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2 September 2013

Kyma CEO Keith Evans takes role as NSF I-Corps program business mentor

Kyma Technologies Inc of Raleigh, NC, USA, which provides crystalline gallium nitride (GaN), aluminum nitride (AlN) and aluminum gallium nitride (AlGaN) materials and related products and services, has announced the participation of its CEO, Keith Evans, in the role of business mentor for a UNC Charlotte led team in the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (NSF I-Corps) program.

The primary aim of NSF I-Corps is to foster entrepreneurship that will lead to the commercialization of technology that has been supported previously by NSF-funded research. I-Corps Teams have three essential members: the principal investigator, the entrepreneurial lead and the mentor. Over a period of six months, each I-Corps Team learns what it will take to achieve an economic impact with its innovation.

The principal investigator for the team is professor Edward Stokes, professor of electrical and computer engineering at UNCC. His graduate student Matthew Conway took on the role of entrepreneurial lead.

Over the past couple of years, with support from NSF’s Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) program, professor Stokes’ research group has been developing a High-Pressure MOCVD for III-Nitride Semiconductor Devices. The group’s high pressure MOCVD tool design benefits from advanced computer flow dynamics (CFD) simulations carried out by UNCC professor Mesbah Uddin, associate professor of mechanical engineering and engineering science and director of motorsports.

In the I-Corps program, the team evaluated a number of business models with a goal of finding one or more exciting paths for commercialization of the high pressure MOCVD technology.

“Our team learned an enormous amount during the ‘customer discovery’ process about the needs and perspectives of potential commercial users of our research,” Stokes said. “Their answers to our questions were not always what we thought they would be. The i-Corps program was especially beneficial in giving all the participating graduate students a crash course in real-world business. Finally, we deeply appreciated the opportunity to interact closely during the process with an experienced CEO like Keith Evans as our mentor,” he adds.

“The I-Corps program is an outstanding opportunity for academics with potentially disruptive technologies to experience both the exhilaration and the many challenges of a high-tech startup experience,” said Evans. “Ed and Matt put a lot of quality time and energy into it, and the program helped us to gain critically important insight into several business growth opportunities, including but not limited to those which might benefit from HP MOCVD.”

Tags: Kyma MOCVD GaN


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