CEO interview: Guillaume de Calan, Nanoe
Ceramics Expo caught up with previous conference speaker Guillaume de Calan from Nanoe to discuss what it takes to be CEO of a company like Nanoe.
Guillaume created Nanoe during his engineering studies at École Centrale, as a spin-off from Centrale’s laboratories. He has since then been awarded several prizes, including the French Research Ministry’s prize for innovative companies, and has transformed Nanoe from a start-up to a renowned European provider of ceramic raw materials.
He was also a speaker at Ceramics Expo (2015 and 2016) and on the École Centrale Paris entrepreneurship course, and has participated in Technical Congress and workshops on nanotechnologies and ceramic raw materials, such as workshops of the French cluster of ceramic industry (Pôle Européen de la Céramique) and C’Nano Ile de France.
Please tell us about your current role. What are your key focus areas and responsibilities?
As head of Nanoe, my role is to oversee changes in our organization and chose strategic directions. My focuses are on commercial development, new product launch, and strategic decisions. I also represent the company to the outside world and especially at the major ceramic industry events.
What inspired you to join/start this company?
Nanoe is a spin-off from a French lab specializing in advanced materials. When we started, we had the ambition to develop new advanced materials to be used in major industrial innovations. We started with a synthesis technology that enables us to produce nanomaterials in industrial quantities at reasonable cost, and we quickly focused on several industries: biomedical, semiconductor, technical ceramics, and energy storage.
What do you think sets your company apart from your competitors?
As a new player in the high-tech material industry we have a strong focus on innovation and new product development. This led us to develop specialized products for our customers’ industries, such as ZTA25 (Zirconia Toughened Alumina) for the medical industry, ZTA10 for wear parts, and yttrium oxide for semiconductor. By providing such specialized materials we allow our customers to get better properties, longer service time, and, in the end, better profitability.
Over the years, we also started common R&D projects with our main customers to develop materials dedicated to their applications, such as energy storage. We have the ability to transfer these developments into industrial productions.
What are the key opportunities and challenges your company faces at present?
We see opportunities in new markets, new technologies, and new applications. At the moment, Nanoe is mainly present in Europe, but we see the American market as a huge opportunity for us because of its high-tech and dynamic industry. As for technologies, we see additive manufacturing as an opportunity for the raw materials suppliers. Regarding the applications, we develop new products for the energy and aerospace industries.
Are there any new technology developments that you are working on at the moment? Can you tell us about them?
Ware currently working on compliant materials for additive manufacturing. Come and meet us at our booth #304 for more details.
What would you say most excites you about your role?
Advanced materials are at the origin of most of the great industrial innovations. It is very exciting to anticipate evolutions and to work on the materials of the future.
How do you think the industry will develop within the next five years? Can you tell us about the key trends emerging?
Industries, such as aerospace, are increasingly demanding regarding the properties of the materials. New requirements include lighter materials that are able to resist extreme conditions of temperature, corrosion, and mechanical stress. This evolution will increase the demand for high-tech ceramics.
What do you hope to achieve at the show next year, and what connections do you hope to make?
This show is the occasion for us to meet new customers in the US, which is our main focus for commercial development. We are also looking for commercial partners who could distribute our products in the US.
Nanoe is exhibiting at Ceramics Expo 2018 at Booth 304.