Many entrepreneurs start their new companies with the intention of commercializing
creative business models and innovative ideas. In a strong sense, many of these
startups are high tech and have become a platform in which new business owners can
offer simple prolific solutions to existing market problems. Entrepreneurs who wish
to launch such high tech startups should always be aware of any emerging technologies,
so they can try to commercialize and market those ideas. One important question
may remain: how do entrepreneurs find new technologies to start companies?
Invent new technology
Entrepreneurs can acquire new technologies by actively researching and developing
new solutions to solve current technological flaws. Although much of the research
in the fields of pharmacology, cloning, and biotechnology require the utilization
of expensive laboratories, other technological research and experimentation can
be done in one’s home. For example, an entrepreneur simply needs a few computers
to develop a new software technique. Similarly, the use of a simple breadboard and
a few inexpensive electronic components are sufficient to invent a new electronic
device. More promising is the fact that a number of technology enthusiasts, who
have worked out of their own home garages, have proposed and prototyped several
automobiles that run on solar electricity and hydrogen.
Many successful entrepreneurs, who have typically worked from their garages, have
invented new technologies that have changed the world. For example, William Hewlett
and David Packard, who founded the Hewlett-Packard Company, or HP, started their
collaborative efforts from their garage. Today, HP has grown to become the world’s
largest vendor of personal computers. In addition, both Steven Jobs and Steve Wozniak,
co-founders of Apple Inc., also began their partnership in the same manner. They
assembled the first prototypes from Wozniak’s bedroom and later, in Jobs' garage.
Today, Apple, Inc. is the leader of consumer electronics and software.
If, on the other hand, entrepreneurs need access to expensive machinery to develop
their products, they can visit their local open-access workshops (e.g., www.techshop.ws that will charge them a small nominal fee
for using their tools. Some of the many useful tools found at these workshops include
lathes, welding, cutting machinery, drills, etc. By taking advantage of this work
space, entrepreneurs can use their creative ideas to become inventors. S/he can
decide to keep a majority of the equity for himself/herself when s/he forms a management
team. The entrepreneur must also understand that they have to sacrifice both time
and energy in order to properly develop a commercially viable technology and to
create a successful business model.
Partner with a technologist
Another way in which entrepreneurs can invent new technologies is by partnering
with professional experts to start their companies. The term “technologist” refers
to skilled individuals who have immense aptitude for electronics, computers, and
other technologies. They are also most likely to prefer the role of a CTO (chief
technological officer) rather than be involved in business development.
Technologists can either be domain experts who have many years of experience in
their field or are young graduate students who have developed novel technological
innovations. It is an interesting fact to note that most technologists do not have
business experience; therefore, entrepreneurs who have business experience can easily
compliment their commercialization efforts. To many entrepreneurs, this disparity
of backgrounds works well together since the inventor can partner with the entrepreneur
in taking the company forward. On the other hand, the entrepreneur may end up with
a disproportionate amount of equity since s/he does not contribute to the technical
know-how and may not be given a major stake in the company.
Entrepreneurs can license technologies for a researcher’s new invention. These researchers
can comprise of scientists, professors, patent owners, or just be individual technology
enthusiasts. They highly prefer inventing new technologies rather than taking part
in the commercialization process. They also tend to remain as technical advisors
to the entrepreneurs when their businesses move forward.
Providing licensing technology is not just limited to individual inventors. It can
also be provided to large institutions such as universities, federal laboratories,
research organizations, and other companies. Since many major universities in the
U.S. have a technology license institute, they strive to license all the technologies
that have been developed in their educational facilities. For example, MIT's Technology
Licensing Office has diligently helped a number of entrepreneurs by licensing their
innovations. Similarly, federal laboratories offer technology licensing to entrepreneurs
A good example is NASA, who executes hundreds of technology licensing agreements
annually with new inventors.
In addition, some existing companies not interested in commercializing some of their
technologies can also provide license technologies to entrepreneurs. Licensing technologies
from institutions are by far the simplest and most effective ways of acquiring technologies
to start companies since entrepreneurs have the choice to select among different
technologies before investing his/her time into it.