Invention to Investor

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Investors like making money

The lawyers say that an inventor should not collaborate because the act of collaboration creates co-inventors.  The inventor should not perform market testing of their inventions before filing for a provisional patent because sharing the idea before it is protected makes it public, and un-patentable.

More “inventors”  mean more “mouths to feed” and the investor finds this less attractive and potentially open for litigation.  No one, especially the investor is interested in litigation the rights to the inventors ideas.

Investors want clean work as described in the seven items below.

Inventors lonely work

These are strict requirements and the inventor has the unenviable task of creation without feedback (unless a rock solid, derivative ideas protected NDA is in hand).  The corporate inventor has resources to invent, but the sole venture inventor has to perform the following:

  1. Is there a market?
  2. Is the invention a good idea, feasible to make?
  3. Does the prior art cover the invention?
  4. Is it reasonable to think the invention is patentable?

Once the provisional has been filed, the inventor performs these tasks

Inventors Housekeeping

  • Budget
  • Voice of the Customer
  • Business Case

With the provisional patent application completed, and the seven items addressed, the inventor may speak to partners and financial sources with confidence.

Is there a Market for the invention?

Googling is one of the best ways to find out if there is a market for competing products. (Always there is competition). If there is a market for the competition, there is a market for a new invention.  Judging a market for a new version of a known commercial item is easy (the market is big).  Judging the market for a niche item is difficult without interviewing customers.  Unfortunately, at the invention stage, it is verboten to talk and the inventor has to use personal judgement. is a good tool for this research on inventions.

Is the invention a good idea, feasible to make?

A successful invention is practical to make, fulfills a need and follows economic sense.  If the new hairbrush only works if it solid gold, it is unlikely to sell well, even if it is easy to manufacture.  Yes, this is an extreme example to make a point, but make sure that the invention makes sense from a cost of materials and production viewpoint.

Downloadable Budget Sheet Coming Soon

Does the prior art cover the invention?

Search the internet for your invention.  Then search google patents. ( before you bother with a paid patent search.  Diligent informal self-directed patent searches have as good a chance of finding relevant patent material as most paid searches.

Is it reasonable to think the invention is patentable?

More to follow



Categories: Funder, Inventor

Business Case

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Bottom line – if the invention venture is going to make a lot of money, the money to get started is easier to find with a business case in hand.

The thirteen elements to the business case: Voice of the customer, product definition, comparables, product launch plan, development plan, competition, gross sales / net income, product expansion or one off, operations plan, selling price, the size of the market, product justification, and risk assessment.

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The components interact and form a detailed business case.  The venturers know what is at stake, the cost and the rewards.


Categories: Funder, Inventor

Venture Inventor

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Two choices for an inventor:

Venture your invention or let someone else make it. The wise choice for most inventors is to let someone else make it. A few take the venture path and fewer still succeed.


Venturing an invention means that the inventor is in the business of making and selling the invention.

Inventing is a learned art, like music, sculpture, and writing.  Like art, it is not enough for the inventor to have good craft skills. The great inventors display talent, inspiration, and vision.

An invention without a business case is like the phone without service. The great invention turns into a brick.

Read: One of the best books for venturing new products is written by Robert G. Cooper and his team.   

“Cooper, R. G. (2011). Winning at New Products: Creating Value Through Innovation. New York: Basic Books a Member of the Perseus Books Group”.    

The business case includes thirteen elements: Voice of the Customer, product definition, comparables, launch plan, product plan, development plan, competition, numbers, product expansion line, operations plan, market analysis, preliminary sales price, the size of the market, product justification, and risk assessment.

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Planning involves resources, time, and money.  Sophisticated tools like open source Project Libre provide comprehensive planning opportunities, paid programs (Eg. Basecamp, Zoho) provide interesting, non-traditional, intuitive project planning.

Project Libre and other traditional project management tools (Eg. Microsoft Project) offer good communication with industry.  See the “user examples” from the Project Libre site.

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Development requires management skills.  The inventor conducts the music of the inventive process.  Disparately located teams test and make components of the invention without face to face interaction.  Mikogo and other screen sharing programs are vital to making communication of the inventor’s vision.  Real-time understanding of mechanical processes is available via Skype, Facetime, and other video software.

Sales work best with thoughtful product launches.  The twelve considerations of product launches:  website, boots on the ground, pricing, salespersons, creative deliverables, prospecting, social proof, directories, strategy, advertising, public relations and technical matters.

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Categories: Inventor