In This Issue
Dynasil Continues Acquisition Roll
On December 20, 2007 Dynasil Corporation of America (OTCBB: DYSL.OB)announced that it has entered into a Letter of Intent to acquire a privately-owned advanced instrumentation company. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Dynasil Chairman, James Saltzman stated: "This acquisition, if completed, should more than triple the size of Dynasil. Including this transaction, we should have a compound annual growth rate exceeding 100% since implementing our growth strategy three years ago."
According to its website, Dynasil was founded in 1960 to provide synthetic fused silica for military radar applications, and gained national recognition as NASA acknowledged the capability of its material to withstand the thermal shock and radiation effects of deep space. As the aerospace and laser optics industries grew in the 1970's, so did Dynasil, supplying a line of products known for purity and high UV transmittance.
Dynasil is currently an $11 million manufacturer of photonics products including optical materials, components, coatings and specialized sub-systems. It has business units in New Jersey (Dynasil Headquarters), Massachusetts (Optometrics, acquired in 2005) and Upstate New York (EMF, acquired in 2007) that manufacture optical components and subassemblies for a broad range of markets including display systems, optical instruments, satellite communications and lighting.
"We are excited about this opportunity," remarked CEO and President, Craig T. Dunham, "It represents the addition of significant, new capability sets to Dynasil and greatly expands our portfolio of medical and general instrumentation."
The company to be acquired has developed and manufactured instruments with high growth potential, which are sold into the medical, environmental sensing and quality assurance markets. It also has a significant research and development team performing a number of government contracts for the Department of Homeland Security and other major federal agencies.
"With its advanced research capabilities, we expect that this R&D facility will enable us to obtain both Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) and non-SBIR government funding to offset some of the cost of developing new, high technology products," Dunham explained. "The acquisition would be transformational for Dynasil in that it would move us from a predominantly component-based supply company to an instrumentation company with a considerable IP portfolio, extensive technology capability and significantly increased cash flow."
The Letter of Intent plans a Spring 2008 closing. Among other things, the transaction is contingent on negotiation and execution of definitive agreements, successful due diligence and obtaining necessary financing. It also calls for employment of the current principals to assist with a smooth transition to Dynasil ownership.
Dynasil has acquired two other companies during the last three years and has delivered significant performance improvements at all three of its business units. Descriptions of Dynasil’s strategy and performance are contained in its 10-KSB annual report which was released on December 20, 2007.
G-S Acquires Tooling
Addition of 3M Tooling Increases Capabilities
GSPO, having an extensive line of molded optics available directly through its catalog, said this acquisition not only complements the existing product offering but allows customers the opportunity to source a very wide range of molded aspheric optics all from the GSPO web site.
GSPO has expanded its offering by some 39 different types of lenses. The 21 aspheric lenses have diameters of 3mm, 6mm, 12mm, 25mm, and 30mm, with f/numbers ranging between f/1 and f/4 in the smaller diameters up to f/6 in the larger diameters. These lens specifications apply to PMMA (acrylic). There are 10 plano/spherical convex lenses that range in diameter between 6.8mm and 50mm that will be available in different materials, such as PMMA and Styrene. Finally, there are 8 spherical bi-convex lenses ranging from 7.0mm to 38.1mm in diameter, available in PMMA. All of the injection molded lenses are high precision optics and are suitable for use in many types of applications such as scanners, detectors, fiber optics, and for collimating purposes.
William Beich, Director of New Business Development, stated, "Having a one-stop source available for off-the-shelf optics is critical in today's fast-paced research environment. Engineers responsible for sourcing polymer optics will be able to reduce their lead-time and cost while at the same time benefit from having a wide selection of precision molded optics available to them. The GSPO on-line catalog will be updated over the next several months; meanwhile, our application engineers can assist in the selection of appropriate lenses."
Lasers & Photonics Marketplace Seminar
Photonics West / BiOS
January 19-24, San Jose CA
There is still time to have your literature on hand at the New York Photonics tabletop at Photonics West, and/or to have your name added to the staff list manning the booth. Contact Tom Battley at (585) 329-4029 if you are interested.
This year over 75 companies from New York State will be exhibiting at Photonics West and the conferences convening around it: Biomedical Optics (BiOS), LASE, and MOEMS-MEMS. New York forms will be exhibiting and presenting light-based technologies that enable medical devices, research projects, defense & security applications, consumer products, telecommunications, instrumentation and optical manufacturing. Did we leave something out?
Don't you be left out! Be there.
Each year it seems space gets tighter at Photonics West. SPIE continues to grow the conference, which has to be its biggest money-maker, and every company that registers wants to be in the Main Hall. For several years New York Photonics has proposed establishing the New York Cluster at SPIE by purchasing the entire 300 Aisle in the Main Hall as raw space, and allocating the space to our members. Seems it's not that easy with more and more companies demanding to be in the conference and the AON system as a buffer / par for allocating space to companies with "seniority."
