I love Harris & Harris (Nasdaq: TINY ) for the little things -- the very little things, to be precise. This publicly traded venture-capital firm and Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick has been specializing in nanotechnology-related investments for more than a decade, and it remains one of the best "pure play" investments in the field of nanotechnology.
Harris & Harris first made an impression on me when it bought into a promising nanotech company called Molecular Imprints. MI offers the semiconductor industry step-and-flash nanoimprint lithography equipment, capable of etching chips at resolutions below 20 nanometers. As Moore's Law (basically, that computer chips will keep getting cheaper and more powerful over time) continues to relentlessly work its way down the measuring scale, MI's technology could soon have many semiconductor manufacturers clamoring for it.
But my love for Harris & Harris goes beyond that. I love how it keeps its relationship spicy by making investments across a wide variety of industries, including semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, material sciences, and energy, to name just a few. Things are never boring with this company, to say the least.
I also love how the Innovalight -- a nanotech start-up seeking to incorporate silicon nanocrystals into a solar-cell printing process -- hits its hair. I also love the quirky nature of its investments in companies such as D-Wave, a Canadian-based start-up that's developing a quantum computer.
I further love how Harris & Harris helps me see things more clearly, as evidenced by its recent investment in Xradia, which designs and manufactures ultra-high resolution 3-D X-ray microscopes and fluorescent imaging systems.
Some of its investments have even opened doors to bigger possibilities for me, through their partnerships or working relationships with larger companies. For instance, Nanosys is working with Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) , and Molecular Imprints has already sold equipment to Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ ) and Motorola (NYSE: MOT ) .
But in the end, my love for Harris & Harris really just boils down to chemistry -- in the form of such investments as Evolved Nanomaterials Science, which seeks to help chemists separate, screen, purify, and enrich chiral molecules. In turn, that should help pharmaceutical companies manufacture new drugs more effectively, quickly, and safely.
It notices the little things. It keeps the relationship interesting. And it isn't afraid to mix things up on occasion. In short, Harris & Harris has it all.
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