Chris Baxter shares how to use IP to unlock startup valuation at the pre-traction stage in the first Part of the series Why Investors Always Ask About IP.
Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration” and now that you have captured that critical new idea, it’s time to get on with the rest of the process – but what is that process? The direction you take depends on your idea, your market, the state of your product development and numerous other factors. However, to assist you in figuring out how to point your compass, we’ve set out below a range of typical directions new inventors take once they have filed their patent application:
The results of a novelty search will help you determine the value of your IP and prospective investors or licencees will normally be quite interested to have a read of the results too. Such a patent search is also necessary prior to any formal patent valuation process.
In software, its called developing your MVP or minimum viable product whilst for other products its generally referred to as prototyping. A prototype will help you refine the design of your product and will assist in “bringing your idea to life” for prospective investors or patent licensees.
Industrial designers can readily create photo-realistic graphics of products that don’t quite yet exist. These graphics are great to include in your pitch deck or in presentations to potential licensees.
With your new product idea carefully sheltered under a provisional patent application, you can now disclose it to the market, such as to distributors, wholesalers or retailers, in order to get their views on market adoption, acceptance and pricing. You can then use this information to inform your patent commercialisation strategy.
Once you have your pitch in order, a pitch that focuses on the financial benefits to your potential licensee rather than your product or even your patent, it is then a good time to meet with potential patent licencees to start to determine where a fit might lie.