Mario Cameron: Turning Science into Business: From Research to Market – the Epyxs Case


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This presentation was held by Dr. Mario T. Cameron during the FITT conference „ICT Innovations: Research > Business > Society“ on 10 May 2011 in Brussels.

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Mario Cameron: Turning Science into Business: From Research to Market – the Epyxs Case

  1. 1. Turning science into business:From research to market – the Epyxs caseMario Cameron, PhDICT Innovations: Research → Business → SocietyBrussels, 10 Mai 2011CameronPartners Mannheim, Germany – Concepción, Chile
  2. 2. AGENDAOur business modelThe Epyxs case Company overview Previous history New strategy Development results Current statusSome lessons learnedCameronPartners Mannheim, Germany – Concepción, Chile
  3. 3. AGENDAOur business modelThe Epyxs case Company overview Previous history New strategy Development results Current statusSome lessons learnedCameronPartners Mannheim, Germany – Concepción, Chile
  4. 4. WE ENABLE BUSINESS, ECONOMIES AND SOCIETY TOGROW THROUGH INNOVATIONCameronPartners is an indepedent knowledge firm specialized in innovation in itsbroadest sense. Our offering includes research, advisory, implementation antraining services.We based our work on a firm belief: innovation is today the single most importantfactor to improve productivity and competitiveness of enterprises, institutions andeconomies.Since 2006, we support business enterprises, clusters, investors, governments,agencies, universities, research and development centers and business incubatorsin three interrelated fields: Corporate innovation Innovation systems Economic developmentCameronPartners enabling growth through innovation
  5. 5. WE ENGAGE IN JOINT LEARNING AND DEVELOPMENTPROCESSES WITH OUR CLIENTSWe see the changes in the economy, technology, politics and society in context. Weare rock solid in analysis and diagnosis, but refreshingly creative in exploringoptions and solutions for complex problems.OUR COMPETENCIES Systemic understanding of innovation as a factor of the economy Extensive experience in scientific research and technological development Deep knowledge in the management of companies of all sizes Application of empirical social research methods and participatory developmentCameronPartners enabling growth through innovation
  6. 6. WE HAVE DEEP KNOWLEDGE IN SOME VERY PROMISING FIELDSFOR THE KNOWLEDGE ECONOMYTo be able to critically evaluate the opinions of experts, we are active in scientificresearch and technological development, carrying out activities that go beyond theusual ones of a consulting firm.AREAS OF EXPERTISE Life sciences, biotechnology and medical sciences Renewable energy and energy efficiency Advanced industrial technologies (communications, automation, mechatronics, electronics, image processing, computer vision, etc.)CameronPartners enabling growth through innovation
  7. 7. HOWEVER, THE UNOFFICIAL MISSION OF THIS “PLATFORM” IS TO SUPPORT THE DEVELOPMENT OF NEW TECHNOLOGY VENTURES We identify interesting early-stage projects in our areas of technical expertise We do not ask for business plans; we prefer to initiate a conversation We help to design a business strategy working iteratively We provide hands-on operative support in most relevant areas We co-finance these efforts with cash generated from our consulting projects We try to get rewarded asking for a portion of the value createdCameronPartners enabling growth through innovation
  8. 8. AGENDAOur business modelThe Epyxs case Company overview Previous history New strategy Development results Current statusSome lessons learnedCameronPartners Mannheim, Germany – Concepción, Chile
  9. 9. COMPANY OVERVIEWEpyxs develops and markets advanced digital protection and forensic technologies to secure, track, trace, indentify and authenticate goods and documents.
  10. 10. THE INITIAL RESEARCH PHASE WAS DRIVEN BY CURIOSITY AND FORTUNE1998 Prof. B. Wirnitzer from the Institute for Digital SignalProcessing of the Hochschule Mannheim began to study thestorage of digital information in raster images.2000-2000-2002 Wirnitzer participated in an industrial project tostore digitized audio signals on 2D-codes and begun todevelop the 2D-code with the highest storage density.2003 Wirnitzer noticed that printed high-density 2D-Codeshow different microscopic patterns and came to the idea touse this pattern to protect documents from forgery.2003 Slavi Bonev developed the first prototype to acquire thestochastic pattern, to determine a signature and to evaluatethe feasibility of the new technology in laser printing.
