John Nicholls is an experienced scientist and technology entrepreneur. He gained a PhD in physics (optical materials) in 1994 at Strathclyde University before broadening his expertise at the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL) in Florida. In 1996 he was a founding member at Crystal Photonics Inc (a spin out from CREOL).
John returned to Scotland to found Photonic Materials Limited (PML) in 1998. PML developed and commercialised products for applications in PET medical imaging, nuclear oil-well logging and fiber optics. Three imaging vendors launched new scanners based on PML's novel detectors for PET. The business raised £13m in venture capital over four investment rounds from 3i, SEP, Intel and RBS. John led the business as CEO from start-up and managed the exit in 2005 to Saint-Gobain and Schlumberger.
At M Squared John has opened up new opportunities in oil and gas
After exiting PML, John was an interim director with Scoopt (new media and mobile content), facilitating strategic engagements with handset manufacturers, operators and online partners. John led the M&A process that resulted in the eventual sale of Scoopt to Getty Images in March 2006. John was also the founding CEO at TMRI from June 2006. TMRI is a pharma service business with annual revenue of c£10m.
John joined M Squared Lasers in June 2012 as head of group business development & strategy. Key projects since joining have included opening up new opportunities in oil and gas and securing £4m in new investment for the business.
John is a founding member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh's Young Academy and a member of the Scottish Science Advisory Committee (SSAC), from its creation in 2002 to 2007. John is currently a Visiting Professor and Entrepreneur in Residence at Strathclyde University (Institute of Photonics).
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