|Technology assessment and development strategy
It's important to establish at the outset that establishing a business venture is indeed the best route to commercialising the technology, e.g. that it provides a risk return profile that best suits objectives of the various founding parties, be they scientist-inventors and/or the institute from where the technology and ideas were sourced. This would involve PBL-Ventures carrying out a technical and commercial assessment of the technologies and the potential development routes, how these fit with objectives of the source institution, and any other considerations that may be important.
Assessment and evaluation of the business opportunity
Assuming that a new venture is the most suitable exploitation route, a thorough assessment of the business opportunity would be required, including:
- market evaluation/projection
- an analysis of competition
- customer analysis
- requirements for R&D and business operations and an initial assessment of the technical and business feasibility.
Where we believe external case-specific consulting expertise is advantageous we will arrange this and cover the costs of such engagement.
Intellectual property assessment
Well protected technology is a prerequisite for a technology-based start-up company. PBL-Ventures is able to provide a comprehensive assessment of any intellectual property involved in the new venture, including patent assessment, novelty searches, and FTO analyses, from its own in-house resources. In addition PBL-Ventures can provide valuable input into the future filing and prosecution strategy for the venture's patent estate.
PBL-Ventures may also invest directly through covering external fees and costs of patent prosecution prior to any venture financing.
Business planning and strategy
It's essential, both for the business and for promoting the business as an investment opportunity to financiers, to prepare a comprehensive, well developed business plan and associated high quality presentational material. This requires more in depth assessments of technology, markets and competition to be carried out; potentially using external consultants/intelligence to ensure that findings are valid. The plan will need to cover all aspects of the business opportunity in a way that is clear and understandable to potential investors. PBL-Ventures will cover the costs of market research and will meet the costs of specialist consultancy where appropriate to assemble an investment-ready business plan.
Identifying and recruiting management
Arguably the most important aspect of any new venture is its key management staff; the quality of these people will determine whether or not funding is received and whether the business thrives or not. PBL-Ventures will utilise its extensive network of contacts in the biotechnology, agriculture, food and biomedical industries to identify and recruit business managers that have the correct experience and skills to successfully take the business forward. PBL-Ventures will cover the initial costs of seeking and engaging such founding management onto new venture projects.
Sourcing and in-licensing of technology
PBL-Ventures, through the expertise, infrastructure and experience of its parent organisation, is able to provide access to a wide range of technology in the plant and microbial science areas. Such technology may be available in PBL's current portfolio or sourced for a particular project - the PBL team is highly experienced and has great expertise in the identification and sourcing of valuable early stage technologies.
Seeking and engaging strategic business partners and key customers
It's important for the success of any venture that the correct partners are chosen; valid reasons for including partners may be access to technology or specific R&D resources. The timing of engaging strategic business partners or key customers is vitally important at the early stages of company formation. PBL-Ventures can assess and advise on the suitability and timing of any involvement of commercial partners whether as equity participants and/or as early strategic partners in the new venture .
Company Secretarial function covering company formation
PBL-Ventures can provide a company secretarial service during the formation process of new companies, including such procedures as:
- change of company name
- notification of directors
- provision and alteration of memorandum and articles of association
- authorisation and issuance of shares etc.
Such services can be provided at PBL-Ventures cost.
Legal and contractual arrangements relating to company formation
During the incubation and formation process various legal documents and contracts will commonly be needed, such as:
- confidentiality agreements
- consulting contracts
- preliminary employment terms
- IP licences and/or IP assignments
- and shareholder agreements licensing and/or assignment of IP.
PBL-Ventures can broker and provide many such contracts as part of its company formation service. Where external legal resources are required PBL-Ventures will cover the costs of such engagement.
Some form of investment finance will usually be required in order to establish operations of a new company. It will be important to the future of the business that the most appropriate types of investment (and investors) are utilised. It is important that investment funds or the nature of the investor(s) do not compromise the operational capacity of the venture or its ability to raise further funds. PBL-Ventures will assess the finance requirements of the business and recommend the most suitable source of funds for the venture. PBL-Ventures has contacts for and experience of sourcing various types of finance including public funding, grants, loans, business angel investment and venture capital.