Joe DeSimone was an academic who turned his tech insights into a billion-dollar business. Here’s how he did it.
Dr. Joe DeSimone is an innovator. He’s been developing cutting edge medical tech for decades. But now, his new billion-dollar business venture, Carbon, could literally change the way everything is made.
As a result, he’s the latest Silicone Valley billionaire unicorn.
Joe gave insight on how he pulled off this feat on the DealMakers Podcast. He touched on everything from industry disruption to the experience of building a 500 person team in only 6 years.
The path to a billion-dollar business
For Joe, his newly minted tech icon status started in academia.
As a professor of chemistry at UNC for 25 years, he learned the value of being able to explain complicated topics in simple terms.
This skill it turns out is essential as an entrepreneur.
Whether you’re recruiting talent, funding, or just explaining your vision, communication is everything. And, someone who can hold the attention of a classroom full of college kids it turns out has a distinct advantage.
After working on several medical tech startups from the ivory tower, Silicon Valley came calling.
Joe couldn’t resist the opportunity to make something world-changing, and so, he founded Carbon in 2013.
Enter Joe’s billion-dollar business idea.
What is Carbon?
You might have heard of 3-D printing. But no one until Dr. Joe was able to crack this code at an industrial scale.
The company’s mission is quite literally to change the way all consumer products are made. It’s a complete reimagining of what we think of as manufacturing.
The actual process is somewhat complicated. It involves fusing light and oxygen to rapidly produce products from pools of resin.
If that makes little sense to you, you’re not alone.
Easier to grasp is the fact the manufacturing industry is a $12 trillion market. Manufacturing polymers alone is a $330 billion market.
As a result of those kinds of numbers, the size of the disruption possible with this business venture is hard to even ballpark.
$2.5 billion and counting
Joe and Carbon have already been able to raise $680 million in funding. Add that to the all-star roster of employees and Carbon just secured a $2.5 billion valuation.
Carbon’s board also includes heavy-hitters from DuPont, Boeing and a former CEO of Ford.
Google has invested. So has General Electric. BMW. Johnson & Johnson, Adidas.
But beyond the cash, this is a tech company first and foremost so Joe summed up the basic ingredients for his Silicone valley success in three simple parts.
1. The importance of IP and patent-protection
2. Building highly differentiated technology
3. Assembling a world-class team of people that are committed, passionate, and talented
Companies like Netflix and Facebook are often mistaken for media companies. But in reality, they are technology companies who are nothing without their proprietary lines of code.
For Netflix, it’s the hypnotic interface and recommendation algorithm that keeps you binge-watching. For Facebook, it’s basically the same.
Likewise, Carbon will thrive or fail based on how fast it innovates 3D printing techniques at scale.
All the investors and board members in the world do not a tech company make.
Dr. Joe is the billionaire business tycoon you need to know today
Joe also offers a fantastic range of advice for newer entrepreneurs in the full interview.
He touches on building a successful business model, the importance of customer service and how to think about future-proofing your ideas from obsolescence.
For the entire scoop on how Dr. Joe created his 2.5 billion dollar business, listen to his full podcast interview here.