ("head"), and control electronics.

Colnatec has sold advanced sensor systems to: 10 OLED manufacturers, several system builders or research institutes in Europe, Asia, and the USA (e.g., Samsung); eight semiconductor equipment manufacturers in Europe, Asia, USA, and India; and five solar manufacturers/equipment builders in USA and Europe. It has a sales and distribution network of more than 15 companies or representatives that covers all countries of Europe, Scandinavia, and UK, plus China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia, and the USA, with sales in excess of $1,000,000 a year and growing.

2011 Arizona Commerce Authority Innovation Challenge Grant recipient
2012 Arizona Commerce Authority Fast Grant recipient
Frost & Sullivan 2011 "New Product Innovation Award"
Contributor to White House "Blueprint for an America Built to Last: Manufacturing"
Selectee, Inaugural Silicon Innovation Forum (SIF) Pitch Zone, SEMICON West, San Francisco, July 2013
Wendy Jameson, CEO, named White House "Champion of Change"
Wendy Jameson, CEO, named Phoenix Business Journal "Tech Titan"
Wendy Jameson, CEO, named 2013 "50 Most Influential Women in Arizona Business"

How the SBIR grant helped the business

Funding from the DOE SBIR enabled the development of a multi-use, multi-industry tool that would otherwise have gone undeveloped. At a time of great recession, when capital markets were largely closed, this funding enabled Colnatec to develop a new technology and manufacturing process that provides important solutions to thin film manufacturing challenges (including increased energy efficiency), close sales in multiple countries, and provide jobs for 15 people.
"SBIR allows small business to compete for dollars that typically go toward larger, more established companies."

"The SBIR system is critical for innovation in manufacturing, especially for exploratory new science that most venture and private equity firms won't invest in. It allows small business to compete for dollars that typically go toward larger, more established companies and enables them--the most nimble and adventurous--to contribute to science and technology without risking their entire business. Without SBIR funding, innovation in science and technology, particularly for manufacturing and other capital-intensive technologies with long ROI horizons, is seriously at risk in America."

Founder/CEO: Co-founders CEO Wendy Jameson and CTO/COO Scott Grimshaw
Industry: Thin Film Manufacturing Equipment