Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Year. New Opportunities.

It was a good long run, and I gave it my best shot, but a hurdle has been stumbled over.

Sadly, my hopes for Stage 2 funding on the Fillip initiative have not been realised. Of course it was great to get to the finals, but it was not to be.

And not the happiest of news to get just before the festive break.

I guess it was just one I felt was so 'right', namely the means to protect the idea and package it in a form to take to major institutions nationally and internationally, my inherent 'wait 'til you see the cheque before popping the cork' caution still had too much of a sneaking hope that this would be 'the big one' attached. Especially as the day before we'd learned that the international search examiner has concluded that the invention is 'novel' and 'not obvious', which is good in IP terms.

Though my IP adviser was upbeat, I must say I walked out the presentation pretty much certain of the result.

There was one question that was asked, and though I know the answer we gave was reasonable I knew it was not the one that was required.

This was to ask why, in light of all the PR and awards, there were no companies or VCs beating a path to my door.

Though not given in such terms, it seemed pretty simple to answer. As of this moment, no companies relevant to the concept have yet been approached, save for the technical folk at closures manufacturers. And this was done more to confirm the practical applicability, and also to seek complementary branding techniques to add sales and marketing value to its obvious raw material and CSR benefits. Both these aims were achieved at the Brussels conference, and frankly as no one thinks much of anything from late November save the best way to Xerox their tushie at the company bash, I saw no point in following even that up 'til the New Year.

And as to VCs, well, it's not an area I have a huge experience with, but other than a few rare instances, I rather think that you go to them. That's just the way it is. Being money folk they know how you keep the upper hand in negotiations, and making the first approach isn't it.

So I had concentrated on looking down the idea and building a solid story behind it using the talents I do have, before considering engaging other talents I know I do not to bring it to those who bring it to market.

Sure I am more than disappointed, and this is doubtless reflected here, but I must say that I am really losing faith in the system that claims to be keen to support the solo creative innovator, but all too often seems more geared to dealing with more traditional enterprises who talk in terms that make the boxes a wee bit easier to tick.

I know RE:tie can make it. And in doing so be an acorn from which so much else in the world of second use design can derive inspiration, so it will be be onward and upward come the New Year.

As one door closes, another opens...

2 comments:

Dave said...

Peter,
Don't get too despondent - there are innumerable examples of excellent ideas that took ages to get to market - maybe you should follow the four Dyson rules -
1) never give up, and
2) never give up, and
3) never give up and
4) take some little pleasure in turning down those who initially turned you down once you are successful.

Peter said...

Thanks for that. Much appreciated.

I see RE:tie as a money-maker that will fund Junkk.com which, though I remain convinced will eventually bear fruit as a sustainable business, is still a slow-burner. That said, the 3,000th person has just signed up for the newsletter, which I really must write the next edition of before year's end.

Sadly, pumping more money into yet another speculative eco-venture is taxing the family finances a tad. hence the slight blow this was. It was good money and could have been well directed.

But the rules are well taken.

There is some brutal truth in number 4. I have actually penned a business-based book called 'The Accountant Monty Chrystal', based on just such a premise.

There are a few I'd like the pleasure of staring down and saying 'remember you said this would never work?'.

Especially the guys from the Creative Innovation Fund a few years back who reckoned my ideas were 'too left-field and hadn't been done before'.

Actually I'd prefer to make it and then be a tad more positive in victory.

So, along with my idea for enviro-conferences that are actually designed to help those with good ideas to attend such things when they can't afford them, I'd also like to create a matchmaking service that hooks up those with good ideas and a bit of business sesne with those who have good business sense and a slight notion that money isn't everything and doing well plus doing good may be more satisying than coining it just for the sake of making dosh.