University Spin Off Companies: Better Management and Stewardship Of Intangibles Can Speed Up The Commercialization Process?

Michael D. Moberly     November 22, 2011

Intuitively, the speed which a (university-based) spin-off company can deliver its invention is a critical factor to its overall success and attractivity for (continued, future) investment. The question presented here is, can consistent stewardship, oversight, and management of the ancillary-complimentary intangible assets which are integral by-products to faculty researcher inventions make the process quicker?

A quick, but obviously biased, answer is an unequivocal yes!

More convincingly though, in a still relevant study produced by Ans Heirman and Bart Clarysse formerly of Ghent University and now with ScientificCommons, put forth the notion in their paper titled ‘Do Intangible Assets at Start-Up Matter for Innovation Speed?’

In their paper, the authors found that intangible assets such as:
• start-up management team and founder experience, tenure, routines, and cross-functionality
• alliance and/or collaboration agreements with other relevant parties and organizations
…combine to serve as important and contributing factors to innovation speed in terms of execution.

Experienced entrepreneurs know innovation speed, i.e., time to market for new product launches is important for many reasons, key among them are to gain:
• early investment to achieve more (greater) financial independence,
• broader external visibility and legitimacy as quickly as possible,
• early competitive advantages, i.e., market position and possibly market share.

The researchers in the aforementioned study acknowledge innovation/development cycles can vary relative to, among other things, phases of product development tasks and phases, and the technologies required, etc., among other variables.
Again, no surprise here, other than making the argument once again, that identifying individual and/or inter-connected clusters of intangible assets that frequently emerge as ancillary and complimentary by-products of faculty research and innovation should not be dismissed, overlooked, or neglected as potential (and additional) sources of value, revenue, and literally potential ‘building blocks’ to compliment (future) innovation.


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