Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Accidental Licensor

I had dinner this weekend Bijoy, the founder of Bootstrap Network, who has spent the last five years building content, relationships, and ideas for Bootstrap and its community. He has created a brand, and the brand continues to grow.

Bijoy was telling me about the many business collaborations he is involved in through Bootstrap. Most of these partnerships hinge on a revenue sharing agreement. Bijoy owns the content, allows the partner to use the content to create and sell a product, and he shares a portion of the revenue.

Bijoy is in the licensing business, and didn't even know it! He has built valuable Intellectual Property that others are willing to pay to use and embed in their products. His revenue sharing model is the equivalent of a royalty license agreement. For every item sold, Bijoy receives a percent of net sales.

Now the fun part.

Bijoy was complaining that he had a difficult time tracking the sales results of his growing list of partners. He and his "Licensees" had been using email and spreadsheets to keep tabs on sales and payments owed. As a result, there was confusion, delays in reporting, and many partners were way behind on their payments.

It was like a fastball right over the plate for RoyaltyZone.

Luckily, Bijoy had his laptop with him. We created a RoyaltyZone account and published a license agreement for one of his licensees in a matter of minutes. Now Bootstrap has a way to keep everyone on the same page regarding how, what, and when reports and payments are due. Bijoy has a dashboard view of all his partners, what they've sold, what they've paid, and what they owe.

The light bulb went off! Ideas started flying around new ways to license the Bootstrap brand and IP, now that there was a tool in place to track performance and payment.

Welcome to the licensing business, Bijoy! I wonder how many other accidental licensors are out there...

Lou Ellman is the Founder and CEO of the bootstrap startup RoyaltyZone

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