Pretty interesting start up out of the University of Rochester where an undergrad has entered the performance textile fabrics market place. His company, Outdoor Equipment Supplier LLC makes tarps used by hikers, campers, and others venturing into the great outdoors and needing some coverage from the elements. From their site:
My name is Brian MacMillin, and I am 22 years old and currently attending the University of Rochester at Rochester, New York, where I am now pursuing an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering after graduating in May of 2010 with my B.S. in MechE. This year I will be focusing my attention to the interaction between the fields of Material Science and Solid Mechanics, or in other words, how materials impact the geometry and design of everything around us.
I will be spending much of my time outside of the classroom and in the lab, working under the supervision of Dr. Robert Clark to quantify the relationship between abrasion and waterproofness of lightweight nylon fabrics. My thesis work will look to better understand how durable waterproof coatings are not only to the point of leakage applications.
Could OES be the next Patagonia, LL Bean, or Under Armour? Only time will tell, but the technical knowledge combined with the niche application of that knowledge is a great starting point.