Commercialization ecosystem

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February Roundup: It’s all about getting technology to market

Thank you for being with us for the first month of our new blog. In case you missed any posts, here is a recap, beginning with, in chronological order, our special report on getting technology to market, The Commercialization Ecosystem, which continues this month.

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How do you find, define and, most importantly, exploit ‘exploitable’ technology?

This is the fourth article in a continuing series that examines the state of the ecosystem necessary to successfully bring technology to market. Based on dozens of interviews with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, business leaders, academics, tech-transfer experts and policy makers, this series looks at what is working and what can be improved in the go-to-market ecosystem in the United States, Canada and Britain. We invite your feedback.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

In his book, Making Technology Happen, Denzil Doyle makes the valid point that “technology” is not found only in research laboratories or other establishments that form part of what is commonly known as the “knowledge industry.”

“A farmer who develops an add-on device for a piece of farm machinery is not only creating technology, but is advancing it along the innovation chain by turning it into a useful product,” Doyle wrote. “If a few neighbours buy it and they find it a useful product, it has been taken through the entire length of the innovation chain, from the idea stage to the distribution stage. The farmer has simply not formalized the innovation process by writing a proper business plan, raising some investment capital and starting a business.”

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Top 12 lies angels tell

As part of our continuing series about the ecosystem necessary to bring technology to market, we asked entrepreneur and long-time angel investor Frank Peters to share some insights from his lengthy experience investing in startups.

By Frank Peters

With a nod to Garage Venture’s Guy Kawasaki and his Top 10 Lies of Venture Capitalists, I offer my Top 12 Lies Angels Tell. When I showed a draft to my angel friend Malcolm, he turned to me and said, “wow, this is really cynical!” So let me acknowledge that first.

1. “That was a good presentation!”

I have to say something positive, but you’re not getting me to write a cheque. The fact is, most funding pitches are terrible; they’re more product pitches with an appeal for money tacked on at the end. Passion, yes; every entrepreneur has heard by now they must show great enthusiasm for their endeavor, but show me how I can get my money back someday, too. Who will acquire you? Are you going to raise venture capital that will keep me in the deal for six, seven, eight, nine years? Or are you aware of the new trend towards early exits? Show me how I can get my money back in three to five years and even I’ll be saying, “That was a good presentation!”

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The new risk capital reality: What now?

This is the third article in a continuing series that examines the state of the ecosystem necessary to successfully bring technology to market. Based on dozens of interviews with entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors, business leaders, academics, tech-transfer experts and policy makers, this series looks at what is working and what can be improved in the go-to-market ecosystem in the United States, Canada and Britain. We invite your feedback.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

In our previous post, we explored the massive changes that have occurred in North America and Europe that have led to a contraction of traditional venture capital investment.

These long-term trends have left early-stage companies in a tight spot. They must become increasingly creative to shorten time to market, become more capital efficient and generally figure out how to do more with less. The cash-burn of years past is no longer an option, if it ever was.

Rise of the super angels

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Flow-through shares for technology companies

As part of our ongoing series examining the ecosystem necessary to bring technology to market, we asked the dean of Ottawa’s technology sector, Denzil Doyle, to weigh in on some of the critical issues facing technology companies. This is the first of Denzil’s commentaries and we welcome your comments.

By Denzil Doyle

During the past three or four decades, Canadian policy makers at both the federal and provincial levels have tried just about every trick in the book to finance technology companies, particularly those that are at an early stage in their development. In the early 1980s, we had the Scientific Research Tax Credits (SRTCs) that allowed technology companies that were not yet profitable to predict in advance what their R&D expenditures were going to be during a certain year and then effectively sell those expenditures to taxable corporations and individuals for use as tax write-offs. The troubles came about when the companies were asked to verify their expenditure to the tax authorities. Many CEOs and CFOs ended up in jail or spent years dealing with aggressive tax auditors.

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