Prečkanje doline smrti

Večkrat prebiram komentarje o tem, kako slabo je slovenska znanost povezana z industrijo in kako težaven je prehod od ideje preko razvoja do produkcije. Kljub temu, da nesporno Slovenija zaostaja po številu patentov na prebivalca, pa je vseeno zanimivo prebrati, da se s podobnimi težavami soočajo tudi drugod.

The US Department of Energy's Office of Science has launched an initiative to encourage breakthroughs in accelerator science and their translation into applications for energy and the environment, medicine, industry, national security and discovery science. A report, Accelerators for America's Future, published by the Office of Science, cites the Valley of Death as a critical challenge that results in countless lost opportunities.

[..]The Valley of Death comes after the R&D, when the early markets have run out,” Marianne says. “It's before you have penetrated whatever market you're going after and found your customers. That's where you need sufficient capital to do the marketing to get through and that takes a lot of money.”

Marianne Hamm should know. She still remembers sitting on the couch with her husband the second time they were on the brink of the Valley of Death in the late 1990s. Nothing was working, she recalls, and even Bob, ever the optimist, was ready to throw in the towel.

[..] Bob and Marianne Hamm met and married in graduate school. Together they pursued PhDs in physics, got jobs at a national research laboratory, left that laboratory to start an accelerator technology company, and successfully crossed the “Valley of Death” not once but twice, eventually generating $57 million in sales during their 22 years in business.

[..] Today Marianne and Bob Hamm are about to publish a book on the industrial applications of particle accelerators. Marianne gives lectures on high-tech entrepreneurship.

Her basic Valley-of-Death survival kit contains cash, a detailed map with an exit strategy, more cash, business sense, a skilled labor pool, good legal and financial advice, friends with cash they're willing to loan, and a fire in the belly.

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