To increase the chance that a promising piece of technology will make it to market, and generate substantial value for its creators, you need a bridge — between technology commercialization and business creation.
Who is our Commercialization Bridge service for?
- have a novel technology;
- need to decide whether (how best) to commercialize it; &
- wish to increase the chance it will lead to a successful product, and maximize the value they derive as a result.
Clients have included businesses (of various sizes) with new technology; research institutions; startups; and even lone inventors.
What challenge does this service address?
All too often, promising technology development projects languish for years in limbo after they move beyond the initial research stage. There is even a name for this: the Valley of Death, which projects need to cross before attracting startup funding, or development partners. These projects are too far along to get funding from “research” sources, but are unable to negotiate partnership or licensing arrangements with large companies, or attract investors, because they are perceived as “too early”.
Some believe that the Valley of Death is an unavoidable feature of the landscape, or that it exists because of flaws in the way investors think. We think of it as more analogous to a sand trap in golf. It certainly exists, and falling into it is bad. However it can be avoided all together with careful planning and good execution. Even if you fall into it, you can get out if you know how.
Avoid the Valley of Death (more details).
To help leaders of promising, early stage technology development projects navigate around the “Valley of Death” and reach the next stage in growth of the project — whether it be partnership with another company to develop a product, or investment to commercialize the technology.
For those unfortunate projects that are languishing in the “Valley of Death”, our goal is to help them get out.
Important subgoals are:
- to select the commercialization path most likely to succeed; and
- to identify and excite the right partners and investors.
A key part of our Commercialization Bridge work is helping to create a bridge between two very different world views. On one side are the technologists who developed the project to the point where it appears “promising”. On the other side are managers within companies that are potential development partners or licensees, and investors who might wish to invest in the future of the project.
The “bridge” between these groups takes the form of a clearly articulated description of the business being created, in sufficient detail for all parties to understand its size, risks, and attractiveness. This detailed understanding of the business potential is the foundation for accomplishing the above objectives.
The typical question that initiates these projects is “Should I (or How should I) commercialize technology xx?”.
Our approach involves an unusual blend of analysis, strategic advice, and roll-up-the-sleeves, hands-on execution.
Commonly these engagements involve market research, and a synthesis of “what people need” and “what the technology can do”. This leads to an understanding of the best target application for the technology. And, hopefully, to a product definition that will both target an important unmet need, and leverage the technology in question as a source of competitive advantage.
Sometimes what is needed is some help and training of the team so they can flesh out the details of the business opportunity themselves. Sometimes it makes more sense for us to do a lot of the leg work ourselves.
Results from these projects typically include:
- selection of the best commercialization path forward;
- go/no go decisions;
- IP analysis;
- potential licensing targets; and
- spin out business plans where appropriate.