Talk about burying the lede! The first time I read that next-to-last sentence, I just about fell out of my chair. The next-to-last sentence reads like companies have to assign their IP to Ad-Base in order to secure their services and support. Ouch! Holy indentured servitude! On reconsideration, I have to assume (or at least I have to hope) that this isn't the case. I hope that "control" means that Ad-Base offers legal counsel that helps its portfolio companies license and otherwise exploit their IP.
Pittsburgh-based Ad-Base Group’s unconventional approach to the business of venture capital seems to be working.
A “one stop shop” for entrepreneurs, Ad-Base Group made the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in the country in 2007. Last year Ad-Base added six employees to its growing staff of professionals, bringing the total to 36; revenues also jumped $1.3 million for a total net revenue of $17.5 million for the year.
The company started out in 1986 as Computer Comfort and evolved from a tech-based company into an early-stage, technology incubator and investment company in 2007, explains Josh Lucas, marketing coordinator. Unlike the typical investor that provides promising companies with funds, Ad-Base Group goes an extra step, assisting entrepreneurs with a shopping list of services to get them off and running: administrative, financial, marketing, advertising, legal, engineering and development support. And all at less than half the normal cost, says Lucas.
“We’re a non-traditional venture capital company,” Lucas explains. “Our unique business model gives the entrepreneur the resources to jumpstart their dream.”
In exchange, Ad-Base assumes control of the company’s intellectual property. Most recently Ad-Base added Inspira to its portfolio, a Pittsburgh-based IRA management software company. [Bold added!]
Lesson: If you're an entrepreneur, get clear on ownership of IP *before* signing up with any firm that wants to "help" entrepreneurs!