NOTE: I'm promoting this to the top today because of its comment thread.
When I first interviewed Richard Wingard back in September, I thought little of it. He seemed to have a clever way to research basic research, using individual investors. He promised new technology enabling video compression on cellular and dial-up lines. Cute.
Then some of Wingard's investors started commenting here. The number of comments grew and grew. They've turned this comment thread into their own little clubhouse, swapping takes and rumors on the company's promised sale, which in the interview Wingard said would happen some time this year.
Interesting. Enjoy the thread, and if you're part of it, thanks for visiting. We do other stories.
Richard Wingard has figured out a way to fund cutting-edge technology with angel investors, and hold them in their investments for nearly 7 years. (The picture is courtesy the University of New Hampshire alumni association.)
Wingard runs Euclid Discoveries, which is working on an object-based video compression technology he says will deliver 10 times the performance of MPEG-4, enough to "turn your iPod into a DVD player."
And he's done it all with angel investors, who are best-known for backing only early-stage customers. Wingard has rejected the entreaties of venture capital firms, saying their time frames for pay-outs are too short. Yet he has succeeded in getting angels who will wait as much as 7 years for a private auction of his technology, and a distribution.
Want to know how he did it?
- Communication -- Both Wingard and his partner spend an incredible amount of time communicatiing with, and preparing communication for, the investors.
- Validation -- Wingard hired Charles River Associates (now known as CRA International) to validate his claims, and value his claims, before asking for new investments and higher valuations.
- Patents -- Wingard aggressively sought patents for his technology and now claims valid patents on video compression techniques he's using dated as early as 2004.
- Exit Strategy -- Wingard has been clear with his investors from the beginning on exactly how and when they will get their money out, through a private auction of the technology, when it is ready for commercial deployment.
"There are more angels out there than in the past 5 years," he concludes. "Weve now got a very good model, about getting investors, about maintaining them through the long haul of R&D."
This may be how U.S. R&D gets done in the future, so give Richard Wingard a hand.