COVER SIDEBAR: What’s not in a name

Nano has gone the way of dot-com.

Companies that might have called themselves nanotech startups a few years ago are now choosing more marketable labels such as “cleantech,” says Ed Moran, director of product innovation at Deloitte & Touche and co-author of a 2006 congressional report on federally funded nanotech research. “If you were a fuel cell company a few years ago, you were a ‘nanotech’ company,” Moran says. “If you are a fuel cell company today, you’re ‘cleantech.’”

We haven’t done a scientific study of the number of companies that have dropped “nano” from their names, but there are quite a few. One that recently came to our attention because it raised a new round of funding in December is Pacific Biosciences of California. We wonder if it could have raised $50 million from Alloy Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Maverick Capital and Mohr Davidow Ventures if it had used its old name: Nanofluidics. —Joanna Glasner