The Hook Appropriate Technology is an innovation firm, engaged
in technology transfer, licensing, and new product development. Our company
is committed to bringing new products to market. Mainly what we do is help
our clients focus --and-- act as a matchmaker. A major distinction is that
we generally do not charge up front fees, but get involved selectively
on a performance fee or equitybasis; our typical arrangement is
also non-exclusive, so that working with us is basically a risk-free
proposition for our clients. Our mission is to add value and help our clients.Our criteria
for new projects is designed to build both strength and flexibility. We
offer a wide array of skills, contacts, and specific technologies.
Experience has shown that there can be significant hurdles in taking a
new product through to realization in the marketplace. With proper proactive
planning, the likelihood of success is increased. We offer inventors, universities
and industry practical solutions and a vital link between the two sides
of technology transfer: development --and-- commercialization.
The main service we presently provide is licensing and marketing patented
products on behalf of patent owner and inventor clients. Although our most
effective work is through active pinpointed contacts with industry
on behalf of clients, we also offer passive anonymous website postings
of new products available
and new technology wanted.
The benefits of brokers in various industries are well known. Big companies
are weary of being approached by individuals, many of whom have no more
than an idea they
thought up the previous night. In such a setting, it is often difficult
for a professional inventor to be taken seriously in a business proposal.
And just as patents make lousy brochures, patent attorneys make lousy brokers.
Yet, once contact is made and possible interest is established, by the
very nature of business, brokers are almost always better positioned to
negotiate for a client than the client alone; in many cases, the fee paid
by the client to the broker is surpassed by a factor of several times in
the difference between the price that the client could negotiate on their
own and the increased price obtained by the broker. Plus, industry contacts
of a broker often augment those of the technology developer. For inventors,
the use of a professional marketer can spur on or catalyze an otherwise
plodding process; additionally, the involvement of a marketing expert lends
credibility to the project, especially valuable in early commercialization
stages. For acquiring companies, we provide de facto pre-screening
and a centralized bank of new technology opportunities. Everyone benefits.
A Fresh Approach
Our performance based approach is a leading concept in the innovation
industry. Philosophically, we shy away from client/ provider relationships,
but instead seek win/ win relationships based upon mutual performance.
We seek the few viable ideas which will change the world and become commercial
successes. In today's business climate we generally act as a marketing
agent, although it is anticipated that as our capital base builds, our
investment activity will increase. We share in the belief than the best
business situations come from transactions where all parties make money
and perceive advantages.Our approach seeks to partner with the inventor
for proven results. We are extremely excited and optimistic about the prospects
of this business strategy to build long term value. We see some fabulous
new products coming across our desk, and we have some terrific clients!
A Tough Market
Business is war. Unfortunately, the hard fact is that most inventions fail.
'Inventions' are likely not novel, do not solve a meaningful problem or
do not offer a significant advantage over the existing technology. There
is a certain practicality that is required for most inventions to be marketable.
The market is the sole arbiter. The vast majority of ideas (and even patents)
never make money. The odds are at least a 5:100 ratio of successful products
to patents, or worse. Unprotected ideas face even greater odds. All take
time and money to develop. Whereas 'inventions' may often fail for lack
of meaningful 'technology' --'technology' rarely fails due to inherent
problems; new technology usually fails due to the problems in the business
aspect of commercialization. Generally for a new product to be successful
there has to be: a large amount of 'pain' in the marketplace, a high demand
niche, or the device has to possess powerful attributes as incentives to
Even revolutionary, patented and needed technology is very challenging
to commercialize. This is irrefutably proven by the fact that even the
greatest inventions of our society such as the telephone, dry photocopying
and the television were either derided as toys, laughed at or not widely
accepted at their inception. All took years to introduce. Even with a highly
motivated and organized team, new product development is measured in years,
not months. Legend has it that freeze dried coffee took 14 years to make
its appearance. Other inventions have taken as long as 50 years or more
to make it into commerce, especially ones requiring additional infrastructure
in the marketplace to maximize functionality. For example, fax machines
were only useful when the other guy had one too. Electric cars may only
be practical when there are recharging stations also. Computers only gained
mass acceptance with user-friendly graphical user interface software.
