Ep. #1139 - Digital Transformation of Materials Science
In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, Matt Watson and Jason Sebastian, President of QuesTek, talk about the digital transformation of materials science. Learn about material science, steel, and how innovators resolve material-based challenges. Also, get to know how QuesTek is leading the charge in transforming material science to digital with their software.
Covered In This Episode
Materials are essential in manufacturing for any industry, and they are often complex processes as their properties and performance depend on the interplay of multiple factors. QuesTek provides a solution to combine computational modeling and simulation with experimental techniques to design, develop, and optimize materials.
Matt and Jason dive into the basics of material science and how Questek works. Find out what steel is, why it is still king and its alternatives. Jason explains the digital transformation of material science, QuesTek’s ICDM, and how they can help innovators.
Uncover insider marketing tips you can use today. Listen to this Startup Hustle episode now.
- What is material science and what does it mean? (0:55)
- The history of QuesTek (3:14)
- How does QuesTek do business? (5:53)
- Steel is still King (8:48)
- What is steel? (11:25)
- Alternatives for steel (12:40)
- What are some of the cool projects they’ve worked on? (13:49)
- Digital Transformation of Material Science: QuesTek’s ICDM (22:30)
- How long did QuesTek develop their software (27:10)
- The target market (28:51)
- Does the software replace what they were doing before? (30:50)
- Cloud-based and security concerns (32:30)
- Looking for VC-type investments (37:32)
- Jason’s words of wisdom for other entrepreneurs. (38:45)
Stick with it and get excited. And, and, you know, for me, too. I would just say, for young scientists and stuff, right? You know, take, get that engineering mindset, or computer scientists or something like, you know, you’ve got ideas in your head, you can put those into practice. It’s really exciting.– Jason Sebastian
When we think about steel you know, first thing I think of is like steel rebar used for concrete, right? But yeah, that’s like the most basic you know, type of metal that’s used. That’s a whole different world from where you guys live in, right? Which is probably a lot more with military or airplanes and all these other things was like I needed to, you know, for military, right? It’s like armor for a tank, and it’s gotta be able to take this kind of impact, rigidity, and whatever and all these different characteristics that go to it.– Matt Watson
Ideas are worth pursuing. You know, I was not, I was more of an academic-minded science-type person, to have been part of this company that’s gone through several rounds of reinventing itself and all sorts of phases of different customer interactions and stuff. It’s really exciting. Don’t get too bogged down in the science. Get out there with people and learn how your technologies get applied in the real world, and then go make successful businesses around it.– Jason Sebastian
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Matt Watson 00:01
And we’re back for another episode of the Startup Hustle. This is your host today, Matt Watson, very excited to be joined today with our guest, Jason Sebastian from QuesTek. He’s the president of the company. They’re a little startup that’s 25 years old. I don’t know if that counts as a startup anymore, but they’ve been through major changes in the company. And we’ll we’ll hear about what they’re doing today. And we’re gonna learn about material science today, which I don’t even know what the hell that means. So we’re all into total learn a few things here today. Jason’s laughing at me. All right. Before we get started, I do want to remind everybody that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult, Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably and has the platform to help you manage that team, Jason, visit fullscale.io to learn more. Well, Jason, welcome to the show. And what the hell is material science? Because that is the first question. I have for you.
Jason Sebastian 00:55
Material science. Yeah. It’s usually a discipline of engineering, by the way. Pleasure to be here. Thank you, Matt. I was just joking with you. I don’t think I’ve seen materials on the agenda of any of these past podcasts. So hopefully, this is fun for the listeners. But it’s a discipline of engineering. Sometimes it’s metallurgy. And depending on whether you’re focused on metals, or non metals, polymer science, but it’s, it’s about the study and development of new materials, advanced materials, so of materials have gone through many iterations of design, from the Stone Age to the Bronze Age to the to the modern age of semiconductors and things like that. So as as a discipline, it includes all of that. It’s kind of what got me attracted to it in the first place. It’s really a bit of everything. Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, and Mathematics.
Matt Watson 01:44
So is it typically metals, plastics, like what all kinds of stuff falls into this?
