by Bill Weber
For people deeply versed in the way innovation actually works (or doesn’t work) in a big company, the value iP2Biz brings to the table is immediately apparent. But most executives are not innovation specialists, and our first meeting with a potential client often involves this question: “We have some really cool technology, can you help us sell it?”
Said another way, potential clients naturally try to fit us into a niche they know about—the IP broker—when, in fact, we created an industry space all our own. iP2Biz functions as a partner to large businesses, discovering promising intellectual property on their behalf, assessing its commercial viability, validating the technology and—when necessary—managing its further development. Through this proprietary process which combines our iPScout™ and ProofCo® products, we reduce the uncertainty inherent in new technologies aimed at new markets and help our clients launch breakthrough products without disrupting their internal operations or existing priorities.
But this is not all we do. Our expertise in uncovering new technologies across the world and our ability to analyze the intersection of those technologies with markets and industries (where the money is) means we can also help clients make decisions about their future strategic directions. We do this through an Opportunity Assessment (OA), a 30-40 day, fixed-rate engagement which provides an independent, objective analysis of a market or technology space to determine if it is attractive and ripe for innovation.
All of this is a long way of getting to the original question which is a good one and one that our clients need to have answered: if you are interested in finding new markets and customers for your existing IP, when do you hire an IP broker, and when do you hire iP2Biz? The answer is pretty straight-forward.
If you have IP you are certain will be interesting to customers in well-understood and established markets, your best path—assuming you do not have the internal resources to market the IP yourself—is to contact a broker because they are specialists in monetizing IP like this. It’s all they do.
But what if you have existing technologies, believe that certain markets or industries would be fertile ground for the tech, but don’t want to spend additional development resources until your hunch is confirmed? That’s a situation where we can be of great assistance. Our OAs examine the intersection of technology, industries and markets and can confirm (or refute) your hunch quickly, efficiently and without pulling your people off their important daily tasks.
The situation is a little different if the question gets more specific: “we have some really cool technology; can you find us a customer?” The short answer is “maybe,” but the real value of an OA when you are looking for a customer lies in its key deliverables: we will educate you about the industries that might be interested in the technology, identify potential customers, describe existing competitors and scope potential demand. Armed with this information, you can make investment decisions with more certainty and provide direction to your sales and marketing people.
Putting this all together, the short answer to the question—iP2Biz or broker?—is this: sometimes you need a broker right now, and sometimes you need iP2Biz before you need a broker.