  11. 11. FIRST TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER RESULTS INFLUENCED DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES FOR SEVERAL YEARS2004 Presentation of the concept at the Hannover IndustryFair to identify use cases and potential industrial researchpartners for the S2i Technology with no major success.2004 S2i Technology was included in the database of theEnterprise Europe Network, and discovered by an Austriancompany interested in using it to protect the content ofprinted and electronic invoices.2005 With the financial support of the Karl-VölkerFoundation the team developed a solution to protect thecontent of degree certificates using the S2i Technology.2005 MFG distinguished the solution to protect degreecertificate with the award. The technologywas licensed to the Austrian company.
  12. 12. ATTEMPTS TO PROTECT IP AND FIND INVESTORS FAILED DUE TO REDUCED MARKET KNOWLEDGE2005 Patent management agency of Hochschule Mannheimdeclined to support patenting due to lack of marketpotential. The rights were transferred to Wirnitzer and Bonev.2006 Presentation at MFG´s Heidelberger Innovation Forumto identify industrial research partners or investors to developthe technology to protect documents with no success.2007 The Austrian company canceled the license contract ascommercialization efforts didn‘t succeed and fixed license feewas considered too high.
  13. 13. 2007 A STRATEGY TO REORIENT AND RELAUNCH THE VENTURE WAS DESIGNEDObjectives of the new strategy:— To create a success story for potential sponsors and investors— To embed the venture within major social, business, technology and/or investor trends— To demonstrate a tougher business intention— To create an inspiring mission and vision— To improve the business idea iteratively on the market— To let the market drive the technology and product development— To brand the single technologies and the company— To use business media as promotion multiplier
  14. 14. SEVERAL MONTHS WERE INVESTED TO ITERATE THEINITIAL TECHNOLOGY, PRODUCT AND BUSINESS IDEAS— Venture capital consultants— MFG´s Heidelberger Innovation Forum— Research and innovation agencies— Trade exhibitions— Business plan, innovation and start-up contests— Potential end users and market channels— Venture capital companies
  15. 15. END 2007 TWO FUNDING POSSIBILITIES TO FINANCE THE FURTHER DEVELOPMENT WERE AVAILABLE— Rich: To sell a controlling stake (50%) to a venture capital company for at least xx M€ and commit full-time and exclusive dedication to the venture.— King: To sign a cooperation agreement with an industrial research consortium, geared to further develop the technology for mass anti-counterfeit applications.
  16. 16. THE JOINT RESEARCH PROJECT SHOWED TO BE A GOOD CHOICE DURING THE FINANCIAL CRISIS— 42 month duration (2008-2011)— 3,5 million Euro budget— 50% from industry partners— 50% non-refundable grant from BMBF— Free use of the technology for the participants during the project— No funds for management team
  17. 17. THE RESEARCH PROJECT FOCUSED ON THEDEVELOPMENT OF THE TECHNICAL INFRASTRUCTURE Software for capturing devices Production Equipment Applications and infrastructure
  18. 18. … AND ON THE PROMOTION OF THE ADVANCES AND RESULTS peer- 7 peer-reviewed scientific publicationsSamples of packaging and labels International launching events
  19. 19. CURRENT STATUS— Technology passed successfully a large-scale multi- year paid pilot test for a multinational manufacturer of industrial goods in four Eastern European countries.— Carrying out several paid feasibility studies for existing and new applications with European and Asian companies.— Developing a new technology to support forensic identification of high-security documents (passports, currency notes, etc.)
  20. 20. AGENDAOur business modelThe Epyxs case Company overview Previous history New strategy Development results Current statusSome lessons learnedCameronPartners Mannheim, Germany – Concepción, Chile
  21. 21. HOW TO CREATE SUCCESSFUL AND SUSTAINABLE BUSINESSESFROM ICT RESEARCH RESULTS?— Technology transfer measures has to exist during the whole research project— Business ideas need to be validated and improved iteratively on the market— Entrepreneurial spirits need to be motivated to work with scientistsWHAT ARE THE BOTTLENECKS THAT STOP INNOVATIVE IDEAS FROMREACHING THE MARKET?— The business plan is a huge hurdle for scientists and engineers— Consultants, angel and venture investors, etc. tend to behave as inquisitors— The entrepreneurs are the ones that risks most in this game— There is no much support for entrepreneurs that want to create a family businessCameronPartners enabling growth through innovation
  22. 22. CONTACTSMARIO │ +49 621 438 5477Richard-Wagner-Str. 2968165 Mannheim - GermanyPAULINA HENRÍ │ +56 41 220 7124Edmundo Larenas 424-B4070415 Concepción – ChileWWW.CAMERON- PARTNERS.COMCameronPartners Mannheim, Germany – Concepción, Chile