InvnTree, a startup that initiated with the idea of delivering patent services globally has been moving forward in the right direction. This is what the co-founder, Kartik Puttaiah had to share with the team of SoS.
SoS: So, how did the business idea of an IP-related start-up come about? Also kindly introduce us the founders.
Kartik: I am one of the founders of InvnTree. Prior to starting the company, I worked in the field of IP for five years. I started my career in IP with a large company where I was working in their consulting practice. Thereafter, I moved to a much smaller IP consulting company, which was in its nascent stage, where I worked for four years. The latter company provided a good perspective for building a business. Given my experience in the field of IP and my inclination to start a company, I decided to start a company that provides IP services.
SoS: What kind of research you did before venturing out into this business?
Kartik: Nothing. I had the desire to start a company by the age of 26; and a month before I turned 27, I decided to quit to start a company on my own.
SoS: What kind of services / products does your start-up to the customers?
Kartik: InvnTree is a people and process driven company that offers a wide array of patent services. We leverage our technology and patent expertise to provide superior quality patent services.
SoS: What is your target market and how do you reach your audience?
Kartik: InvnTree caters to a global clientele that includes technology companies, in-house IP counsel, law firms, IP licensing and management companies, investors, individual inventors and academic institutes. We reach our target audience by sharing our knowledge in the field of IP via various communication channels, which include, publishing articles, speaking in conferences, newsletters and social media, among others.
SoS: How is your start-up different from the several operating in the system? Name at least 3 distinguishing factors and the reason to choose the same.
Kartik: We focus on empowering our employees with best in class skills. It is the skill set of our employees that attracts clients to us, who avail our services at a premium compared to several competitors. Further, we have carefully designed processes that enable us to deliver services of superior quality consistently. These processes relate to project initiation, project execution, all round internal feedback, client feedback and incentive schemes for employees. More importantly, it is our perspective towards projects that sets us apart. Each project is not just an opportunity to execute a set of tasks that lead to completion of a project; rather it is looked at as an opportunity to learn, refine our skills and set higher benchmark for future.
SoS: Did you raise funds and what are some of the challenges you faced in your early days and now?
Kartik: We had managed to have clients even before we formally incorporated the company. Hence, we have so far never faced cash crunch. Further, we have made a conscious decision to grow organically.
SoS: What does an average customer must know about intellectual property, patents and trademarks?
Kartik: Most of our customers, who are large companies, are aware of how the IP strategy fits their overall business strategy, and the role we play in the ecosystem.
Those who are new to IP should understand that intellectual property rights in an intangible asset that can be effectively used to gain competitive advantage and increase the valuation of their venture.
SoS: What have you planned for your start-up in the coming years?
Kartik: We would be introducing a host of software products that cater to the needs of various stakeholders in the patent domain.
SoS: What do you want to say about your team?
Kartik: Our team is the most important part of the company. We will put all our might to make each one of them stand out among the IP professionals in India.
SoS: Can you describe your revenue model to us? How it works?
Kartik: In most cases, each of our services is availed at a pre-agreed fixed fee. Occasionally, we work on retainership and hourly billing basis.
SoS: If there is something that you want to change about your start-up journey, what will that be?
Kartik: We could have built a dedicated team for sales and marketing at a much early stage of our journey.
SoS: Share some anecdotes that have turned into worthy lessons.
Kartik: Without going into details, a worthy lesson for everyone would be to have the right agreements in place with clients, clearly define the scope of work and terms of payments, make sure you get paid as per the terms without being lax just because it’s an old client or you assume that the client is financially healthy.
— Team SoS