Making magic with materials
ET Polymers|August - September 2020
Making magic with materials
Akshay Singhal, Founder & CEO, Log 9 Materials narrates his start up journey and his quest of commercialization of Graphene-based novel products to provide immediate benefits to the masses.
Niranjan Mudholkar

I understand that Log 9 Materials started its journey in December 2015. What was the motivation in starting this organization and how has been the journey since then?

The inception of Log 9 Materials happened while I was doing my Bachelors at IIT-Roorkee. Since young age, I was inspired by my grandfather Mr. Vipin Kumar, who was a scientist working at NPL New Delhi; he was to first person who introduced me to the world of nanotechnology and science. During my graduation years at IIT-Roorkee, while doing my research in nanotechnology, Graphene caught my eye as the next big thing for the nanotech and material science domain. Coincidentally, during that time, I came in touch with a professor in the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Prof. (Dr.) Indranil Lahiri, who had already completed his Ph.D. in Graphene from US. After working with him for almost a year on a number of projects, I was convinced that a Graphene venture was something I really wanted to pursue.

Hereafter, with the financial support of my parents, I established Log 9 Materials as a Graphene nanotechnology R&D company, researching and working on developing innovative products for the immediate applications and betterment of mankind. Soon we received incubation capital of Rs. 15 lakhs from IIT-Roorkee’s Incubation Centre, and from that point onwards, there was no looking back. I also met our co-founder. Kartik Hajela at IIT-Roorkee, and together we went on to build India’s leading Graphene start-up.

The journey of Log 9 over the years has been full of ups and downs. But for me, personally and professionally, the journey has been quite gratifying. From starting-up in the backyard of my house with just an idea and vision, we went on to raise successive rounds of seed, Pre-Series A and Series-A funding through 2017, 2018 and ’19, expanding our team and internal capabilities, and developing an array of amazing products leveraging the power of Graphene and nanotechnology.

Log 9 Materials is a rather strange name. What does it mean and what is its genesis?

By simplifying calculations, logarithms or Log tables/values have contributed over the years towards the advancement of the various branches of science. Basically, 10 to the power minus 9 meters is 1 Nanometer (nm), and the thickness of Graphene is less than 1 nm. 1 nm being equivalent to 10 to the power minus 9 meters, we took a cue from this and that is why the company was named Log 9 Materials (referring to nanomaterials).

What has been the reason behind focusing on Graphene, which has been touted as the strongest but very difficult to work with the material?

Graphene is widely known as a ‘wonder material’ amongst the global scientific community, and its existence has been known to mankind for many years now; however, it has not seen much of commercialization yet owing to a number of perceived factors.

When I was in college studying material engineering, I saw various newly discovered materials that were coming up, but most of these materials were saturated in terms of scope of improvement as well as functional applications. So, I realized the need for working on a new material having superior qualities, and when I came across Graphene, my mind was blown.

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August - September 2020