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No Shortcuts for STEM Startup Star, Paul Lichty

Forge Nano CEO seeks to change the world, and in Colorado that earns him Top Young Pro status


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PAUL LICHTY, 33

CEO, FORGE NANO, LOUISVILLE

Lichty and his co-founders launched Forge Nano in a garage lab with a big vision: to enable materials solutions that will change the world. As Ph.D. candidates at the University of Colorado in 2013, he and Dave King invented an Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) manufacturing process, or a process for applying a one-atom-thick coating to the surfaces of materials. In 2016 and 2017, Lichty helped Forge Nano secure millions of dollars in Series A funding from strategic investors.

The company currently has 26 employees and more than 60 customers worldwide, half of which are Fortune 500 companies. Forge Nano received grants from the Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Lab and the U.S. Navy to help further the technology. As a Colorado Trade Grant recipient, the company represents the Centennial State’s advanced manufacturing industry on a global stage — most recently in Germany at the largest manufacturing trade show in the world.

In 2016, Forge Nano was selected as a finalist for the Colorado Cleantech’s Breakout Company and was also named to the Entrepreneur 360 list. In addition, Lichty serves as a mentor for Innosphere, a science and technology startup incubator based in Fort Collins, advising young scientists at the intersection of business and technological innovation.

“I think a very important part of starting a company is patience and hard work,” he says. “There are no shortcuts, so it is important to be prepared for things that require more effort and take longer than you plan.”

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Lisa Ryckman

Lisa Ryckman is ColoradoBiz's managing editor. Contact her at lryckman@cobizmag.com.

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