Find the product market-fit to increase the chances of technology commercialization success.
This was one of the points raised by Prof. Federico C. Gonzalez, technical expert at the De La Salle University Innovation Technology Office (DITO) in a training-workshop on the Commercialization of Intellectual Property Protected Technologies organized by the Technology Application and Promotion Institute (TAPI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
Drawing from American technopreneur Marc Andreessen, Gonzalez said that most of the time, start-up failures happen when funds are depleted before finding the product-market fit. Product-market fit happens when the product created is able to fulfil a good market, that is, one with many potential customers.
He added that even the best product without a definite market would most likely fail. He admits though that there are few exceptions wherein in an “exceptional product” successfully created a market.
Gonzalez added that in targeting markets, it is not always necessary to look for the mainstream consumers. “Find out why there are non-customers and find a solution,” he said.
According to Gonzalez some non-customers can be constrained by skills, wealth, access, or time. When creating products, technopreneurs/inventors must address those constraints: make simpler, less expensive, more accessible, quicker products. For instance, the creation of e-books has allowed greater accessibility and saves time of customers.
He pointed out that there are also overshot customers, or those people who find the existing products overwhelming, or do not feel the need to keep up with the latest technologies. “He may have the money to buy an iPhone, but thinks that he can do or buy other things with P30,000,” explained Gonzalez.
Gonzalez added thatm usually, leading firms chase mainstream customers while new entrants chase the overshot customers.
He also emphasized in getting customer inputs to reduce failure in product market fit. This can be done by reading blogs, getting feedbacks from customers, surveys, among others.
Meanwhile, Prof. Nestor B. Nisperos, Jr., also of DLSU, discussed patent valuation, or the process of determining the patent value for a particular entity at a moment in time. Patent value is the economic benefits that come from patents.
Underscoring the importance of patent value, Nisperos mentioned that Motorola Mobility was able to sell its 17,000 patent portfolio to Google at $12.5 B in 2011.
He said that the conduct of a patent valuation may be done in relation to a research and development (R&D) funding decision, a product life cycle management decision (when entering or exiting a market), and a business strategy, among others.