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Friday, Sep 24, 2021
Outlook.com

Fledgling Flight Path

From the point of innovation, the entrepreneur’s struggle begins

Fledgling Flight Path
Illustration by Saahil
Fledgling Flight Path
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
“Cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left of them into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.”

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Last month a retired IIT professor asked me to meet a youngster he was mentoring. The boy had just graduated from one of the NITs in Assam and was convinced he had developed something exciting in the area of self-healing materials. These are polymer matrices with the ability to repair themselves when ruptured, and, as one may expect, are currently at the cutting edge of a host of important applications from medicine to aerospace. He had made a very small quantity of the stuff—less than a kilogram—in the lab and he was excited about taking it to market with his own start-up. As he furiously scribbled polymer chains on his notepad, explaining his concept, I was conscious of mixed feelings. Pride that a college in a Northeast hill state was actually producing passionate students of science and engineering fired up to do...

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