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ITEC Pre-Seed Fund Makes Award to 10x Technology, LLC

November 1, 2006 | by Megan Fellman

EVANSTON, Ill. --- The Illinois Technology Enterprise Center at Northwestern University (ITEC-Evanston) has invested $25,000 in 10x Technology LLC, a privately held company specializing in the production of micro- and nano-structured materials. The company is located in Libertyville, Ill.

10x brings industry a disruptive, proprietary technology for manufacturing micro- and nano-structured polymer substrates ranging from thin films to thick plastics. The 10x platform is a flexible, continuous manufacturing process that quickly adapts to a wide range of products. This is the eighth investment ITEC has made from its pre-seed fund for technology startup companies.

Robert Pricone, the company's president and founder, previously developed one of the original patent estates for continuously manufacturing micro-structured polymer materials. His early patents are a technology benchmark for commercializing the first micro-prismatic retro-reflective sheeting for traffic signs in 1986 (now a $1.5 billion market). Pricone holds nine patents and has filed 11 additional patent applications, all in the field of micro-replication.

ITEC-Evanston was not only impressed by Pricone's background and experience but also with the new technology's compelling value proposition and applicability to a number of markets. “We are quite excited to be involved with the company,” said Jeff Coney, director of ITEC-Evanston. “It has been clear to us from the outset that the company's technology addresses a number of industry pains -- most importantly reducing material and production costs while increasing production speed (by up to a factor of 10). 10x Technology is truly poised for high growth.”

10x generates revenue from three main sources. First, the company will manufacture and supply high-value micro- and nano-structured products. Second, 10x will license its technology and offer complete solutions to original equipment manufacturers looking to develop in-house manufacturing capabilities for micro-structured products. Finally, the company will provide contract engineering and research and development services to support new product designs and set up manufacturing lines.

ITEC-Evanston was established in 2000 as a partnership between Northwestern University and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to provide technology commercialization assistance services relevant to the formation, growth and retention of early-stage technology companies in Illinois. Since its inception, ITEC-Evanston has served more than 350 entrepreneurs and early-stage companies and assisted the formation of more than 50 new ventures. ITEC-Evanston clients have received more than $85 million in venture, debt and grant financing.