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Think big
"VCs don't want to be big fish in little ponds," says Rick Luebbe, CEO of EnerG2, a Seattle startup that engineers nanoscale materials for a new breed of high-performance energy-storage systems. "They want a market that's big enough to provide big returns on their investment."

Although Luebbe won't quantify EnerG2's market, he notes that ultracapacitators made from EnerG2 materials could enhance everything from hybrid vehicle batteries to smart electrical grid technology. The company raised $8.5 million in venture financing in November.

James A. Datin, managing director at Safeguard Scientifics, a venture firm based in Wayne, Pa., likes to see products with a potential market of at least $500 million a year. Last September, Safeguard led a syndicate that invested $12 million in Molecular Biometrics, the Boston IVF startup. Datin was impressed by statistics showing that infertility afflicts 7.3 million people in the U.S. and many millions more worldwide.

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LAST UPDATE: Apr 21 2009 | 10:57 AM ET
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