As you know, Stage 7 is the final stage of the Edison Nation Eight-Stage Review Process. Passing through this stage means you are a finalist and your idea will be presented to the search sponsor – this is also known as becoming a “G7.” Getting to this stage in and of itself is an accomplishment, but what happens now? What really happens behind the walls of “The Waiting Room”? This post takes you through the elusive Presentation process.
Once an idea reaches Stage 7 and is deemed a “finalist”, the real work begins. At this Stage all final discussions are conducted around the submission. Our team reviews the Intellectual Property search results, evaluating that while YES it did clear through IP Stage, does it offer the breadth of protection that sponsor may need to move it forward to market? We also evaluate all communication with the sponsor, ensuring that what will move forward to a G7 meets all their specified criteria for the search.
Our objective is to typically give the benefit of the doubt to submissions at this stage, with a clearly documented, ready-to-explain position on the item IF we have any hesitations about its potential or it being an exact fit for the sponsor. It then moves to G7 and is added into a custom-built presentation for the search sponsor.
To answer your question, yes, it is more than just putting a PowerPoint deck together. Just ask our resident presentation guru, Scott Dromms…
The objective of our team for every presentation we go into is to have done the due diligence about the industry and our partner’s place in the industry, so we come in and demonstrate an expert’s awareness of the business. Will we know more than the partner who lives and breathes that specific industry day in/day out? Certainly not, but coming in and demonstrating the research and due diligence put into preparing to “be” an expert on their behalf is essential to our success.
I often like to have some obscure fact about the category that the sponsor works within, and share that information during the presentation. One example is when we met with the team at Miss America. Before the presentation began, we discussed the actual historical origin of what we today know as the Miss America Pageant. For you trivia buffs out there, the pageant was created when business leaders in a small New Jersey community created the “Fall Frolic of 1920” to extend the tourism season past the Labor Day weekend in their community.
In another presentation we spoke about the number of US households that have dogs. In case you were wondering, 83.3MM dogs are owned in the US, in about 47 percent of US households, and 70 percent of those homes have one dog, 20 percent have 2 dogs, and 10 percent own three or more dogs.
Discussing these types of facts and tidbits of information can also help open the room up a little. We always stress to our partners this is an open dialogue with a more informal atmosphere. We want it to be an innovation session, more than a presentation. The goal is to have them with an open mind and be ready to be creative, as we will have tried to prepare ourselves for any and all questions, concerns, issues, etc. that could be raised during the meeting.
In the end, every ounce of effort we put into a presentation is focused on one thing – to shine the best light possible on those innovative ideas generated by our amazing community of innovators. We try to have ourselves positioned multiple steps ahead of where the conversation “may” go, and have definitive, knowledgeable answers that best position your ideas for success!
So, what really goes on before, during and after a presentation? Now’s your chance to find out…
Each idea is researched thoroughly prior to presentation. We start with information gathered during the review process – potential competitors, manufacturing hurdles, intellectual property challenges, etc. – and then, we go further. We become true subject matter experts not only on your idea, but how your idea will meet the needs of the sponsor, so during the presentation, we are prepared to answer any of their questions. This is all done to give your idea the best possible chance for licensing success.
The location of each innovation search presentation varies based on the search sponsor – some take place within the Edison Nation offices, while others take place at the sponsor’s headquarters and some are even done via video conference. The Edison Nation team does their best to accommodate the needs of our partners.
The audience for each presentation also varies company by company. Depending on the size of the company, the presentation can be given directly to the CEO or it can be given to an entire team comprised of executives, product development staff, the marketing and sourcing teams or any combination thereof.
Presentations take about two to three hours. Open, honest discussion is encouraged after each finalist is presented and all feedback is recorded. At the conclusion of the presentation, the sponsor team decides which ideas they want to consider further and is left with a digital version of just those finalists for further due diligence.
Now that the presentation is complete, the EN team can breathe a sigh of relief right? Not so much. The work does not stop because the presentation is over – we’re just getting started…
The morning after:
Back at EN headquarters, all feedback is compiled and reviewed by the EN team and we begin our next steps:
- Prototypes and additional information are requested from finalists who are in due diligence
- Feedback is shared with those finalists whose journey has come to an end
- An update is provided on the forum thread associated with the search
At the same time, the sponsor starts its due diligence period. During this time, they are evaluating all selected finalists to determine costing, manufacturing, pricing, marketing, distribution and more.
Once the EN team has provided the sponsor company with all the information they need to complete their evaluation, we follow up regularly by both email and phone to ensure everything’s running smoothly. As we receive information from the sponsor, we share it with finalists and via the forum thread so everyone is on the same page.
At the conclusion of the due diligence period, the sponsor makes a final decision on all remaining ideas. For those going to license, term sheets are requested and negotiations begin.
Do all searches work the same way?
In theory, yes – ideas that reach Stage 7 are presented to the search sponsor and/or manufacturing partner for a potential licensing deal. But, because we work with companies varying in size and category, we have to be flexible. Some deals happen quickly, while others can take years. Some companies review all finalists simultaneously while others review and license one-at-a-time. The only constant is change.
Regardless of the company, we do our best to keep all finalists updated with the latest and greatest information available so you know what we know.
Good luck to all G7’s and be sure to check out the forums for search updates!