Creating wealth for founders and early investors involves careful planning during the formation of your company and your technology. Strategies for both intellectual property design and the development of channel partners for reselling should be considered.
The design of your intellectual property is one critical strategy. You should build your technology so that you can retain and protect certain parts of the core IP (your “secret sauce”), while allowing yourself to license out other layers of your complex application to OEM or SaaS customers, and to resellers.
Another critical strategy is planning for your sales and revenue through indirect sales channels (partners, OEMs, resellers, bundlers). With the growth of SaaS technology, I am getting more and more requests to help companies build their channel strategies, so that my clients’ technology can be bundled, integrated and otherwise re-sold through partners. These partners add their own technology or services and need my clients’ technology to enhance their offerings. There are many variations on the deals that can be made, and new strategies for the outreach to reselling partners.
But if the intellectual property has not been designed in the beginning to separate the secret sauce from the applications that can be re-sold, the growth through these new channels will not succeed.
And, as a capital strategy, you may ultimately be able to spin off and sell off a particular application to a buyer with a combination of non-exclusive and exclusive licenses. I often use this selling of a particular application, into a vertical market or a defined territory, as a creative way to infuse new capital into a company without loss of equity.
To do this, the IP must be designed and patented carefully from the beginning of development. This is a case (again) of considering capital strategy, sales strategy and exit strategy in the very early stages of a company’s development, in order to create wealth at the exit.