Jason Sebastian 01:51
Yeah, well, I’m trying to think, you know, most universities that they’ll they’ve usually just got a material science department. But there’s a kind of specialty specialties and metals, metallurgy, ceramics is another big category. And that can mean everything from toilet bowls to more advanced ceramics like high temperature coating, type ceramics, polymers, is another category that kind of overlaps sometimes with chemical engineering and chemistry. And then semiconductor electronic materials, like silicon wafers and things like that. That’s another category. So it’s really all of the above.
Matt Watson 02:29
What about things like paint and other kinds of like liquids or gases?
Jason Sebastian 02:33
Yeah, there are material science aspects to that not so much liquids and gases? I think, material scientists are thinking about solids. Paints is a combination of a liquid and a solid, usually. So there’s some material science going on there. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a lot of people that are trained as material scientists that are not working on paint. But But yeah, all right, typically, mostly the solid things we’re dealing with.
Matt Watson 03:00
Well, so tell us a little more about quest tech and what you guys do, you know, companies like 25 years old, but it sounds like you guys have reinvented yourself about 11 times. So tell us, tell us what you guys are up to now.
Jason Sebastian 03:14
Well, this is probably the third time but yeah, the company was founded in the late 90s by a professor at Northwestern University, which is right up the street from where I’m sitting here. I’m sitting in Evanston, Illinois, which is one one town north of Chicago. This is where Evanston is. The professor was a specialist in steel materials, but he had an overall this is Professor Greg Olson, I should I should give him a name. He had an overall vision that materials could be designed, and not just Steel’s all materials could be designed. So that was his kind of expert area design of new materials. He started the company in the late 90s. himself one of his students at the time, a guy named Charlie cumin, who went off to Apple computer and then SpaceX Tesla folks in the material science community may know that name and a financial guy named Ray Gianelli, he was the third co founder. So they started the company. It was sort of a spin off of Northwestern University at the time, here in Evanston. This was right at the time when I was in graduate school at at Northwestern. So I knew about Greg and I knew that he had this kind of vision of material science. He was not my advisor, so I was just kind of paying attention to what was going on. On the side. They started the business they were focused very much on steels. In fact, they had designed a few Steel’s on the university side and the business in its earliest stages was about taking those Steel’s to the market, right? These are advanced, high performance Steel’s for like aerospace applications landing gear, and they were looking to kind of replace what was out there and sell a whole bunch of steel so we were licensing the steel steel producers trying to get interested in the application of the Steel’s that kind of broadened out. And this now is about the time that I joined quest tech in the early 2000s. I joined in 2006. Well, I guess that’s the mid 2000s. But the company had already been around eight or nine years, by the time I joined. It had branched out from not just steel, but to other materials, types as well. Titanium, copper, aluminum, nickel, these are this is the whole kind of pantheon of engineering metals.
Matt Watson 05:34
Let me ask you a question. First thing. So does your guyses company actually sell the metal? Or do you guys create like the formulas and, you know, figure out the right alloys and all that and then basically license that and then they somebody else manufactures it? Or like, what do you guys fit into that? Educate me how that works? Yeah,
Jason Sebastian 05:53
it’s more of the ladder. So we would design a steel computationally, using the computer using computational models, we’d file for a patent, we’d get the patent granted, and then we’d license the steel to a steel producer, there’s a few of our advanced Steel’s, that are made by a major steel producer called carpenter technology and Pennsylvania. And then they make it and they sell it. And when people want to buy a certain product size, they call Carpenter, or they call the steel maker, and we get a royalty on that. And that, that was the business model. It still is part of the business model. And we’ve branched out from more than just steel. But, but we’ve kind of branched off from just that model of developing materials, and then licensing it to a producer and getting a royalty, we started to do projects directly for corporations where we would design the material and they would sort of own it from there. We’ve got a few exciting success stories along those lines. But as we were moving along here, we ourselves don’t make anything, we have a small lab in the basement where we can make tiny test specimens, and put them through some of the motions and see what they look like under the microscope. But we ourselves do not make any product in that sense. And never have except for the modern age of questex. So over the course of 2025 years of doing this doing various programs for the government for corporate clients, we’ve we’ve amassed a whole library of databases and computational models that we use to do these LOA designs. And the new pivot with quest tech in the last two years now really, is to put that all together into a software package, and digitally transform ourselves and digitally transform the folks that that use our software. So that’s where we’re sort of a startup all over again, getting into the software business is a new thing for us. We’re very excited about it. And yeah, that’s kind of the three the three areas of quest tech, the original, let’s take these steels to market and then the sort of middle range where we were doing more than Steel’s and doing it directly with corporations and stuff and now the new era where we’re going into the software mode
Matt Watson 08:05
well and so when we think about steel you know, first thing I think of is like steel rebar used for concrete right but yeah, that’s like the most like basic you know, type of metal that’s used and and that’s a whole different world from where you guys live in right which is probably a lot more with military or airplanes all these other things was like I needed to, you know, for military right it’s like armor for a tank and it’s gotta be able to take this this kind of impact and this rigidity and this and that whatever and all these different characteristics that go to it right so I’m gonna guess you guys have done a lot of work the you know, Department of Defense and things like that as well.
