Big News: FounderDating is joining OneVest to build the largest community for entrepreneurs. Details here
Latest Notifications
You have no recent recommendations.
Name
Title
 
MiniBio
FOLLOW
Title
 Followers
FOLLOW TOPIC

Question goes here

1,300 Followers

  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur
  • Name
    Entrepreneur

What do you do when an Inventor is holding back the launch of a new startup business?

Scenario: There is an exciting new healthcare technology product and a new company and launch team formed, and potential customers are asking for demo's, and overall excellent progress in just 4 months. However, the inventor of the product is holding his product and source code so close to the vest that we can not effectively perform due diligence on the software - so that we can conduct our review, determine our MVP, and go get investor capital to take this product to market. We are licensing the software from a University. Would love to get my followers and experts on startups, to provide their perspectives on how to address this inventor in the short run, and what kind of role the company should have with this inventor going forward.

30 Replies

Brian McConnell
1
0
Brian McConnell Entrepreneur
Head of Localization at Medium.com
The question to ask is _why_ he is reticent to share information. Two possibilities come to mind. 1) he has something to hide or is not confident the invention will stand up to scrutiny, or 2) something about your team has set off his spider sense.
Matt Harrigan
2
0
Matt Harrigan Advisor
President & CEO at PacketSled
Sounds like you probably need to review your license agreement from the university. Is it a source license or a runtime license? If he/she won't comply with simple requests to review the product under NDA then this will be the first of many problems you will encounter with this person. If that happens, I would walk from the deal before your headaches get bigger. Perhaps when your inventor realizes that there is no business rationale to work with them, they may change their tune.
Andrew Whitaker
1
0
Andrew Whitaker Advisor
Managing Partner, Kings Highway Media
Why is right.
That said the inventor may not wish to answer that question if he isn't secure about the proper ownership registration of his IP/invention.
Arshad Syed
3
0
Arshad Syed Advisor
CTO & co-Founder at iEHR Online Inc.
Hello Gary, Clearly the inventor is concerned about losing control of the IP - this is a natural reflex. Objective reasoning etc. alone will not convince such inventors - as smart folks, they must see that the venture needs to expose granularity of invention to potential customers. In my past startups, I have brought along such inventors to meetings with our potential clients. There must be prior understanding with the inventor that he/she must remain a silent observer during the meeting. After a couple of such meetings, the inventor will see the need and benefit of relaxing the grip. I have learned a lot from the book "Crossing the chasm" to handle similar situations. Perhaps your inventor should read the book. Hope it helps, --arshad
Chris Kitze
0
0
Chris Kitze Entrepreneur
CEO at Safe Cash Payment Technologies, Inc.
Does the company have the proper releases in place from the inventor? Typically, the inventor will get a stock grant or payment in exchange for putting the IP into the company. The company will need to insist on a source code repository and back up in case the inventor "gets hit by a bus" and the company should have very clear rights to the invention, code and subsequent derivative inventions from that invention. That's all standard stuff and if he's not willing to let go of his baby, he will let his invention languish under his stewardship, without any outside investment. Someone else will re-invent this thing and he will never profit from his work. You might want to look around to see who else has such a thing who might be easier to work with. Very few things are truly unique.
R. Paul Singh
1
0
R. Paul Singh Advisor
Entrepreneur, Advisor, Get things done
If you are licensing software from a university it most likely has enough public information.
Many inventors have the issue of feeling insecure thinking someone is going to steal their stuff even if everything is clean. So your challenge is in first ensuring this person feels that no one is going to be able to copy his/her idea easily.

Also write a patent application before talking with anyone else if it is patentable.

If the idea is so simple and easy that it can be copied by anyone once they know then you do have a problem with the value of the IP itself.
Tom Collopy
0
0
Tom Collopy Entrepreneur
Fiduciary at Securus Inc.
Gary, It sounds like you need to get your license agreement with the University modified so that it defines what access rights you have to the source code and product.
David Austin
4
1
David Austin Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur
just an idea ...

If he's holding his cards that close it's probably something that could warrant a patent - and getting protection there can help him loosen up. Recommend that he quickly file a provisional patent application. Should cost him $65 if he does it himself (as a "microentity"). Lots of guides online to help him out. Ideally he should have a patent expert go over it, but not for the first one so he can just start talking. He can file as many as he wants, each adding successive strength to the ultimate patent.

The purpose for doing so, of course, is for his own comfort level, so he can feel comfortable about letting the information out there. Provisionals don't really offer any protection but they do provide a time-stamp placeholder for protection of the IP that is mentioned, which gets it's legal teeth when he finally files a patent application (within 1 year).

He doesn't need to get it perfect on the first provi. Just file something ... a page describing it briefly, then add to it over the next couple weeks with additional provis (also called PPAs). In fact he needs to understand though that if he wants to do this then he can keep submitting addendums at roughly the same cost (as many has he wants) up to the point when he files a true (non-provisional) patent application ... which must be done within 1 year of the first provi.
Sidney Amster
0
0
Sidney Amster Entrepreneur
Member Investors Circle
Gary,

I agree with Matt as both you and the University have a problem with a reticent inventor - the university as they need to clarify to you what are this person's responsibilities to assist and of course you as lack of clarity is a 'red flag' in moving forward. Either way you need to believe that you can move forward with full cooperation or this invention will join so many others that never get out of the University "lab".
Arijit Dutta
0
0
Arijit Dutta Entrepreneur
MD at BASIX Krishi Samruddhi Ltd.
V
Join FounderDating to participate in the discussion
Nothing gets posted to LinkedIn and your information will not be shared.

Just a few more details please.

DO: Start a discussion, share a resource, or ask a question related to entrepreneurship.
DON'T: Post about prohibited topics such as recruiting, cofounder wanted, check out my product
or feedback on the FD site (you can send this to us directly info@founderdating.com).
See the Community Code of Conduct for more details.

Title

Give your question or discussion topic a great title, make it catchy and succinct.

Details

Make sure what you're about to say is specific and relevant - you'll get better responses.

Topics

Tag your discussion so you get more relevant responses.

Question goes here

1,300 Followers

  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
  • Name
    Details
Know someone who should answer this question? Enter their email below
Stay current and follow these discussion topics?