As founder of your own platform, what does inspirational leadership look like to you?
As a founder, your leadership methods must evolve. Early on, being able to motivate your team to follow you on a quixotic journey is imperative. Over time, you must lead by developing talent and encouraging people to become leaders on a focused commercial mission. An inspirational leader can evolve, encourage and mentor new leaders to take charge.
What were some of the main challenges you faced when growing your company into what it is today – and how did you overcome them?
IPwe was too early in 2018. We saw the potential of new technologies to change how companies manage intellectual property, but our messaging was off and the market was unprepared for change. We persevered, improved our messaging and spent significant resources educating the market and developing our technology. Today, as digital transformation is being adopted in the IP space, our vision has been validated and our technology is ready to facilitate the digital transformation of intellectual property.
IPwe is working to becoming the definitive fintech platform for intellectual property. How do you expect the fintech landscape to evolve over the coming 12 months?
I believe we will see the realities of the recession intersect with the rapid adoption of fintech solutions over the next 12 months. There will be fewer fintech companies launched and many that do not survive as venture capitalist funding dries up and fintech development budgets are cut. We will also see wider adoption of fintech solutions at larger companies as they endeavour to adopt solutions that dramatically lower costs and increase efficiency.
In that same light, IPwe’s product suite lowers costs and improves efficiency of managing intellectual property for business leaders. In the next 12 months, we expect to continue to see growth in companies using our Smart Intangible Asset Management platform to drive down costs and time spent managing intellectual property.
What key changes have you observed in the US IP scene over the course of your career?
When I started in 2003, intellectual property was almost exclusively the provenance of lawyers. I came from the finance world, and most of us had no understanding or interest in intellectual property; it was seen as something to be used for defensive purposes. The key IP management metric over the last century has been ‘how many’ – how many patents you have and how many you will get next year.
I saw the first significant change in 2008: some people in the financial world started paying attention to intellectual property. Today, this change has accelerated and many more people in finance – funds, banks and finance groups – are applying financial management metrics to intellectual property.
In 2017 I saw what I believed was a transformation driven by open source and a change in views on innovation, with intellectual property being viewed as a means to encourage and expand commercial opportunities. This change can be seen in how intellectual property is protected, managed and utilised, and requires new methods and systems for business leaders to manage it.
This innovation mentality shift can be seen in IPwe’s Smart Pools, where the world’s leading innovators contribute rights to license their patents to various Smart Pools for SMEs for free. The membership rates top out for the world’s largest companies at a fraction of what they would normally expect to pay. A few years ago, encouraging SMEs to license your intellectual property or trying to attract thousands of licensees would have been unheard of. Today, such a structure is accepted as it encourages adoption and innovation.
How does IPwe use AI and blockchain to enhance the IP space?
IPwe was not the first to think about improving understanding and transactional efficiency of intellectual property. Many before us had ideas on how to analyse or transact it more efficiently, but it was all done by humans and did not scale. In 2018, IPwe recognised that AI could improve understanding, while blockchain could improve transactional efficiency. Explaining the value of integrating blockchain and AI into IP management was difficult and many had serious doubts at first. Over time, the technology underpinning how IPwe delivers data-driven answers to IP questions for business leaders has shifted out of focus with the mass adoption of blockchain and AI. Now, the focus is on what IPwe is doing, the solutions we deliver and how those solutions improve the management of intellectual property for business leaders.
Chief Executive Officer
Serial entrepreneur and industry luminary, Erich Spangenberg is a pioneer and leader in patent monetisation and has generated over half a billion dollars in licensing, settlement, and enforcement revenues. Mr Spangenberg founded IPwe in 2018 with the mission to create a platform that enables business leaders to smartly manage intangible assets through data-driven recommendations.