Jason Sebastian 08:48
Absolutely. Yeah. So Steel’s sometimes get a bad rap. Oh, that’s that’s that’s that ancient blacksmith stuff that we’ve been doing for hundreds and hundreds of years. But steel technology has advanced over the centuries and the Steel’s the most advanced Steel’s we have these days are way far and beyond maybe what you know, you or other, you know, kind of common folks would appreciate. Steel really still Is this the highest strength to weight, strength to density material that we have here a lot about aluminum and titanium. They have lower densities, they can get to certain levels of strength to weight, but steel is still king. And because of all those hundreds of years of development and blacksmith theory and whatnot, we have a very intimate understanding of how Steel’s work there’s a lot of fundamental knowledge that’s been built up around Steel’s. The Steel’s we’re talking about are very much aerospace defense type steel, so the Steel’s used for landing gear of aircraft. These are Steel’s far and beyond the strength level of probably anything that you know you run across outside of aerospace and defense. Certainly, you know in terms of your car or the engine In or sporting goods type steels, these are very, very high strength high toughness Steel’s. The other place that that they come up a lot gear Steel’s the, the gears that go into machinery there’s sort of a level of gear Steel’s kind of run of the mill gear Steel’s that people that make lawnmowers and things would use and then basic automobiles then there are the racecar Formula One type steels, these are the ones that go into helicopters, which are the absolute highest performance type gear Steel’s and rightfully so you can you can live with your car transmission breaking down are starting to make noise, right Formula One guys don’t like it when when cars break down, but they can live with it but a helicopter No, sir. So yeah, these are the super highest performance type Steel’s but that being said, you know, we work with producers of Steel’s on on a little more run of the mill type grades, they may have an issue where they’re trying to make a basic steel, but they’re making it over and over again. And they want to understand why sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s bad. It’s like the three little piggies or something like that. Or was that right? Is that the anyway. But just trying to understand the science behind you know, a little more regular run of the mill steals is something that we also do within the sort of computational modeling framework.
Matt Watson 11:25
So So tell me this, for those just like me, and those are listening that are wondering, like, What the hell is steel made out of like, are there like four ingredients, and then some magic, magic sauce, that is number five, or like what?
Jason Sebastian 11:40
Basically steel is iron plus carbon. And when you add carbon to iron, it can do stuff to the inside crystal structure of the material. That gives it much improved strength, and toughness are the things we talk about. So iron in carbon equals steel. And the other two ingredients that you come across a lot are Chrome and Molly, you’ll hear about Chrome, Molly steel. So Chrome and Molly can combine molybdenum, I should say it’s another element on the periodic table, Chrome, chromium, it’s another element on the periodic table. Those are probably the four main ingredients. But engineering Steel’s include a lot more other. Other Other ingredients like nickel, cobalt, silicon, manganese, it depends on what steel you’re talking about. And some Steel’s would include all of that, you know, eight or nine different elements all doing different things within within a single material, but basically iron plus carbon, and that was figured out many, many millennia ago.