The many problems in a new product cycle are not to be underestimated.
The average product may take 2-5 years to commercialize. Although their
new product may be excellent, getting market share is not easy. Inventors
face daunting problems including a dismal banking attitude, non-existent
seed capital sources, high government fees --and on the side of prospective
acquiring companies --"Not Invented Here" outside invention phobias,
corporate egos, fears of undermining sales of existing product lines and
perceived threats to previous capital investments. Often the "stick" (the
potential acquisition by competitor) is more compelling than the "carrot"
(the promise of making money from a new
product) which is often seen as risky and as undermining existing marketing
efforts or previous investments. Another big risk of proven new technology
is the struggle for ownership as people start to smell money and intellectual
property title becomes clouded.
High Risk/ High Reward
Innovation can be a risky business, yet, with the right combination
of need, marketing, and proprietary leverage, success can be massive. The
inventor of the airbag is now worth half a billion dollars, but it didnít
come easily; GM and others were harshly skeptical in the initial analysis.
A type of water pistol earns the inventor royalties on $200 million in
sales annually. So there is light at the end of the tunnel for the right
product. Risk is greatly diminished with proper research, proactive planning,
good management and decisive action. Our strategy is to simultaneously
embrace and minimize risk, and in the process, maximize value.
The average new product will require many hundreds of thousands or several
million dollars to fully commercialize and market. Significant investment
is usually required for everything from tooling to media buying. Whereas
a bank may be unrealistically concerned with balance sheets, we are more
concerned with the strength of the technology. Yet, licensing to a truly
receptive and progressive manufacturer with an existing infrastructure
is almost always more affordable and effective than starting a company
from scratch. For inventors seeking manufacturers, bigger is not always
better. The average company targetted by us for technology acquisition
will have tens of millions up to several hundred million dollars in sales
--a company large enough to have a national distribution infrastructure,
but one small enough to be receptive to outside innovation.
Still, companies of all sizes are leveraging technology. Corporations across
the spectrum are realizing the advantages of R & D, technology acquisitions
and cooperation. Intel has an R & D budget in the BILLIONS, with good
reason; look at their stock chart, a rocket launch. Many corporations acquire
patents to remain ahead. Two industrial companies jointly licensed technology
then each kicked in $1 million to build a plant to produce a product for
their mutual benefit. Two computer hardware competitors cooperated in research
and development on a new technology to benefit them both. Companies are
taking a new look at strategic partnerships and technology acquisitions,
and are getting excellent returns from innovation.
Licensing In/ Licensing Out
Universities and clients with large portfolios of patents are realizing
that their best talents lie in developing technology, not marketing it
or commercializing it. Strong economic incentives exist for universities
to place products with industry. Similarly, many corporations are realizing
the tremendous advantages and cost savings of using the raw intellectual
capital and R & D facilities of universities which are difficult to
duplicate. Why try to duplicate a corporation in the university? Or vice
versa, why try to duplicate a university in the corporation? Why undertake
replication of something that is better done elsewhere --especially when
a marriage can be made? The intellectual savvy of the inventor or the university
(the "crude oil") and the market savvy of the company (the "pipeline")
can be a match made in heaven.
A New Beginning
If you are not totally discouraged by the cold water, sharks and choppy
waves--jump in! The water's fine! Best of all, our performance based involvement
means we add virtually no risk to your organization, only potential value.
If you have new technology or are an inventor, you just might have the
right product to be a success. If you are an entity with technology needs,
you will be well served by your faith in the resourcefulness and ingenuity
of the human mind. Inventing and new technology implementation is a fascinating
field. The risks are large, but so is the potential for success.
Best of luck to you. Whatever your needs may be, we hope you will consider
The Hook Appropriate Technology as Your Partner in Success