Services for Investors and Funding Agencies
While RP Photonics works mainly on technical issues of manufacturers, its services are also interesting for venture capital and funding agencies.
|Technical help for clients|
Independent Assessment and Comparison of Technologies, Products, or Technical Approaches
Commercial investors do not need to be told that significant investments of venture capital require a thorough evaluation of chances and risks (due diligence). From RP Photonics you can obtain a competent and independent assessment of the applicant's claims, as far as they relate to technological issues.
For example, RP Photonics can check
- whether the development plans are scientifically and technically sound (feasibility, viability, etc.),
- whether there are competing (possibly even superior) technologies, and whether the management is aware of those,
- in which way the chosen approach distinguishes the company from its competitors, and how their achievements compare with the state of the art
- whether the development is reasonably structured to ensure efficient processes (see e.g. the article on laser development)
- and to what extent the team has the technical competence to implement the plan (or how this competence could be supported).
For these purposes, RP Photonics can study documents such as business plans, proposals, R & D plans, patents, etc., and compile the results in a well-written report. As required, RP Photonics is prepared to visit the company in order to analyze presentations, to clarify details in discussions, and to have a look at production equipment.
In the case that a market study or a detailed assessment of intellectual property (including subtle legal issues) is required as a supplement to technological evaluation, RP Photonics can team up with a partner in order to incorporate such aspects as well. Also RP Photonics can contact other specialists in order to clarify additional details.
Such services are required particularly by investors, who consider to engage in a high-tech company or to acquire it, and need due technical diligence as a part of risk management. However, the services are also of interest for other companies intending to subcontract a development, to license a technology, or to set up some other kind of partnership. The own management or the chief technology officer of a high-tech company may also desire to get an independent second opinion on a technological route before making far-reaching decisions.
Due diligence should also be an issue for funding agencies, spending tax payer's money on high-tech research and development. A thorough and competent evaluation of research proposals is not a luxury, but rather indispensable for a responsible handling of tax payer's money.
In any case, a small fraction of the project cost is well invested to make sure that the money is spent on projects which are technically sound, innovative and well placed in the market. Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta of RP Photonics has extensive experience with funding proposals and research contracts, and he has in several cases helped to avoid funding of poor projects by revealing serious flaws within just a few hours.
Development of Funding Schemes
It is a non-trivial task of funding agencies to develop sensible criteria for research funding. A task force for such a project will need experienced experts such as Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta of RP Photonics.
Helping Your Clients
If you have done an investment into a high-tech company, and this company gets into trouble, you may want to suggest someone who might be able to help …
Of course, you hope that you never get there. You are using due diligence as a means to avoid it. If it happens, however, it can be important for various reasons to analyze in hindsight what caused the failure of a project. In particular, one can learn from mistakes provided that these are properly understood – without a natural bias arising e.g. from threatening damage claims and alike. For that, you need an independent expert.
Your Needs Are What Counts
For such services to be useful, it is vital that they are not only carried out in a technically competent manner, but also that the communication between partners with rather different backgrounds (e.g. financial vs. technical) works well. RP Photonics begins such a cooperation with carefully checking what the actual needs of its partner are, in order then to find a package which addresses those. Special care is taken for presenting the results of an evaluation in a way which is understood by non-technical personnel. Advice is usually delivered in the form of carefully prepared reports, but telephone consultancies are also possible. As required, an evaluation document can be complemented with a personal discussion for clarifying any remaining questions.