Matt Watson 12:40
So you mentioned earlier, like other alternatives to steel, what about things like carbon fiber? You know, are there other other materials like that, that they they probably have different use cases, right? Like they’re not gonna make they don’t make a tank out of carbon fiber, but they make a Lamborghini out of carbon fiber. Yeah, right. So what, what other materials are there out there besides steel,
Jason Sebastian 13:00
carbon fiber is a composite, and it’s usually carbon fiber. And there’s like kind of a plastic impregnating resin that holds it all together, you can get to very high strength to weight ratios, but you can’t get to very high absolute strengths. So you can’t really support a building, let’s say with fiber beams, but you can form the shell of a rocket, or a Lamborghini or something like that, or a piece of sporting good equipment out of carbon fiber. So it’s a composite, right, though, you’ve got the fibers themselves, and then the residence holding it together. A composite is what they call that. But the other main engineering alloys that you’ll hear a lot about aluminum and titanium, there’s various uses of those because they’re lower density than iron and steel. The other one you’ll come across a lot is nickel. And nickel is an alloy that can go to higher temperatures than steel for sulfur applications where you want to get to higher temperatures, or you want a certain amount of corrosion, environmental resistance, you start looking at things like nickel, and nickel and nickel forms a class of materials they call the super alloys and that’s particularly because of the high temperature aspects. There’s other metals out there, I could keep going, you know, copper, mate. Well, we’re
Matt Watson 14:20
getting our Yeah, we’re getting our materials design. Material science today. So good, good,
Jason Sebastian 14:27
good. Yeah, so carbon fiber is not there’s not a metal, carbon fiber, like I said as a composite but it forms a class of structural materials. It’s either carrying a load or forming some layer of protection against an environment. So they do get all kind of lumped together.
Matt Watson 14:47
So tell me this, tell me some of the cool projects you guys have worked on like I thought you mentioned before like Apple or I see here like something about nuclear reactors like you know, Department of things. SpaceX, I get what you guys work on.
Jason Sebastian 15:03
Yeah. And I know those companies, the ones you just mentioned, in addition to the Department of Defense, we were doing a project about 12 years ago or so for one of those companies as American as a certain kind of pie. If you remember bendgate, where they were having issues with the iPhones, yeah, we’re sitting on the internet. And well, this was a materials problem, because they needed to make the cases of the phone a certain size, right, and certain thicknesses and stuff. So they were constrained. But they also and they wanted to use aluminum because it was lightweight. But they also had a certain requirement in terms of the finishing, right. So the anodized surface of your consumer electronic product is very important when it comes to selling lots and lots of phones. But the things that you add to an aluminum alloy to give it strength work against you in terms of making the surface very finishable. Alright, so there’s a trade off there. And they picked the wrong side of the trade off, they picked the the the erred on the side of finishable, and ended up with something that wasn’t quite high enough string. So we looked at this problem. And we found we started down the path of a solution. And they liked what was happening, and they kind of came in at the time. This is 2012. And did an aqua hire took a big chunk of the technical personnel at Qwest tech. Oh, Charlie cumin, who’s the guy I mentioned a couple minutes ago, went with and formed the form data team at this place in near San Jose, where they worked on materials design. And so there are new materials in a number of products, a number of those consumer electronics products, there was the Melanie’s loop the kind of braided steel that goes into the band of the iWatch. If you if you buy that bag, it’s a stainless steel, but if you notice it’s magnetic and making a stainless steel magnetic and still having a certain amount of strength to it is a is a is a custom kind of LOA thing, the anodized analyzable aluminum I just mentioned, even at the time, there was a used to be able to buy a gold apple, I have a watch that had a custom designed gold alloy as part of it. And you can look up some of the patents from Apple on these materials. And you can find the names of folks that used to work in West tech and stuff like that. So there is a there’s a relationship there. It was validated. Just a year ago, the guy Jim yercaud, who is the director of materials development at Apple was at a conference, TMS, the materials conference last spring 2022, he acknowledged in front of a crowd of about 1000 material scientists that quest Tech had changed Apple’s approach to materials design, so they’re a very forward thinking company that way and, and and