To make matters more difficult, several New York companies with seniority have grown their footprints in the 300 aisle, forcing other members out. Seems unlikely that an extra ten feet of booth space returns a commensurate sales increase, but every member of the New York Cluster has grown in the past few years and it is hard to dissuade a growing company with seniority from spreading out when they are able to under the AON system. AON is supposed to be a fair allocation system but it is very mysterious in this regard.
It is never too early to remind exhibitors: return your early-bird registrations to SPIE as soon as possible after the Photonics West Conference. And be sure to check the box requesting to exhibit with the New York Cluster. It would seem with 75 exhibitors paying for booth space that we might make some headway with SPIE.
Training will be provided by the Greenwood Consulting Group. Gail and Jim Greenwood, nationally recognized SBIR/STTR trainers, will provide a full-day SBIR training seminar Tuesday, January 15, 2008. (exact times to be announced)
The seminar will focus on Phase-2 SBIR/STTR proposals and budgeting and will include:
The seminar will end with a summary of government cost accounting as it pertains to SBIR/STTR proposals and projects.
Dr. Eugene Fram, the J. Warren McClure Research Professor of Marketing at The Rochester Institute of Technology, recently delivered a lecture about organizational conflict between sales and marketing groups in entrepreneurial companies. I'm generally skeptical about lectures by business school profs, but I attended this one since I respect Dr. Fram. His research and conclusions resonated with me because I was accustomed to seeing this problem's root cause while I was a venture capitalist working with start-ups.
Dr. Fram identified a common pattern that often jeopardizes the long-term viability of a growing business. If confronted and addressed early on, a start-up's long-term prospects are improved. Basically, start-ups are propelled by generating sales as quickly as possible. This sense of urgency isn't bad, but it often comes at the expense of adequately executing the planning and research associated with the discipline of marketing.
It's important to have a clear understanding of marketing in order to prevent this problem. Too often entrepreneurs conflate sales and marketing, treating them as one area or department. Although they often work together they are two different disciplines. Marketing involves the research and analysis that leads to knowledge about the customer, competitors, sales channels and pricing. If properly executed, it will be integrated with product development, finance and sales. Some of its tools are advertising, public relations, trade shows and web sites.
Meanwhile, salespeople are on the frontline with customers. They may work with channel partners for companies using indirect sales, or face-to-face with the end user for a direct sales organization. The two groups ought to have a frictionless relationship since the data the sales people acquire from prospects and clients needs to feed back into marketing's knowledge base. Conversely, marketing must co-ordinate with the sales people in order to implement its plan.
Start ups are often too resource-constrained to have "departments," so team members often wear multiple hats. In particular, the entrepreneur is expected to be a "jack of all trades." So how can a relatively small, growing business avoid the pitfalls that may jeopardize its long-term viability?
The entrepreneur has to recognize the importance of marketing from the start. I even suggest that he assume the title of Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), regardless of his previous experience or qualifications for the job. As a venture capitalist, beyond my assessment of management's capabilities, the next most important judgment I made pertained to the soundness of the marketing plan. Even with high tech companies the quality of the technology was of no greater importance than that of the marketing plan.
So in addition to all the other tasks an entrepreneur is responsible for, am I really suggesting that he assume the role of CMO? Yes. But, in this capacity I recommend investing in proper marketing support. That might mean making a marketing director an early hire or resorting to a contract employee or consultant. If the company has a board of advisors or directors, which I highly recommend, a marketing professional can be invited to join and augment internal resources.
If marketing is accorded an equivalent degree of importance to sales from the beginning, the organization is less likely to confront the problems Dr. Fram so aptly described. The management team will be able to build its organizational structure in a way that avoids costly pitfalls and increases the probability for long-term success.
Solar Technology Powers Race
In its twentieth year, the Panasonic World Solar Challenge has become increasingly relevant, especially in a year when gasoline prices hit record levels and even SUV owners have begun eyeing "hybrid" technologies. Sure, they use a lot of solar cells (six square meters), but the cars cross Australia from South to North - 3,000 Km - on solar power at speeds averaging over 50mph!
The Nuon Solar Car Team (Netherlands) has won the race a number of times including this year. In November their car, the Nuna, averaged over 55mph.
Apparently there are no entries from New York, although Stanford, Houston, Phoenix, Oregon and Michigan are represented. A high school team from Australia made it 1050 Km this year. Tech transfer from satellite technologies and other high technology efforts and organizations plays a powerful role in the collaborative efforts.
Copyright 2008, Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster, Inc.
New York Photonics and The Rochester Regional Photonics Cluster (RRPC) are not-for-profit organizations founded to promote and enhance the New York State photonics, optics and imaging industry by fostering the cooperation of business, academia and government.