PolyMaterials App of Hillsborough County
Most entrepreneurs hope that their product or service will be the next big thing. That it will fill a need or void, or be something that people just can’t live without. Though that is the hope of most, that is rarely ever the case.
Dr. Manoj Ram, owner of PolyMaterials App is the exception. He and his team are currently building a supercapacitor that can store a large amount of power and energy.
“What is basically the difference between the battery and supercapacitors is the battery can store a lot of energy, but the energy cannot be added or removed from the battery quickly. A supercapacitor offers high power density with instant charging and discharging and has very long lifetimes compared to a battery. The supercapacitor allows energy to be added or removed quickly due to high power density but you can’t store as much energy as batteries,” Ram explained. “In my patent, we have discovered nanomaterials where we could easily make high-power and also could store large amounts of energy. For example, a lithium battery is something like 200 to 220 watts per hour per kilogram. We are trying to reach both a high power and high energy-based supercapacitor.”
This is an ideal solution for an electric car because you can reduce the time to recharge from hours to minutes.
Though the former University of South Florida professor has the brain power and resources to create this super capacitor, he said he lacks the business knowledge to build a business plan and attract the right investors. So, he turned to the Florida SBDC at University of South Florida.
“I met Mitch Lairmore here at the incubator and it is a very great pleasure working with Mitch,” he said. “Mitch has such great experience not only in business development, he is helping me so much with the logistic support of the investment.”
Ram said that Lairmore has helped build his business plan, set up investment connections and has helped him navigate the SBIR/STTR grant development process so that he can work with the Department of Defense, the Air Force and the Army.
“It’s been a little over one and a half years and I am very confident that any proposal that I submit will get funded,” Ram said. “I feel that the company has got so much support from SBDC and it’s a continuous process. I feel that we have good growth, because we are very close to get some funding.”
Ram is on the track to revolutionize the car industry with his super capacitor. He said that he and Lairmore have built a great professional relationship and attributes a lot of his recent investment success to Lairmore’s help.
“There is a synergy, with what my expectations are and Mitch is always helping me anytime I need help,” he said. “He has never told me, ‘I don’t have time, let’s meet tomorrow.’ Sometimes I have sent him documents at 6:30 pm and I got it back that night. So that is one of the great pleasures working with him and I hope to keep working with him and let the business grow.”