Molecular Glasses is a Rochester-based startup that produces glassy small molecule organic light emitting diode (OLED) materials, called OLEDIQ, for use in such applications as cellular phones, flat screen televisions and specialty lighting. OLEDIQ materials are designed to improve the efficiency and extend the lifetime of OLED displays. They also are compatible with both of the leading manufacturing processes: thermal vacuum deposition and solution printing.
Like any startup, Mark Juba, COO of Molecular Glasses and his team had a need for money. Specifically, they lacked the wherewithal to scale-up supply of OLEDIQ from the few grams required for initial customer assessment to the higher volume needed to enable potential customers to do pilot-scale evaluations.
Molecular Glass applied for FuzeHub’s 2019 Commercialization Competition and won a $50,000 prize. The company is using part of the money to purchase, install and validate a 3-inch single zone sublimator, used to purify its materials. The rest will fund the scale-up of OLEDIQ through the company’s manufacturing partner, an upstate New York chemical manufacturer, with the goal of producing about 100 grams of materials.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed Molecular Glasses’ plans by about six months, the 2019 Commercialization Competition Award did result in the company picking up three additional customers who are now evaluating its materials.
“The money was definitely helpful. It enabled us to do things that frankly would have been quite difficult to do without the funding and the support that was available.”