New company finds home for intellectual property

One of the grim side effects of the economic downturn is the collapse of companies with technical skills and intellectual...

One of the grim side effects of the economic downturn is the collapse of companies with technical skills and intellectual property assets.

A group of software veterans, including three former top executives at i2 Technologies have launched a new company designed to find and re-deploy intellectual property that has been orphaned in the economic slump.

Dallas-based Titan Ventures formally launched its operations last week, with Reagan Lancaster, former president of i2, serving as president and chief executive officer; Dave Cary as chief financial officer and Claudio Osorio a founding partner of the new venture.

The company plans to take outsourcing one step further, by becoming the trade intermediary between those who have and who that need software IP, or by forming specially created subsidiaries that will focus on marketing and selling it.

"The goal of the company is to add new life to intellectual property assets that have been written off," Lancaster said. "In today's times, the venture capitalists are at their wits ends investing in start-up companies and are willing to write off companies with no revenue."

The company plans to acquire intellectual property for enterprise applications from a variety of sources, including IT vendors, user companies, open source developers and consulting firms.

Because of the stress to the bottom-line in the current economic crunch, many vendors have whittled down their product line from perhaps hundreds of solutions to only the handful they can afford to market, Lancaster said.

For these companies, Titan plans to offer to set up a new company to market specific products, giving the former owner a 19% stake, a percentage of revenues and an opportunity to buy back the technology when the market improves. Titan will take employees that support the technology off the books of the vendor and employ them with the new company.

"It gives them a toe in the water to keep in touch with the talent and the technology out there without writing it off," Lancaster said.

Titan will also be targeting the top 500 US companies that may have custom developed technology for in-house use. The company will offer to support and maintain the application developed by the user company, but market it to other non-competing companies, Lancaster said.

"There are so many companies that have great technology and they're treating it as a cost centre, and they could have a viable product that could be profitable."

The company will also act as a merchant for IT vendors seeking to acquire a specific type of technology.

Titan estimates that software IP assets languishing unused in corporations, failed start-ups, educational institutions and government agencies have a value of more than £350bn.

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