Why the Potential of Superconductors Could Create Significant Investment Opportunities
The potential of a room-temperature semiconductor could fundamentally reshape the modern economy
The potential of superconductor technology has introduced the world to what could eventually become one of the breakthrough technological discoveries in human history, easily on par with the discovery of electricity, steam power, and generative artificial intelligence. It certainly has the attention of VCs, who immediately grasped how this transformative tech could fundamentally reshape the modern economy.
The LK-99 Experiment
Over the summer, a new, evocative word joined the online discourse: superconductors. From X to Threads, Reddit, and beyond, superconductors and their futuristic applications dominated online discussions. For many, the potential discovery of LK-99 — a room-temperature semiconductor — by South Korean scientists promised levitating trains, nearly limitless cell phone battery life, and the end of range anxiety for EV owners the world over.
Since the reported discovery, the scientific community has largely failed to replicate the initial findings of the LK-99 papers. Moreover, there have been some serious questions about the papers’ methodology and the reputations of its authors. Nonetheless, the intense discussion of this technology has introduced the world to what could eventually become one of the breakthrough technological discoveries in human history, easily on par with the discovery of electricity, steam power, and now generative artificial intelligence. And it certainly has the attention of VCs, who immediately grasped how this transformative tech could fundamentally reshape the modern economy were it to be correctly harnessed.
Neil deGrasse Tyson Explains Superconductors
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Superconductors are materials that can conduct electricity without any resistance when cooled below a certain temperature. This means that they can carry an electric current indefinitely without losing any energy as heat. If such a material were discovered that possessed these physical properties at room temperature, it would transform the way products of every type are designed and built.
Here are three key ways devices made with superconductor technologies would transform our day-to-day lives:
Energy EfficiencySuperconductors transmit electricity with no energy loss, which can lead to significant energy savings in power lines and electric devices. This can help reduce electricity bills and contribute to a more sustainable system.
Powerful MagnetsSuperconductors are used to create powerful magnets that are lighter and more energy-efficient than conventional options. These are used in various applications from MRI machines in hospitals to maglev trains, which can travel at very high speeds with less energy consumption and noise.
Compact and Lightweight DevicesDevices using superconductors can be made smaller and lighter, which can lead to more portable and convenient electronic devices and appliances.
The applications for superconductor technology are similar to the advent of generative AI in that they can be applied to virtually all sectors and industries in some capacity. This could take the form of massive municipal infrastructure investments to build ultra-efficient batteries tied directly to the grid. At a much smaller scale, consumer electronics — including phones — would become incredibly efficient with long battery lives and high reliability. Still on another scale entirely, the ultra-efficient conductor could enable rapid development of infrastructure in low Earth orbit. There are few parts of life the advent of room-temperature superconducting materials would not impact.
Strong Potential for VC Investment
One of the unique qualities of venture capital is the opportunity to back moonshot, industry-changing startups that could result from future discoveries like superconductors — and the possible returns from investing in a startup in its most early stages compared to investing in publicly traded companies. Below are three portfolio companies we’ve invested in that wouldn’t only benefit from a discovery like LK-99, but have in their own right disrupted existing industries.
No matter the next technological breakthrough or revolution, our investment teams stand ready to source high-potential deal opportunities for their investors thanks to our exclusive network and community of investors and entrepreneurs.
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