Former i2 execs mine for orphaned intellectual property

A group of software veterans, including three former top executives at i2 Technologies Inc., have launched a new company designed to find and re-deploy software intellectual property that has been orphaned in the economic slump.

Titan Ventures, based in Dallas, formally launched its operations last week with Reagan Lancaster, former president of i2 at the helm as president and CEO. Dave Cary, former CFO of i2, serves as CFO and Claudio Osorio, former head of an i2 division that funded promising start-up companies, is a founding partner of the new venture.

The company plans to take the outsourcing paradigm one step further either by becoming the trade intermediary between those that have and those that need software IP, or by forming specially created subsidiaries that will focus on marketing and selling it, Lancaster said.

“The goal of the company is to add new life to intellectual property assets that have been written off,” he said in an interview Wednesday. “In today’s times, the venture capitalists are at their wits ends investing in start-up companies and are willing to write off companies with no revenue.”

The company plans to acquire intellectual property for enterprise applications from a variety of sources, Lancaster said, including IT vendors, user companies, open source developers and consulting firms.

Because of the stress to the bottom-line in the current economic crunch, many vendors have whittled their product line from perhaps hundreds of solutions to only a handful that they can afford to market, Lancaster said. For these companies, Titan plans to offer to set up a new company to market specific products, giving the former owner a 19 per cent stake, a percentage of revenues and an opportunity to buy back the technology when the market improves.

Titan will take employees that support the technology off the books of the vendor and employ them with the new company.

“It gives them a toe in the water to keep in touch with the talent and the technology out there without writing it off,” he said.

In addition, Titan will be targeting Fortune 500 companies that may have custom developed technology for in-house use. Titan will offer to support and maintain the application that the user company developed, but market it to other non-competing companies, Lancaster said.

“There are so many companies that have great technology …and they’re treating it as a cost center, and they could have a viable product that could be profitable.”

The company will also act as a merchant for IT vendors that are seeking to acquire a specific type of technology.

Titan estimates that software IP assets that are languishing unused in corporations, failed-start-ups, educational institutions and government agencies have a value of more than US$500 billion.