This is a book written for persons who have an idea with commercial potential, such as inventors, engineers, scientists, or managers, or anyone else with the initiative to develop the idea. If you are such a person and have a serious desire to do something with your idea, you will find this book to be invaluable. Readers will benefit from the substantial complementary careers of the authors, who have drawn on years of professional experience ranging over engagements as entrepreneurs and equity investors as well as patent search and business intelligence advisors. Lütolf-Carroll and Pirnes have included in one volume all of the building blocks you will need to assemble in your first months as a new entrepreneur. In the process, they will help you identify key pitfalls that you must avoid, and arm you with the tools to avoid them
The book is aimed directly at first-time entrepreneurs. While there is a large number of books on innovation and entrepreneurship, this book is unique. Those other books will tell you what to do as an innovator, such as pursuing disruptive technologies, opening up your innovation process to external sources of ideas and technologies, constructing more open business models to create and capture value from your ideas, or co-creating value with your customers. This book is distinctive, because it tells you how to turn your idea into a profitable business. As the title suggests, the book will take you from your initial innovation, all the way through to your generation of positive cash flows.
This combination of savvy business advice and extensive legal documents is original, and the authors deserve our thanks for pulling them together. The book contains, among other items, valuable investment documents, such as alternative valuation mechanisms for a new venture, a typical term sheet for a venture capital investment (which is drafted before the money is received by the entrepreneur), an investment agreement (where the money actually is received by the entrepreneur), and even a discussion of a venture capital investment that went wrong.
The authors also understand the importance to entrepreneurs of protecting one's intellectual property. So in this book we find sample nondisclosure agreements, licensing agreements, discussions of effective and ineffective patent applications, patent maps that show areas of opportunity or vulnerability, comparisons of trademark, copyright, and trade secrecy documents, and advice on when to use which means of protection.
Successful entrepreneurship increasingly requires a global perspective, even from the inception of the business. This volume helps here as well, showing the many legal differences between U.S. and English law with regard to intellectual property protections and also between English and Continental European law. As you seek to create your business in one region, it is vital to understand these legal distinctions as you later expand your business into other regions, where different rules apply.
Finally, the book offers very helpful, very detailed examples of how to organize, negotiate, establish, and then manage strategic alliances. Again, the book provides excellent documentation of how alliances can be constructed, from start to finish. Transaction terms, termination provisions, intellectual property, risk management, and ongoing mediation of alliance disputes are all discussed.
This is a book to be read and then revisited. You will want to come back to this book time and again for references, for sample documents, and for sage advice on how to take the next step. It is no exaggeration to say that you may save thousands of dollars in legal costs alone from using the material in this book. And your chances of being a successful entrepreneur will likely increase as well.
Adjunct Professor and Executive Director, Center for Open Innovation Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley
Karl S. Pister
Dean and Roy W. Carlson Professor of Engineering Emeritus, UC Berkeley