Half a century ago most new inventions and breakthroughs happened at Universities or in large corporate-funded laboratories. While a lot of progress was made in that time, it did leave a lot of untapped potential sitting on the sidelines, both in terms of innovation and investment.
In just the last few years, however, we’ve started seeing a revolution in how innovative potential is realized in the world. A lot of the articles you’ll find on this topic rave about crowdfunding as the great equalizer that finally gives small-time inventors a chance, but it’s more than that…
Invention and Innovation are Easier
Being an “inventor” in the classical sense requires interdisciplinary knowledge. Often STEM fields like chemistry, physics, or engineering are vital to actually produce something viable, but it doesn’t end there. Getting an invention patented is no joke, and then selling it or bringing it to market require completely different skillsets.
Luckily, that’s a lot easier nowadays. The USPTO’s website can tell you how to do a patent search, or if your invention can be patented. Does that look like too much of a slog to get through? Don’t worry, there are plenty invention blogs to answer those questions in plain English.
Today, everything from physics, to entrepreneurial business, to accounting are skills that can be acquired online at little to no cost. Additionally, inventors can simply find qualified business partners to work with them!
The Internet Isn’t Just Helping Inventors
As Americans we love rags-to-riches stories, which generally leaves us focusing on brilliant small inventors, who, armed with nothing but an invention idea and an internet connection, boot-strapped their way to the top with their ingenuity, tenacity, and a hundred thousand supporters on kickstarter.
But we’re forgetting about the other side of this equation, which is the investors. Many (relatively) small-time investors are now empowered to find ideas and ventures that they want to support.
This is a new thing. In the past, smaller investors essentially had to take their cue from other investors and journalists who professed to know something. It would have been unthinkable that you could invest into a small startup 4 states away, or in Europe, or Asia. There was simply no way that you could know about a small business at that stage of development unless it happened to be in your neighborhood.
Today, Invention Ideas Can Network
With modern communications technology, crowdfunding platforms, and specialized innovator websites for invention ideas, potential investors can easily find any entrepreneur or inventor who actually wants to be found.
This changes the investment game. Innovators no longer need to tie themselves to large investors to succeed, and small investors can get in on the ground floor of ventures that they would otherwise be unlikely to even hear about.
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