First Stage Investor

New Pick: This Startup Is Leading a Boron Nitride Revolution

New Pick: This Startup Is Leading a Boron Nitride Revolution
By Andy Gordon
Date December 15, 2022

In the article


Valuation $23,700,672
Total Raised $212,374

Note: This recommendation was co-authored by KingsCrowd Investment Research Analyst Teddy Lyons.

Imagine if there was a material that was as strong as steel, but three times lighter. 

Impossible, right?

Well, the startup I’m going to introduce to you today has developed a product like this. 

And it’s on the market right now

Introducing boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs). It’s the material with the best chance of shepherding us into a future with vastly new possibilities. NASA — having spent $40 million on this technology that went nowhere — is very interested in its rare combination of strength and lightness and is eager to further explore its radiation-shielding capabilities. 

That just scratches the surface. It gives aluminum the strength of steel. It gives polyester the strength of kevlar. It can be used for fire prevention, water purification, biomedical purposes, hypersonic flight, green energy, and new composites that challenge our ideas on what materials can do.

So far, there is only one company with a commercially viable manufacturing process for BNNTs. That company is BNNano

BNNano is not offering a garden variety version of nanotubes. They tend to clump together, rendering the nanotubes useless. The company has patented “the NanoBarb.” It looks like rock candy. Its unusual configuration gives it far superior properties than the underperforming nanotubes.

BNNano has introduced several BNNT products to the market already. That’s a big deal in itself. Many companies have tried commercializing BNNTs dating back to the 1990s — without success. Customers are thrilled that a company has finally commercialized a boron nitride product that actually lives up to the decades-long hype of the technology.

The market is huge. BNNTs can be used in a wide range of base materials and commodities. In the U.S., the nanomaterials market is worth $2.86 billion today and expected to grow to $10.8 billion by 2030. With the right products, there is no reason why BNNano shouldn’t be able to capture a large portion of this market. 

Out of the Lab and Into the Factories

Some companies never develop the “right products,” despite having amazing technology. I’ve come across dozens of startups whose technology I love but whose products I hate. It takes but a single miscalculation to doom a product. Too high a price is a common misstep. So is a difficult user experience. 

Developing new and potentially impactful technologies is just half the job. Startups that find ultimate success make sure their products are just as amazing as the technology that has given them life. 

BNNano understands this. It’s not enough that the BNNTs it spent years developing are one of the best — if not the best — rebar solutions available and commercialized. It also required additional work to determine how to best apply it. 

BNNano’s core product is its NanoBarb Powder. When added to commodities, it improves performance, versatility and strength. It also significantly enhances their thermal and electrical properties. This product has achieved great real world results. 

BNNano is continuing to expand its product line to address more specific use cases. To that end, it’s developed a new and incredibly easy-to-use pellet dubbed “Aluminum Master Alloy.” When mixed into molten aluminum, it gives it the strength of steel or titanium. No expertise is required. It’s an off-the-shelf product that’s simple to use. And the results are rather amazing. It doubles the strength of the product it’s mixed with. 

It’s a (relatively) new product. Product adoption is just getting started. But early interest is strong. And the price seems to be right. All signs point to this product putting BNNano on the road to success. 

The company recently released another product that I have high hopes for: polymer filaments for 3D printing manufacturers (also known as “additive manufacturing”). 3D printing is finally coming into its own. And initial interest in this new product is strong — giving BNNano two promising entrants into the nanomaterials market.

One customer that’s particularly interested in BNNano’s alchemic capabilities is True Velocity, an advanced technology and composite manufacturing company that specializes in making next generation ammunition for the military. It wants to replace the brass in various ammunition products with polymer. The early results are encouraging. If proven out, the cost savings would be immense. 

The possibilities are virtually endless. As I said in our original recommendation of BNNano in 2021…

In the next decade, boron nitride technology will likely be deployed in the automotive, aerospace, space, defense, electronics, motors, microelectronics, textiles, metals, plastics, and 3D printing industries.

In metals and 3D printing, those use cases are on the verge of being realized. It’s only a matter of time before the many other uses of BNNTs also become a reality.

BNNano’s challenge is to pick and choose the most promising use cases that can come to fruition in the next two to five years (as opposed to the next five to 10 years). And then make incredibly easy-to-use and irresistible products that advanced materials manufacturers think are too good to be true… until they try them. 

There is room for both optimism and pessimism in that statement.

First, the pessimistic view is that the technology won’t be taken seriously… that it will require aggressive marketing… and that BNNano will fall short in an area (marketing) where it still needs to prove itself. 

The optimistic take? The products outperform and underprice anything else out there that is vaguely similar. Such a scenario is certainly within reach. The technology is real. The products work and are easy to use. And the company — along with its technology and products — is slowly but surely gaining recognition and validation. 

Case in point: The Navy will soon be publishing research that will reference BNNano in scientific journals. 

Leading the Charge

The optimistic scenario is the more likely one, in my opinion. In addition to its remarkable technology, BNNano has the benefit of a deeply experienced leadership team. It has the skill set and fortitude to leverage BNNano’s technology into a dominant material tech company. 

Leading the charge is CEO Steve Wilcenski. Steve has spent his career working with micro- and nano-scale technologies for use in defense, aerospace and consumer electronics. In our numerous conversations, he proved he has a deep understanding of this space. And I am certain he is the person who can bring BNNano to large-scale commercialization. 

Nevertheless, he is not doing it alone (although he probably could). He has recently named an advisory board filled with veteran industry entrepreneurs with deep connections in the defense and aerospace industries. 

There is no doubt that a boron nitride revolution is on the horizon. Its ability to both strengthen and lighten materials is extraordinary and unique. BNNano has emerged as THE key player in this fast-evolving industry. And it is uniquely positioned to capitalize on the continued growth of the space. 

The company already has public sector customers — NASA and the U.S. Navy. The products are commercialized, with more to come. But make no mistake — it will take time for the paradigm shift toward BNNTs to blossom given the technology’s novelty.

Once the ball starts rolling, BNNTs should soon become a household term in the world of manufacturing. And BNNano is best positioned to be the company leading the charge. 

That is something investors should not miss out on. 

Deal Details
Startup: BNNano
Security type: Common equity
Offering Maximum: $3 million
Valuation: $23.7 million
Price per share: $1.87
Minimum investment: $99.11
Where to invest: Netcapital
Deadline: February 28, 2023

How to Invest

BNNano is raising capital on Netcapital. To get started, visit the BNNano raise page. Be sure to review the deal page and offering documents thoroughly before making an investment. When you’re ready, click the yellow “invest” button. Enter in the amount you want to invest, starting as low as $99.11, and then move through the required steps. Make sure that your investment is confirmed, and then you’re good to go.


Startup investing is inherently risky, and startup investors should expect to hold their investments without liquidity for five to 10 years. Never invest more money than you can afford to lose.

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