On the first real working day of 2017, our own Brian Ottaviano joined host Dana Barrett on WAFS Biz1190 to discuss the top rung of the corporate innovation ladder: monetization. Brian brings 15 years of M&A experience with EY, and an expertise at maximizing the value of an acquisition. Brian and Dana’s 11 minute conversation really sums up clearly what The Combine does and how we do it.
Here are a few of Brian’s best descriptions of what The Combine does from the interview.
- The Combine is working with enterprises, companies with “non-core” or idle intellectual property (IP) and turning it into a business. Companies who are sitting on stuff, with no idea how to develop it into a business because it’s non-core. We’re not just telling them what to do with it; we actually implement everything from LLC to revenue planning.
- Example: Thornton-Thomasetti has various IP non core to construction engineering; we deal with the patent and figure out how to bring it to the market.
- Innovation is a buzzword around all companies and everybody wants to be a part of that, but it shows up on the P&L as an expense, dropping your bottom line, and shareholders don’t like that, especially activist investors. This (The Combine model) is a way of turning that expense into an equity line on the balance sheet.
- How is enterprise involved? They own it, we take equity stake in the neighborhood of 20%, and our goal is to take it and run wth it. We are the c-suite. We work with the tech founder who invented this technology and turn them from tech founder into biz savvy genius in our 2 year period.
- 2 years is quick, and that’s part of the point. If you had to sit on it for 3, 5, 7 years, the enterprise clients would be a lot less enticed to push this out. It’s the whole point that you can turn something from an expense into an equity line within a 2 year period that’s the draw.
- Why did they end up with random IP anyway From inorganic growth. Something came along with the reason you bought this company. It’s like “Steak knives when you bought that juicer.” You end up with non-core things, you’re throwing money at them because you’re “innovative”, but you’re spending money, hurting your bottom line, but what are you going to do with it?
- We’re not leaving you in a lurch with a plan. We are executing that plan.
- The ecosystem is broad. We have a bench that we will draw from. We will put people in charge that are capable of taking that business from this early stage to that next level.
- The idea is that we are fractional management. We are not there to run the company forever. Our goal is to bring it to an exit within a 24 month period through an IPO, P/E, series A investment. That’s the goal: to get it up and running on its own and we step aside.
- We’re a startup that creates startups.
- We happen to be in Atlanta. Our clients are in Glasgow, Edinburgh, NY, Cupertino.
Thank you to the Dana Barrett show for having Brian on the show and featuring The Combine! For more information on what we do and how we do it, click here to request an invitation to our next Investor Briefing. Listen to the entire radio interview (11 minutes) below.
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