another one would be a company focused on space exploration. You do the you do the contraction there, we’ve worked with them. In fact, Charlie cumin, the guy that was at Apple now leads the led development team at SpaceX and Tesla. And say, Think what you like about Elon Musk, and whatnot. He is a very forward thinking engineer type guy material. He knows material science. And there are a number of alloys that those two corporations Tesla and SpaceX has developed specifically for certain applications. And there’s at least one where quest Tech had a hand there was a the Raptor, the Raptor engine, that’s their engine development. That’s the one that lifted off the starship about a month ago, which is exciting in itself, right? This is incredibly shiny. Oh, the stainless steel, I can talk about that a little more. But it’s you know, it’s an amazing it’s the most powerful rocket that humans have ever launched. And it’s really excited. Exciting. But one thing that wasn’t being talked about too much, you know, when you go watch the launch is the fuel the fuel is different, right? It’s not kerosene plus liquid oxygen for the Raptor, it’s methanol plus liquid oxygen. And that burns hotter and more oxidizing than the kerosene liquid oxygen combo, and it’s what you need that kind of thrust and that sort of combustion to get rockets, eventually to Mars. But that highly oxidizing environment from burning methanol and liquid oxygen and the Raptor engine means that certain metals will burn, right, so they had to develop an entirely new nickel super alloy to enable the Raptor engine configuration. Quest Tech had a role in that. They took it over the finish line, but we had a role in the initial stages. And you can look up the tweets from Elon I think a couple years ago he was seen our SX 500 alloy developed by the SpaceX metallurgy team, you know, burns at a certain temperature and a certain oxygen pressure. And that’s, that’s no small feat for an alloy. And yeah, quest Tech had a role in that development. And we’re excited about that. And I’m rooting for him in that way. But, and so that’s something where we were though both of those examples, the the anodized. Very cool. And the super alloy is something where we’ve worked with them directly. But just to give another plug for Tesla, which is not what I’m here for exactly. But you hear a lot about the Giga casting, right, where they’re, they’re casting the entire body die casting of Tesla automobiles like as part, this is incredible. But they could not do it with existing hours, they had to develop an entirely new aluminum alloy, that would be castable. And that would give them the properties and the thin sections and the fixed sections and would squirt through the mold with enough fluidity, so that they could do this, right. So they are forward thinking company that way. And it’s pretty cool. This is something that we would call materials concurrency, right? In the past, people would design a component, a rocket engine, or a chassis of an automobile. And they essentially go to a list of materials and pick pick, pick the one that worked, right. And if it didn’t have the combination of properties that they want, and they needed for their part design, they were either shut out of luck, or they have to kind of change the design, they’d have to make their part thicker in certain sections to accommodate the strength of what was out there. In terms of materials. These days, people are kind of looking beyond right, how do I design a new material, you know, given the constraints of what I’m trying to do with this product. So materials are on the table, I’m the design table, the same way that the shape of of a component used to be the same way that the electrical engineering inside of the component used to be. And this is something that’s been achieved in the other engineering disciplines concurrency, right, we’re considering mechanical aspects at the same time that we’re considering electrical engineering aspects. Now materials has a seat at that table, and people are really looking seriously at the idea of new materials. So yeah, that’s that is very much in the spirit of what my company does, it’s very much in the spirit of what our software can help companies do.
Matt Watson 22:30
So I want to learn more about that software. That’s what I really want to learn about. Before we do that, though, I do want to remind everybody that we need expert software developers doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you visit full scale.io, where you can build a software team quickly and affordably use the Full Scale platform to define your technical needs, and see what developers are available to join your team today. Visit full scale.io to learn more. So tell me more about the software because it sounds pretty incredible to me that you could go in and I’m gonna guess put in like I need metal that can support this kind of strength, and it would break under this kind of pressure. And I could deal with that kind of heat. And then like, magically, it gives you like, the formula or whatever. Right? I mean, is that kind of the essence of what what your software does?
