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FAQs for [GENERAL]
As a project owner or academic, how do I progress through the system? The PIPE Platform and Lab to IPO Pathway has within it numerous stage-gates and checkpoints managed by the QED system. There are five key stages known as Disclosure & Validation, Evaluation, Launch, Fund and List. Each one has a number of stage-gates and checkpoints that MUST be completed (in full or in part) and from which a gap analysis and risk register is driven. Each stage MUST be addressed, approved and signed-off by the QED system and the quality of each stage is scored by the system. At the end of each stage there is a Go/No GO decision point before the project can move forward. The process is iterative, automated and collaborative with the underlying tools measuring associated risk and value, whilst recording tasks for the future technical and business operational roadmaps and, ultimately the investment schedule. All of this is supported by PIPE Associates, staff and researchers.
As a project owner or academic, who do I interact with? As a project on its way to hopefully becoming a Protégé Company, you will initially interact with a PIPE Project Co-ordinator who is responsible for seeing that things get done and the project progresses along the pathway. Over time the number of people will increase as professional associates come on board to the project team, additional resources are drafted in for certain stages of the pathway, and the Protégé Company starts to shake out and fill the various positions identified as needed at each stage. Meanwhile in the background the PIPE Project Co-ordinator will be facilitating the progression and liaising between all of the parties involved to ensure a smooth passage into the IIC and hopefully to Protégé Company status beyond that. At that point the Protégé Company will be assigned an agreed PIPE Board representative to monitor the further progress of the Protégé Company and take part in the scheduling of the funds being released. We hope that once you are up to speed and running fully, that you do not forget us and remain a part of the system, helping the next wave of Protégé Companies through with the expertise that you have picked up along the way, or by investing in their future directly.
As a Project, How do I get funding? As a project you get the funding upon agreement of theIndependent Investment Committee (IIC) that you have fulfilled the requirements of the pathway and have a business plan that will take you the rest of the way, fulfilling the KPIs identified and releasing funds set aside for you. In other words you work your way along the pathway until it is talking about things that you need to plan for rather than have done already. You formulate the plans for the additional stages and present them to the IIC as a part of your business plan. You get agreement from the IIC that the plans are good, and a funding schedule is put in place for commencement in 30 days. If no red flags are raised within that 30 day period and there is sufficient preference and / or liquidity within the exchange for the issue of your GT, the GT are issued and the funds put aside for release through the funding schedule. You are on your way. You now need to satisfy the release conditions of the funding schedule, each one of which will release a proportion of the funds agreed. Note: Unless there is a drastic change in circumstances, the funding is made available to you when you satisfy the pre-agreed conditions. No additional conditions can be added or subtracted without the formal agreement of the IIC and a new schedule being put in place.
As an Associate, how and what can I earn? As an associate what you earn depends upon what level of involvement you commit to and achieve within specific projects. As a guideline your involvement is expected to accrue "sweat equity" within a project that can be translated subsequently to GT in the project or directly out to FT. You may be asked to stay on within a Protégé Company as a full or part time employee, or on a consultancy basis, depending on what it is you are adding to the project, or you may be approached by a maturing Protégé Company to take up a role there. It is expected that some associates will prefer to operate with Protégé Companies as they are going through specific stages of the pathway, and that others will want to be in for the long term. The system should support either approach to engagement.
How can you process such diverse projects? This is the kernel of the PIPE Platform and Lab to IPO Pathway which has taken many years to develop, evolve, improve and automate. The original underlying methodology was first documented in 2012 and used as a manual process between then and 2015/16 at a number of universities and research groups. What is now known as QED can ONLY work efficiently when combined with the DLT as it is the inherent trust and immutability within the system that assures investors and project owners alike. The standardisation of the QED process and the use of DLT, as well as the unique reporting, means ANY project from ANY area can be disclosed and validated on a like-for-like basis. This is unique to PIPE.
How do I become a 'Mover' in a project? Get involved, join as an associate, register your skills and interests, watch out for disclosures that you can contribute to, get involved in a project and help it to progress. Apply your expertise to help a project along the pathway.
What discounts do I get as a Protégé Company? PIPE will expect to negotiate discounts from the various Service Provider Partners and to admit into the system those suppliers who are willing to support the early stages of Protégé Companies through a realistic cost structure, taking into account the growth potential of their target market and the opportunity to be put in front of a growing number of growing customers. The discounts / sensible payment arrangements, will vary from provider to provider, but some form of allowance for the early stage of the Protégé Company customer will be expected to be made available.
What happens if a Protégé Company needs to change its plans? A funding schedule as agreed initially by the IIC can be supplemented, or replaced with a further agreement. This may be required if there has been a significant change in the planning of the Protégé Company, for example in response to a pandemic, or the cessation of material supplies due to conflict or market forces.
What is a GOOD project? The PIPE Platform and Lab to IPO Pathway is extremely proficient at identifying high growth/high value projects and through a combination of people, process and technology can ascertain which opportunities should be commercialised. However a ‘good’ project is one that creates impact and this can be recorded financially, ethically, environmentally and societally. The projects that successfully navigate the PIPE Platform QED and system gates and are put forward for funding are, by that fact, ‘good’ however, the funding is ONLY secured IF the PGF DAO and/or xx-DAO allow the investment to progress. Some xx-DAO may well value certain projects over others and some xx-DAO may be more aligned with environmental outcomes than financial ones, all of which is ‘good’.
