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Championship: Making the most of the juicy leftovers

This is the 23rd 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

Last week, tech heavyweights from around the world lined up to bid for Nortel Network’s portfolio of more than 6,000 telecommunications and web-related patents. When the dust settled, the portfolio had been sold for five times the opening bid and at least twice as much as analysts had expected.

Feisal Mosleh, vice-president for acquisitions at Intellectual Ventures, put the Nortel sale in context for MarketWatch.

“Since the market took off in the last eight years or so, intellectual property went from being an unused asset in the corner to a prime financial asset that can be traded,” he said, adding that, “there is no shortage of capital for the right invention. It’s one of the most differentiating aspects of business today.”

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Championship: Opening up the ivory tower

This is the 22nd 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 the context of getting technology to market, “champion” can mean a lot of different things.

Early in this series we defined it as individuals within established enterprises who see the value in supporting a new venture or investing resources in an innovation to help realize its commercial potential. This is often driven by the need to solve a pain point that the patron organization has been unable to address with its internal resources.

A champion can also be a senior decision maker within a large enterprise who provides the clout and support for a successful spinout. Many companies often sit on proprietary IP and leave its commercial potential unrealized because it doesn’t fit with their product lines or existing markets. However, with a little vision and persistence from few committed intrapreneurs, a new company can be born.

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Recent Comments

  • James LaPalme : Francis Would not say thrived - but close - in spite of geography. 15ish years ago - a group of similar skilled and experience and capable business folks (sales, channel, alliance, business development) all lived in Canada (Ottawa-Toronto-Waterloo). All except for one stayed - that would be me. Well the guys that went to Silicon Valley have thrived well beyond expectations. The others - Boston, Dallas and EU have done very well - thrived. My survival has been predominately based on CEO's from outside Ontario seeing my value. Best to move on to more receptive fertile ground if ambitious. A successful strategy is to move south do a few years and remove the pure northern business experience then come back - which my experience is very few will.

  • Francis Moran : I'm so glad to see you warming to this idea, Luc. Not that you were ever one of those mindless critics who automatically opposed the proposal; you were properly skeptical and demanding that it contain more of what folks like you and I believed was necessary for success. Looks like the city is listening.

  • Luc Lalande : Hi Francis, thank you for the steady and keen eye on the development of this important project for the City. I share your view that open spaces in the building’s design will be critical components for encouraging spontaneous interactions between people. Integrating such spaces in the Innovation Complex sends the right signals to the community-at-large and not just the local startup ecosystem: everyone is welcomed! With respect to Patti’s comments about the arts sector, it would be worth bringing back to light that the Hintonburg-Mechanicsville area has emerged as the first Arts District in the City of Ottawa, housing many artist studios, performing arts studios, and media groups. While the 7 Bayview located Innovation Complex may cater to the entrepreneurial set, there is still considerable property on these lands that could, one day, be developed and capitalize on the area’s sizable artistic community. But perhaps the open spaces at the Innovation Complex can be equally accommodating for anyone who embraces creativity and entrepreneurship: artists and innovators alike.

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