Jason Sebastian 23:13
Kind of Yeah, yeah, it kind of is. And and it’s, it’s the important part that you’re kind of getting at there is it’s computational. It’s it’s software, even when I was in graduate school back in the late 90s materials site, which is not that long ago, right? I hope it’s not not that old. But in the late 90s, like materials still had this very trial and error, experimental kind of aspect to it. There were things like computational models that certain professors would be developing to look at one or two behaviors of of a material. But the notion that you could design a material with a computer with a software was completely out there, you know, just 25 years ago. But it’s exciting to see how things have changed, right. And that’s that’s this is one of the acronyms that you come across in our field integrated computational materials. Engineering ICM, II. This is the the way of putting together all these various computational models that describe how a material works at various length scales, and putting them all together into a package that can do the whole thing that can predict the overall properties, the strength, the toughness of the things you were just talking about, of a material or better yet help you design the material. So over the years there, the length scales, we’re talking about things all the way down to the atomic scale, you can use quantum mechanics type models to predict you know, the way the the at the atomic scale a material will behave and you know, does it have cohesion between the atoms is there problems with the cohesion between the atoms, those little atomic scale processes and phenomenon, phenomena scale all the way up to the macroscopic behavior of a material and our length scales in between, right? That’s the atomic scale, the kind of smallest scale, you take a scale up, you’ve got the scale of the crystal lattices, then you have grains that are happening within the material, you have precipitates like the carbides and steel, that affect the eventual properties. And you have kind of the macro scale of how things get put together for Gene casting, that sort of thing. So we’re looking at things across all of the various length scales. We’re using it to predict various levels of structure within the material, like the ones I just mentioned,
Matt Watson 25:32
eventually require some like crazy supercomputer physics calculations, or does this run on your laptop?
Jason Sebastian 25:38
It? No, no, it’s more like the latter. And there are some of this atomic, these atomic scale simulations that do take supercomputers and stuff. But for us, that’s not you know, most of the things we do run on a desktop, the software packages that we’re developing now are designed to either run on the desktop or off in the cloud. But the real computationally heavy stuff, no, that is not necessary that will leave that to the professors who really want to look at the detailed quantum mechanical electron structure of things. We do a lot of our software, software’s and models are originally developed as like Excel spreadsheets and stuff. So you just like input output, boom, here’s your answer. Right? And so the pack No, they do not require, I guess, in ways they could run on your phone.
Matt Watson 26:28
Wow. Yeah, it just, it just seems like if somebody like, you know, you’re trying to build a rocket engine, and all that kind of stuff. And you’re trying to figure out at what point in time, you know, the temperature and pressure and all that is going to blow it all up, then yeah, VC crazy
Jason Sebastian 26:45
simulations of the flow of gases and stuff within an engine. But those are pretty heavy duty simulations that do require some serious computing powder power. But the ability to predict the properties of a material based on simple inputs, like what is the composition, what are the times and temperatures of the heat treatment? These kinds of simulations are much less intensive.
Matt Watson 27:10
Okay. Very cool. So how long have you guys been building that software?
Jason Sebastian 27:16
Well, since the beginning, 25 years, right, the Steel’s that were developed at the end of the 90s. There were some lot of models being developed, that went into the design of those Steel’s and then as we branched across all the other materials, classes into the 2000s, lots of different models being put together. I say, models, it’s in the kind of broad sense, there are models, there are databases, there’s inputs and outputs. But we’ve been gathering all that stuff for 25 years, we’ve built a name for ourselves in the field, you know, as folks that can do this, we the we can say confidently that we’re the only company that has computationally designed materials that are now flying. That’s a huge milestone. In the materials development realm, we’ve got five Steel’s and five materials, even, not just Steel’s, that are now achieved flight qualification. So 25 years of kind of developing various models for various programs and projects. It finally kind of dawned on us, like, what are we doing here? There’s a lot of this stuff that yeah, we’ll use maybe once or will dusted off every now and then but but you know, unless somebody comes to us with another project on that specific system or something, these models and such are just going to sit there, can we pull them together into a package into a platform and productize? This whole library of stuff that we’ve did over developed over the years? So that’s what we’re doing now. And yeah, it probably the knowledge goes back 25 years, if not further, if you want to dig deeper into the professor’s history.