What is a Protégé Company? A Protégé Company is a matured project that has passed the IIC review and been granted a listing on the PIPE Exchange and a Funding Schedule. It may have reached a high level of Technical Readiness or still be at the lower stages with adequate plans for how it will progress. All Protégé Companies are likely to be still completing parts of the PIPE Pathway and having funds released on attainment of key deliverables within that pathway that have been set as the KPIs that trigger the Funding Schedule.
What is a Service provider Partner? Service Provider Partners are specific companies that offer specific services to the various Protégé Company’s e.g. Accountancy, Legal advice, Recruitment services, Telephony, Training, Warehousing, Office space ...Everything that every Protégé Company is likely to need
What is patient investment? For the PIPE Company, patient investment is money provided to the Protégé Company in tranches against KPIs and delivered when needed over whatever length of time required. These funds are provided against published milestones and therefore the ‘patient’ in patient investment relates to the timing of the delivery of funds coupled with the period of time over which investment is made. Essentially, we have to be patient and allow the roadmap to drive funding and outcomes.
What is the European Paradox? The European paradox is the perceived failure of European countries to translate scientific advances into marketable innovations. Wikipedia. Basically it means a lot of money goes into the process for very little benefit coming out (compared to other countries)
What is the Lab to IPO Pathway? The Lab to IPO Pathway is a comprehensive, methodical approach to the creation of a viable business plan for a new Protégé Company being formed. It aims to create a level playing field for diverse projects from diverse origins, such that they can be evaluated side by side in a meaningful way and invested in with a confidence.
What is the Protégé Company economy? The creation of an increasing number of Protégé Companies through the pathway will give rise to the constant need to resource these companies with everything that a new company needs, from payroll systems and offices, to legal assistance and HR. The Pipe Company does not intend to try to offer these services, but to create an environment where they are available from known and trusted partners who offer favourable terms to the new companies as they grow.
What is your basic business model? Basic model:
We run a platform that helps European university & research groups R&D generated IP and ideas become commercial reality. We charge the University Tech Transfer office and/or commercialisation teams for the services, take equity and a secure 20% success fee on exit. Like any investor we make our money out of ideas that work, not out of the also-rans. Where we are different is we deal with ideas coming out of universities, (or seek university validation for other sources), and run a systematic qualification, evaluation, due diligence and QA process for the lifetime of the project.
We give the project the best shot it can have, we want it to succeed, but we are not afraid to suggest that a project pivot onto something more useful, because we do not want to carry a large % of non-finishers within the funding. i.e. We WANT to fund it, but it NEEDS to be up to standard.
Our process takes an idea from initial disclosure, through the product development, commercial validation, business plan generation and investment committee, to launch as a tokenised investment on our exchange, where it can draw down allocatted funds as their KPIs are attained. As a by-product investors can trade and adjust their portfolios at this stage, and are never locked into an investment if they can find someone to trade them out.
What NDAs do I need to agree to? There is a Base NDA which at core covers all disclosures of information made and behaviour within the system. In addition there will usually be a Project Specific NDA that will be applicable if you become more closely involved with a specific project. If you are found to be in breach of an NDA, then the outcome may range from suspension of activity to prosecution for IP infringement. If you do not wish to sign an NDA then it is probably best if you invest through the PGF DAO or an xx-DAO, as it is not required that a DAO token holder has AML / KYC or has signed an NDA. All officers of such DAO will however have undergone AML/KYC and signed at least the Base NDA of the system in order to be able to apply the DAO's instructions within the PIPE Exchange.
Where do the projects come from? In the majority of cases they come from ideas that have been born out of the research done by university academics and researchers. As a result we can be reassured that the underlying science of the project has a much firmer base than a project coming in from the outside or private start up companies. This is why our projects perform 4 x better than their peers.
Who are your clients? We have a growing number of clients around Europe, ranging from individual Universities to National Government bodies.
Why are you using the Hedera network? Simply put because we wanted to use a Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) that was not literally costing the earth to run. The Hedera Hashgraph process is 100s to 1000s x more efficient than the original and subsequent 'Blockchain' mechanisms, as can be seen reflected in the gas charges that each network requires to operate, and the amount of power used to keep the system running. The Hedera system is a superior technology, and is rapidly catching up with regards to implementation and accessibility. As a green field it has the opportunity to not be weighed down by the legacy implementations and uses that the other networks must carry.
Why do I need a certificate as a member? We use digital signatures across the system and a certificate helps us to assure that the user we recognise as X is using the certificate owned by X and has the authority to operate of X.
Why hasn't anyone else done this before? The PIPE Platform and Lab to IPO Pathway addresses a number of issues in one solution, all of which have been addressed individually at other times. The ‘pinch point’ at university and research level relating to the number of project disclosures versus the number of ‘experts’ able to appraise them drives the need for a systematic process. The lack of visibility and the very early stage of projects, coupled with the significant need for robust due diligence puts off investors. The lack of a management team and significant financial upsides, as well as the nascent technology puts of venture capitalists. The European Paradox puts off governments and institutions. The PIPE Platform and Lab to IPO Pathway addresses ALL these issues and others directly AND is seeking to enable a new generation of investors and beneficiaries through the use of novel technology, specifically the blockchain and tokenisation of the economics. This should have been done before, but the technology didn’t exist, the appetite didn’t exist and nobody else had the global vision of PIPE. Now is a good time….
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