Importance of IP For Start-ups and Entrepreneurs (Part VII): Raising Funds from VCs and Investors in India

The post below has been  previously published on 9th December, 2014. Besides minor dated references, the post gives a basic understanding of how start-ups can raise funds and get investments from venture capitals and other investors, through their intellectual assets.

Funding activities during the last quarter, especially when it comes to start ups, was great! Apart from the US$ 1 Billion Fundraising by Flipkart, India saw several start ups being funded at various levels. A Report indicates 93 deals and a total funding of INR 97,738 Million. With the Flipkart deal, e-commerce businesses lead the pack in percentage of start ups funded based on sector.

With respect to start up activities in the country, a 2014 NASSCOM Report rated India as the fastest growing start up ecosystem and the third largest in the world. This report estimates that India has around 3,100 start ups, and that 800 of them are being set up every year. By 2020, it estimates that India’s start up size will be around 11, 500.

There is no doubt from the numbers and the environment one feels in India today, that entrepreneurship is on a serious rise. The increase in start up activity also means inevitable increase in fold ups. As a thumb rule, business experts estimate that 90% of all start ups fail for various reasons. One of the factors that has long proven to sustain, establish and help grow a start up, is Intellectual Property.

IP, in several instances, has also enabled entrepreneurs salvage some value out of an otherwise failed venture. Those who have gone through cycles of funding will point out that IP, especially when related to Patents, plays a vital role in raising funds, and exiting with substantial profits. What then holds an entrepreneur from realizing value from intellectual assets? To keep the answer simple, three reasons often plague this possibility:

  1. Lack of awareness and Expert Advice
  2. Lack of Resources, Financial and Otherwise
  3. Inability to visualize the Macro level or Larger Picture

Solving these problems can also be summarized in 3 simple steps:

First Step: An Intellectual Property/Patent Expert needs to be approached – someone with experience not only in working with start ups, but also in helping them grow.

Second Step: Work with the IP Attorney/Expert to ensure that your IP assets achieve the broadest possible protection to suit your business objectives.

Third Step: Plan Intellectual Asset Creation and Protection to achieve maximum business value.

It must always be borne in mind that cutting corners with IP could mean cutting short a start up’s business value.