Matt Watson 28:51
So how? How was that going with building the software? If you guys figure it out, like who your target audience is and how you sell it and all that kind of stuff? Or is are you guys still in like the development phase,
Jason Sebastian 29:04
we’re getting to the end of the development phase, the official release date is July 1. But we had a soft release towards the end of last year, and we’ve got a few trial and valuation partners that we’re working with the Professor Greg Olson, is now at MIT. And as part of his research group, in his materials design class, they’re evaluating the software for us. And then the company that I was talking about earlier, that does electric cars and rocket ships. They’re also looking into to the to, to the evaluation of the software. So it goes live in a little over a month here. The types of companies that would bet I mean, materials intensive corporations that work with materials across a range of divisions and range of product offerings. These are the ones that are going to benefit the most. So it’s, you know, think about companies like the ones I just talked about, he may make scars or all sorts of stuff. Yes, Major Defense OEMs. You think about Raytheon’s and the Pratt and Whitney’s although they’re progressing company now and and Northrop Grumman’s of the world, they’re not just working on one product, one material, they’re not just working on one component. They’ve got divisions across the board, Lockheed Martin, you know, they’ve got parts of their corporations that are doing assembly and heat treatment and putting things together, they’ve got other parts of the corporations that are actually designing new materials and stuff. And, and we know for a fact that, you know, a lot of these folks are kind of not quite sharing information, or able to plug into one another is doing in an efficient way. That’s where our software comes comes in.
Matt Watson 30:50
So does the software replace what you guys were doing before is like a, as a consulting or professional service? Is the goal to? Or is it just a tool? It’s I could be self service where people can use the software? Or they could also use your professional services? With it like, how do you how do you see that evolving? Like your business model?
Jason Sebastian 31:09
That’s a really great question. Because we get that question like, is Archie given away the keys to the kingdom so to speak? And we would say absolutely not, it’s going to augment what we’ve done in terms of services, a lot of the folks in implementing the software and subscribing to the software, are going to need our assistance in implementing it or customizing it in a way or calibrating some of it to their production data. So in the end, we will remain a services type consulting business that also has this software subscription line of revenues. And and we were just talking about it this morning with my boss to see oh, you know, we would see that split, maybe 5050, or even 6040, on the side of services moving forward. But yes, it’s a great question. Because, you know, in the past, we didn’t quite have this perspective, it would have been, well, no, we want to do it for you. But a lot of companies don’t like that. They want to do it themselves. And some some of it is is not necessarily pride of ownership, but but also because of security and stuff. And because of issues as it relates to intellectual property, they want to be able to kind of own what they do. And the software lets them do that. And we’re happy to let them do it in that way.
Matt Watson 32:30
So does that mean you have to, like ship the software, and they run it on their computers, that way, you don’t have access to what they’re doing and stuff in regards to the intellectual property cloud.
Jason Sebastian 32:39
This, it’s cloud based, is we’re putting together right now. So we, you know, if they would allow us, we would have the option of kind of helping them or watching what’s happening, making sure it’s done correctly. If they want it to be secure and separate them we don’t. And we’re always also looking into some like on premise implementation. It’s kind of interesting, the most technically advanced corporations, like the aerospace and defense corporations, these are the these are the ones in some ways less more reluctant, rather to go with a full cloud implementation because of security concerns, right? You’re just not cool with uploading their datasets to somewhere else where they would manipulate it there. So we’re, we’re remaining open, the initial configuration is all cloud based. And people would have their own secure private partitions. But if they wanted us to kind of peek inside and help them with what they’re doing, that would be an option.
Matt Watson 33:39
Well, I could definitely see somebody that does work for the Department of Defense, right, that would not want access to any of that stuff to be on the internet, you know? Yeah. Oh, they made the protective armor for the Abrams tank, you know, like, yeah, trade secret or whatever.
Jason Sebastian 33:53
Yeah, we’ve worked in those types of materials. And that I mean, you just, you just hit it on the head. But some of that data as it relates to that those defense performance armor performance that is very highly, it’s not just about cloud secure anything. It’s classified, right? So customers that want to deal with that. And given that not everybody at Quest Tech has classified clearance none, then that would have to be a separate arrangement. It’s just going to be that way.
Matt Watson 34:21
So do you guys do that kind of work today? Like you’re able to deal with top secret stuff? Or are you hoping that your software will enable that and then your employees aren’t part of it?
Jason Sebastian 34:29
We do a lot of defense related work. Top secret is a whole nother echelon of classification. Most of what we deal with is a few levels down. But there is work that we do. And this is independent of the software development. There’s projects that we’ve done and engagements we’ve done for defense partners, where we have to be very careful about where we store data and what we do with it and how we deliver reports and stuff. We can work on things there’s you know, there’s people that are at work at Qwest tech that are work visas and stuff, we have to be careful about that.
