New Ann Arbor intellectual property consultancy plans 'practical' business advice
A group of Ann Arbor business executives with experience in various segments of the information services and publishing industries have launched an intellectual property consultancy.
The Apogee partners are Arbour, Ann Arbor public relations veteran Larry Eiler, former Gale CEO and CFO Dennis Stepaniak, former Sony Disc Manufacturing executive Gary Wesley and former Thomson Gale executive Scott Smith.
Apogee plans to focus its consulting business on helping companies with revenue of between $50 million to $200 million identify new uses for their intellectual property.
The executives said they would target clients in three sectors: information publishing and distribution, health care and the financial sector.
The company’s goal is to help companies identify “how do I fit in today’s world where intellectual property is the driving force of company value?” Arbour said. “If you’re just trying to be a process company, you’re going to be commoditized pretty fast.”
Wesley said Apogee would be a “very practical consulting group” that would help clients design and execute plans to squeeze more value out of their IP and identify new business opportunities. He said Apogee would help companies that place most of their focus on short-term results keep an eye on the long term through two-to-five-year plans.
“It’s not just strategy in the sky,” Wesley said. “It’s how do you have sustainable action and executable items?"
Stepaniak said companies often have loads of data that they can leverage to develop new technologies and introduce new services — but they may not recognize the opportunity.
“We’re hopefully going to be able to help them leverage those assets to grow into new fields and adjacent fields and perfect what they’re doing,” he said.
Eiler — who will continue to operate Eiler Communications, which he co-owns with his wife, Sandy Eiler — said Apogee’s services would appeal to corporate clients that are struggling to find the resources to identify long-term strategies on their own.
“They don’t necessarily always have the internal resources to evaluate and assess what those technologies can do,” Eiler said.
Eiler Communications’ office on Victors Way in Ann Arbor will provide office space to Apogee Insights, whose business model could include a variety of revenue models such as fee-for-service and equity. The company — which was formed after about six months of negotiations — starts with a few unidentified clients.
Smith said the group’s collective background would appeal to clients that are seeking a consultancy imbued with real-life experience.
“The most effective consultants are the ones who have been through what they're trying to go through and have had a hands-on role and have had a leadership capacity as well,” Smith said.