Now in its fifth year, Stephen Robertson reflects on how IP100 entrants are successfully utilising their IP assets to increase access to funding and support business expansion.

Since the IP100 launch in 2015, we have eagerly watched as many IP League Table entrants have learned about effective IP management from the IP100 process, improving their IP score each year and using it as a valuable and reliable IP benchmark. Entrants that have successfully developed the key IP assets in their business are armed with a new narrative to impress investors, lenders, partners and customers alike.

Effectively building and managing a strong IP portfolio can complement business growth and provide a gateway for high-growth companies to enter new markets and build new business relationships. This year has seen many achievements by IP100 entrants and some notable examples include Smith & Sinclair which achieved a successful exit to Nasdaq listed Tilray Inc. Management acknowledged that the company’s IP strategy combined with their track record of innovation ultimately helped secure a successful M&A deal.

Over the five years, we have been pleased to see that entrants are using the IP100 to demonstrate improvements in the management of their IP, measuring the outcomes and ROI of their IP investments. Edinburgh-based golf technology manufacturers Shot Scope Technologies was able to exploit its IP assets to fundraise, procuring more than £5m of private equity funding to support its venture into the U.S. market. Shot Scope climbed the IP League Table ranks, last year entering the top 20, and this year achieving a place in the top 10. M Squared received a £2.9m grant from Scottish Enterprise to help accelerate its world- leading research, and in the process supported the creation of circa 24 new jobs.

This additional funding for M Squared builds on prior funding rounds during its time in the IP100 raising almost £5m in equity funding. Grant Fraser, CEO of Glasgow-based Digitonic, featured in the IP100 since 2016, said the IP100 helped them secure an 8-figure valuation; the company used the IP100 benchmark to help identify areas to improve IP management and ultimately increase its business valuation.

Where a business focuses time and effort on promoting a strong IP culture it is clear that not only does its IP score increase, so too does its ability to fundraise. This was evident in the case of Cambridge-based biotech entrant Sphere Fluidics, who in 2019 secured another £1.5m of investment building on the £15m in equity funding it raised since joining the IP100 in 2015. This year, Sphere Fluidics has for the first time reached the top ten overall, having scored 25th in 2016, 21st in 2017 and 15th in 2018. Its implementation of a bespoke trade secrets policy resulted in achieving the second place in that category, and helped improve its overall ranking to 7th place. With its IP asset portfolio increasing and bolstered by opportunities afforded by membership of the IP100 Club, perhaps it is no coincidence that Sphere Fluidics has seen such huge success in its fundraising efforts.

The IP100 continues to be a real and effective benchmark for companies seeking to boost their profile and increase their access to lucrative business opportunities. Over the coming year, we look forward to seeing these IP100 entrants and others gain the recognition they deserve for the investment they are making in their IP.

Read the full IP100 publication at:  IP100_2019_Issuu.pdf (197 downloads)