What kind of company are you ‘in’?

I just got done reading and commenting (I’m basically reposting my comments here to start shaping a new post on the topic – transparent content development) on a great post over at CleanTech Venture Captial Insider Report – I like the framework of Type I v. II companies as it relates to startups and venture investing. Having been involved in both types of companies & industries (I think some industries or predisposed to dominant models). I simple framework I adopted while at IBM working on big picture Innovation projects is: Invention + Commercialization = Innovation. Like you, I tend to assess opportunity through this lens so I can gage what is needed and what the focal points are for execution. I look at your Type I through the lens of invention where the technology/science/idea are really what drives success. I look at Type II through the lens of commercialization where go to market is the issue. To me the art of Type II is deep consumer/customer insight on a truly unmet need. Sometimes that will happen from study, but one of the beauties of today’s web technology, is you can create solutions and experiment to see if the need is big enough. Type I is based on the ability to place bigger bets as the upfront investment tends to be greater and traction more costly to gain. It’d be interesting to see some data comparing the success rates of the two types and comparing investor/entrepreneur returns. At the end of the day they are both fun and can be lucrative for all parties involved – but understanding which one you are ‘in’ is critical for success.


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