As the industry has expanded over the past few years, many portals have popped up to fill the demand. One such crowdfunding platform recently launched wasFunderbuilt. Set up by a group of entrepreneurs to empower entrepreneurs, creators, and philanthropists (aka, project owners), Funderbuilt provides the tools and resources necessary to crowdfund dreams. Funderbuilt sets themselves apart from other crowdfunding platforms by focusing on project owner education and empowerment on fundamentals to ensure success.CrowdFunding marketing
Michael S. Melfi, Founder of the IP law firm Melfi & Associates PC, is also Funderbuilt’s General Counsel. Like many of the women profiled in my blog onFemale Inventors In The Business Of Law, Michael is an entrepreneurial attorney–his clients include early stage companies less than five years old who are raising their first round of outside money. The following interview will be the first in a monthly series with prominent attorneys, investors, and entrepreneurs–of course with an IP twist.Kickstarter Marketing
I was excited to interview Michael, who shares my passion for IP, on a Sunday morning in Phoenix late last month. I asked Michael to talk to us about IP and fundraising in broad terms below:
Why is an IP strategy important for fundraising?
In your professional opinion, would you like to see entrepreneurs with more of an IP strategy? Why or why not.When presenting to potential funding sources, the IP portfolio is very important. We are in an era where anyone and everyone are capable and have the resources to implement an idea. With so many ideas out there as well as multiple individuals or companies working on similar ideas and technology, it has become more important than ever to have an IP strategy that takes into consideration how the IP will be protected and ultimately monetized.
It is important for startups and early stage companies to take the necessary steps to establish an IP strategy, an action that requires an investment into the IP. Early stage companies often focus on operations and sales, items that are a necessity in the short term. However backers looking to make long-term investments, as well as a return on that investment, are looking for security in the future, and without IP protection the investment can become questionable and riskier. Indiegogo Marketing
What do you look for in a company in terms of an IP strategy?
When evaluating a company for investment, there are a few key items to look for:
- Did the company take the steps necessary to evaluate and assess their IP through a lawyer or third party company to determine their needs?
- Upon receiving an evaluation, did the company take appropriate measures to secure and protect their IP?
- The importance of the IP is always considered as part of an investment analysis: the more important the IP is to the business, the more important the IP strategy becomes.
- Depending on the type of the IP, we will analyze the scope of what the IP covers and its potential for monetization. This will often affect the valuation of the company as part of the investment.crowdfunding websites
Any IP horror stories to share? For example, instances when a company should have had a better IP strategy in place but didn’t.
- – -On two separate occasions I had companies come to me after they had been denied funding because they lacked an IP strategy. They needed help getting organized to go back out to investors. In both situations, the companies had good ideas with the passion and dedication to make the project successful, however when questioned about their IP strategy during their presentation, they failed to demonstrate the value of the IP for their businesses. If they had sought advice sooner, the first round out to investors would not have been wasted; they would have protected the IP asset(s) that the investors considered critical to their business moving forward. Protecting the IP and showing how the IP will be managed is key for companies seeking investment.
Having that initial discussion about your IP can mean the difference between whether or not your fundraising is successful, and can also impact the value of your company from day one. Michael’s answers above apply to all fundraising, but again, IP should be identified and protected prior to any public fundraising.crowdfunding marketing
Posted from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/maryjuetten/2014/07/10/crowdfunding-and-intellectual-property-tips-from-an-entrepreneurial-attorney/