Dr. Jerome Palaganas – The story of Nanomaterials scientist to Co-founder & CEO of Nanotronics Inc.

2022-04-29T05:02:14+00:00Apr 17, 2022|

Born as a young engineer in the semiconductor industry with more than 2 decades of experience and expertise in the field of R&D (research and development), Dr. Jerome Palaganas – co-founder & CEO of Nanotronics Inc., has successfully started the production of sustainable nanotechnology materials from highly renewable indigenous plants. It is also the result of the day and night efforts of him and the founding team.

Let’s find out with TaoStartup about the story of this special guest!

Can you please introduce yourself and your startup journey?

Hello, I am Dr. Jerome Palaganas, a nanomaterials scientist working in the field of nanotechnology materials (nanomaterials) and additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing technology). Complementing this background, I have advanced disciplines in materials science and engineering, and business administration.

On the other hand, I came from the semiconductor industry with over 2 decades of professional experience and expertise in the areas of R&D, new product introduction, technology development, process engineering, program management, and business development. My background in nanomaterials coupled with the rich natural resources of our country, the Philippines has inspired and motivated me to build a startup focusing on advanced and sustainable nanomaterials derived from highly renewable indigenous plants.

Can you tell us about your previous projects/ startups/ work experience? Which impresses/ teaches you the most?

Early in my professional career, I was fortunate to work in 3 different product line startups at two different companies. These experiences provided the needed training which has ingrained in me the disciplines, skills, and mindset on how to thrive in a startup environment.

In addition, my stint as a program manager, handling blue-chip accounts (stocks issued by large market capitalization and reputable companies) in the corporate, and taking a lead role in new product introduction helped me further developed my leadership, communication, project management, cross-cultural relationship,  and cross-functional management skills. Overall, it can be said that those wonderful experiences have had a significant impact on shaping the person that I become today.

What are 3 words to describe yourself? And why do you choose these words?

If there are 3 words to describe me, I think it is “Learner”, “Passion” and “Goal Orientation” more specifically:

First, “Learner” – in fact, I am a person who loves to learn things and is very eager to be able to apply them; the sources of knowledge I often learn can be from books, online courses from experts, and webinars.

Second, “Passion” – when I do something, I see to it that I deliver my very best whether in the personal or professional aspects of my life. Sometimes, I tend to lose track of time doing something that I love.

Finally, “Goal Orientation” – even at a young age, I always set goals to myself, especially the long-term ones. Once achieved, new goals will always be set. Over the years, I raised the bar and challenged myself to achieve more challenging goals which also apply to my business and to my startup.

What would you do in your free time outside work? Why do you choose such activities?

When I have free time, I see to it that I do walking exercise regularly with my wife. Not only is it a form of exercise, but it’s also a good time to strategize and formulate goals.

In addition, I love to cook for the family. Preparing, cooking, and serving good delicious food to my loved ones in a way is a form of bonding with them. Likewise, I love watching good movies with the family to relax, enjoy and bond with them.

What is your source of motivation to continue your business despite the hardships?

For me, the inspirational figures are Elon Musk and Steve Jobs and their working philosophies. I subscribe to their philosophies of:

  • Finding your passion
  • Really liking what you do
  • Believe in what you do
  • Giving your very best
  • Never give up

What is your favorite book/ source of business information or one that you would recommend to others?

I have lots of great books that I truly love. But the book that inspired me to become an entrepreneur is “How to become a CEO” – by Jeffrey J. Fox. Until now, I still keep this book in my personal library collection, having purchased it from Amazon way back in 1997.

During that time, I was just starting my career as a young engineer in the semiconductor industry. But of course, at that time I was looking forward to putting up my own venture.

What is a quote/ philosophy that you stand by? Why?

For me, the quote that I stand by and have an impact on me is “What your mind can conceive, your body can achieve“.

I realized that self-efficacy and goal setting are two key principles in achieving anything in life.

What are your greatest losses doing a startup?

I would not say that there are great losses in doing a startup but of course, there are trade-offs like anything we do in our career or in life in general.

For instance, there are certain corporate perks that I missed now that I am working full time in a startup. On the contrary, several opportunities have opened which I could not have experienced nor realized if I were just working an 8 to 5 job.

What is the greatest challenge in your startup journey? Why did that occur? How did you overcome it?

Like any other startup, the biggest challenge in our journey is funding. Our field, nanotechnology, is very capital intensive. Therefore, in order to produce MVP (Minimum Viable Product), it is important to secure funding for us to set up a lab at the very least.

Fortunately, an opportunity with the Philippine Department of Science and Technology came to us. Having known this information, we immediately applied. Despite the long and arduous process in doing the grant application, we did our very best and were fortunate enough to secure the grant which enabled us to set up our pilot production facility and subsequently produced our MVP in 2018.

What are your future plans for your startup?

Our goal is to position Nanotronics in the Philippines as a premier producer and supplier of nanomaterials products in the industry. Optimistically, we look at penetrating the Asian market within 2-3 years. Subsequently, we intend to establish markets also in Europe and in the US.

Simultaneously, we plan to continue increasing our existing production capacity to match the growing production demands of both existing and new clients between now and in the next 5 years.

Furthermore, we look forward to releasing new and relevant products leveraging our existing nanomaterials in the next 5 years. Please watch out for our new product releases soon.

Your advice/ message to future startup founders?

Here are some words of advice that I wish to share with future startup founders.

First, you have to find and build a great team – with background, education, and experience which are complementing each other.

Second, create and build a product that not only solves a real industry problem but also has several layers of distinct competitive advantage.

Third, find good mentors. Good mentors can provide a lot of value-added and mileage to your startup.

Fourth, always listen to your customers. They are a good source of product iterations and new products that have good market fit.

Last but not least, build and work with reliable partners – your suppliers, vendors, channels, etc. You cannot build your product(s) alone without the valuable support from your key partners.

TaoStartup Community sincerely thanks for the interesting sharing about your entrepreneurial journey.

Source: https://taostartup.asia/dr-jerome-palaganas-the-story-of-nanomaterials-scientist-to-the-co-founder-ceo-of-nanotronics-inc/