A RIGOROUS PROCESS TO BET ON THE BEST
SOVAR identifies, assesses, selects, supports and oversees the development of deep tech and social innovations, from the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3 - conclusive basic research results, to the TRL 6-7 – working prototype demonstrated in a real-world environment.
Awareness and identification
Upstream, we strive to make researchers aware of the utmost importance of disclosing their invention to their research administration department before any public communication, in order to allow legitimate filling of a provisional patent, as the case may be. We also underline the commercial and societal opportunities and the benefits of developing their inventions into real-life products and services. We identify the most promising research projects and support researchers who wish to focus their research on important market needs.
Assessment of potential
Upon receiving a new project through an invention disclosure or other means, we perform a technical and commercial assessment of the project.
This analysis is then submitted to a committee of independent experts that recommends, or not, to retain the project for its ensuing development.
SOVAR then provides a report and a recommendation to the concerned academic partner (the vice-rectorat à la recherche in most cases), regarding the potential for protection of intellectual property (IP) as well as the commercial potential. Subsequently, the partner makes the final decision to protect the IP or not, and manages it.
SOVAR also provides this type of service to other organizations, including private investors with whom we have specific agreements.
Project assessment criteria
Technology Readiness Level: Level 2 minimum (articulated concept)
Project team: interest and capacity to work on advancing a commercial application
Markets: real needs and opportunity, value added vs. existing solutions, market size and barriers to entry
Intellectual Property: type, novelty, protection opportunity, value
Funding: investment required to create a commercial traction
Social and economic impacts
Development of an application
Based on the development and transfer plan agreed with the researcher, SOVAR supports the researcher on the orientations, the milestones to be reached, the search for funding and the search for a strategic partner, if necessary.
A go / no-go assessment is conducted every six months during the innovation development period, particularly to determine whether the orientations are still adequate, whether additional needs have been added, or whether it is still relevant to continue the development project and pursue patent applications in targeted countries.
This step can take 12 to 36 months depending on the type of technology, and requires nearly 1000 hours of personalized support and project management. In projects funded by certain government programs, SOVAR also ensures the reporting.
Technology transfer or launch of innovative startups
When innovation reaches an advanced readiness level, SOVAR facilitates its transfer to an existing company or the launch of a technology startup through its specialized business coaching program.
SOVAR may invest in the form of a loan or debentures in a startup it supports, on the recommendation of its investment advisory committee.