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I wish there was a show called “Everybody loves IP”. Almost everyone would like businesses to have IP. Founders pitch their IP. Investor like IP. At later stages or even for SMEs, IPs are worth something to be fought for and IPs also are the reasons for M&A. But only a few founders try and communicate what the IP does, means and why that should matter, very early in their stage when most of that is clear in their head alone (probably).

As a founder you go about enthusiastically meeting all people/types of investors (even strategics in some cases) how great your technology is. Months later — with enthusiasm retained — you find Applause, encouragement and congratulations as Credit, but funding seems to elude and then in your team meetings you often start hearing yourself say “they just don’t get it”.

IP Certificate on your desk/wall v/s IP backed execution of a business model. A gap I see in some founder’s narrative is the effort in telling the story in a simpler way and helping better understand “what you do” so that the audience dont “roll their eyes” and start fiddling with their phones just because its too difficult to process.

I experienced this twice last week — one early stage founder and another a seasoned veteran now looking to sell his business with an IP. Both of them overtly focussed only on the tech. How the route to monetisation of the IP, their business model v/s unit economics/cost benefit analysis for this tech replacing huge legacy investments made by prospective clients and outcomes seemed missing. Its there somewhere, but needs the effort to bring that in perspective with data which can actually give the story the wings it deserves. Not all investors are only looking at IP as you do. But not ‘helping them get it’ adds to another risk element — apart from technology, adoption, execution etc. When faced with that automatically you end up lower in their current priority of focus.

IP worth buying (M&A): If you have an IP thats in the market and being leveraged then there will be buyers who can monetise it better than you can and hence they are willing to purchase the company or the IP. Sometimes it also can be to limit/curtail a growth of potential competitor in future and Corporate CD teams are actively on the prowl always. But one needs to show how this can be relevant to them in accelerating their own goals/position. And leverage the opportunity if thats a strategy for you.

Key is to ensure you communicate and build your community and take people along in your story telling to help them see what this is likely to become.

Do a pre-mortem (assume you are 1 year in future) and show how looking back in this period you have achieved with the money that you are now seeking — the status of your R&D, Pilot, POC, prospective channel to sell, prospective vertical use case in first year, ease or degree of difficulty in adoption by clients apart from the results. Show that you know how to go about selling your product as well and not only building one.

Monetisation of IP is hugely valuable across sectors. If you are and can monetise yourself it even better. If you can build partnerships (instead of trying to do all yourselves) that help your IP reach adoption levels faster — dont hold back. Just DoIt. But tell thats how we shall roll out. And your growing community of believers will “get it’.