Matt Watson 35:03
We had one of my previous customers, we would have users that would download our software and they didn’t have internet access, because they were doing Department of Defense. So they’re like, how do we install this software or like, you don’t, doesn’t or doesn’t work that way,
Jason Sebastian 35:19
there’s a we have a room, it is literally a room that has key access, where some of the, the classified, but some of the restricted project work happens. And this was just you know, that as a, as of a few years ago, because of the requirements with this customer, the army, right, we had to have an air gap computer installed no connections to through that, um, I think these things existed anymore, but we’ve got one and right, and anything that goes in and out of that computer is done via USPS or any, something like that, but absolutely no internet, but that that’s in the realm of, you know, drawings and things like that, nothing to do with our software per se. But like lists, tables of requirements, you know, certain performance requirements for armor and things like that, you got to be real careful about that.
Matt Watson 36:12
Very cool, very cool that you guys get to do all that stuff. It’s a whole different world from you know, the type of software that I’ve, I’ve built over my career, and be very cool to build that kind of simulation kind of software, you know, being on do all those kinds of calculations and stuff is super cool.
Jason Sebastian 36:31
It is cool. It’s a it’s an extension of, you know, what I learned in school and what I’m passionate about. So it’s a lot of fun.
Matt Watson 36:41
Well, I do want to mine, everybody, if you need to hire software engineers, testers, or leaders Full Scale can help we have the people and the platform to help you build a managed team of experts. When you visit full scale.io. All you need to do is answer a few questions and our platform will match you up with our fully vetted experts that are available to join your team. At Full Scale, we specialize in building a long term team that works only for you visit full scale.io to learn more. Well, Jason, I really appreciate having you on the on the podcast today. learning all about material sciences. Now I can say I know what the hell that mean. So that’s, that’s good.
Jason Sebastian 37:18
Yeah, yeah. Are we getting near the end here? You’re very good at those little segue plugs. I don’t even notice you’re doing it.
Matt Watson 37:27
I’m not good at it, actually.
Jason Sebastian 37:32
Yeah, it’s been a pleasure. I’m excited about what I do. Hopefully, the audience learned a little thing or two about materials. You know, hopefully you appreciate why we’re kind of a startup, even though we’ve been around for 25 plus years. It’s a new software business. Yeah. And I would say in that in that sense, right. We we’ve been self funding the software development, we continue to be a profitable cashflow, positive type operation, but we are looking for potential investors VC type investment, where we could use that that capital to really turbocharged what we’re talking about here, invest in Prop A lot more proper software developers a lot more proper market facing sales type people, and really take this to the next level ASAP.
Matt Watson 38:22
Well, awesome. Well, we were all rooting for you. And reminder, this is Jason Sebastian with quest tech. That is qu e s t e k.com. So as we wrap up the show, do you have any final suggestions, words of wisdom out there for other entrepreneurs or business owners?
Jason Sebastian 38:45
Boy, oh, boy, stick with it and get excited. And, and, you know, for me, too, I would just say, for young scientists and stuff, right? You know, take, get that engineering mindset, or computer scientists or something like, you know, you’ve got ideas in your head, you can put those into practice. It’s really exciting. I think a lot of people that study material science, have this notion in their head that oh, man, maybe maybe I would be able to develop new materials someday. And then some, a lot of them go off to companies and they’re just in some procurement department where they’re just buying materials and testing them or something like that. No, no, no, you know, on the material side, you know, think big, we’re not new materials are always going to be needed. new levels of performance are always popping up. That’s on the material side, you know, on the entrepreneurial side, I would say. Boy, you know, ideas are worth pursuing. You know, I was not I was more of an academic minded science type person, to have been part of this company that’s gone through several rounds of reinventing itself and all sorts of phases of different customer interest. auctions and stuff. It’s really exciting. Don’t get too bogged down in the science. Get out there with people and learn how your tech technologies get applied in the real world, and then go make successful businesses around it.
Matt Watson 40:14
Awesome. Well, thanks again for being on the show today.
Jason Sebastian 40:17
Cheers. Thanks, Matt. Go Startup Hustle.
Matt Watson 40:20
All right, take care.