• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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Value proposition and strong market understanding- factors for startups’ success – Adeniran

Adedoyin Florence Adeniran serves as a director at Trust M Limited, a company dedicated to connecting startups with investors. Trust M Limited prepares startups for investment, providing services from ideation to commercialization.

Adeniran is an accomplished dual-licensed attorney, recognised globally for her expertise and contributions to the fields of startup consulting, intellectual property, technology transfer, and commercialisation. With a career that spans multiple domains, Attorney Adeniran brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her clients, offering strategic legal advice that drives innovation and growth.

Her extensive legal practice is complemented by a deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by startups. She is adept at navigating the complex landscape of intellectual property, ensuring that her clients’ innovations are well-protected and effectively leveraged. Her proficiency in technology transfer and commercialization enables startups to transition seamlessly from ideation to market, maximizing their potential and ensuring long-term success.

Adeniran’s dedication to excellence has earned her numerous accolades, including the prestigious Global Recognition Award for her outstanding contributions to the startup consulting industry. Her dual licensing allows her to provide comprehensive legal support across different jurisdictions, making her an invaluable asset for startups aiming to expand their global footprint.

With a client-centered approach, Adeniran is committed to delivering tailored legal solutions that meet the specific needs of each client. Her strategic insights and practical guidance empower startups to achieve their goals, navigate legal complexities, and thrive in a competitive market.

In this interview with BusinessDay Weekender, she speaks on how she prepares startups for investment, providing services from ideation to commercialisation through her firm and challenges she has faced working in an advisory firm, and how she is able to navigate these challenges, amongst others.

Take us through your journey of working with Trust M Limited and how the experience has been?

Working with Trust M Limited has been an exhilarating journey, characterized by both navigating uncharted territories and straightening paths. We are pioneering a new frontier not only for Nigeria but also for Africa and the global market. Our mission is to create a platform that simplifies business operations across Africa, enabling startups to expand seamlessly across countries using our one-stop website. It’s a challenging yet rewarding experience to be at the forefront of this transformative initiative.

As a director with the firm, how do you prepare startups for investment, providing services from ideation to commercialisation?

As a director and partner at Trust M Limited, my primary role is startup consulting. I collaborate with clients from the ideation stage all the way through to launch and commercialization. I work closely with startups to ensure they are investment-ready by establishing the right corporate structure and preparing all necessary legal documents. This comprehensive approach helps pave the way for successful fundraising and business growth.

What services do you offer to startups, and how do you guide them from ideation to commercialization?

We begin our process with idea evaluation and streamlining, a critical stage where we assess whether the project is viable for commercialization. During this phase, we work with startups to explore opportunities and refine their ideas. Following this, we either help them source funding or initiate the registration process. Our goal is to provide a robust foundation that supports the startup’s journey from concept to market.

Tell us about your dual-license as an attorney

Yes, I am a licensed attorney in both Nigeria and the United States. This dual licensing allows me to offer a broader perspective and a diverse range of legal expertise to our clients, particularly those looking to expand internationally.

As a dual license holder, what advantages do you have over those who do not have this?

Holding dual licenses offers a significant advantage in understanding and navigating different legal landscapes. It enables me to provide comprehensive legal guidance for clients operating in or expanding to multiple jurisdictions. This cross-border expertise is particularly beneficial for startups looking to scale globally, as it helps them avoid legal pitfalls and streamline their operations in new markets.

What distinguishes your firm from other business advisory firms?

Trust M Limited stands out due to our unique approach of integrating legal, business, and investment advisory services under one roof. Our deep understanding of the African market combined with a global perspective allows us to offer tailored solutions that drive business growth. We also place a strong emphasis on innovation and technology, which enables us to support startups in a rapidly evolving business landscape.

Are there challenges you have faced working in an advisory firm, and how were you able to navigate these challenges?

One of the main challenges has been navigating the diverse regulatory environments across different countries. Each market has its unique set of rules and cultural nuances. To overcome these challenges, we have built a network of local experts and partners who provide valuable insights and support. This collaborative approach helps us adapt quickly and effectively to new markets.

Are there challenges you face practicing as a female in this industry, especially those that you feel could be a walk-over for the male counterparts?

Not exactly, there are challenges everywhere, but I have found that demonstrating competence, resilience, and a commitment to excellence helps overcome the barriers. Additionally, building a strong professional reputation and a supportive network has also been instrumental in navigating these challenges successfully.

What do you consider the most critical factors for a startup’s success, and how do you help them achieve these goals?

The most critical factors for a startup’s success include a clear and compelling value proposition, strong market understanding, a robust business model, effective team dynamics, and strategic management of intellectual property. To help startups achieve these goals, I provide comprehensive consulting services that encompass market research, business model development, and IP strategy formulation. I assist startups in identifying and protecting their intellectual assets, which can be a significant competitive advantage. Additionally, I guide them through funding processes and connect them with potential investors, ensuring they are well-prepared and positioned for growth.

Can you explain your experience in Intellectual Property law and how you assist clients in protecting their IP rights?

My experience in Intellectual Property law spans several years, during which I have worked with numerous startups to secure and manage their IP portfolios. I help clients by conducting thorough IP audits to identify all intellectual assets, such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Additionally, I provide strategic advice on how to leverage their IP for competitive advantage and growth, and I help them navigate licensing agreements and avoid potential infringements.

How do you help clients navigate the process of technology transfer, and what strategies do you use to ensure successful outcomes?

Navigating the process of technology transfer involves several key steps, including evaluating the technology’s potential, identifying suitable partners or licensees, and negotiating favorable terms. I assist clients by conducting thorough due diligence to assess the technology’s marketability and legal status. I then facilitate connections with industry partners and research institutions that can benefit from or add value to the technology. To ensure successful outcomes, I employ strategies such as clear communication of the technology’s value proposition, detailed licensing agreements, and ongoing support to address any technical or legal challenges that arise during the transfer process.

What unique challenges do you face in your IP and technology transfer work, and how do you overcome them?

One of the unique challenges in IP and technology transfer is navigating the complex and often fragmented legal landscape, which can vary significantly across different jurisdictions. Additionally, startups often face resource constraints that make it difficult to manage IP effectively. To overcome these challenges, I stay abreast of the latest developments in IP law and maintain a network of legal experts across various regions. I also provide cost-effective solutions and flexible service models that accommodate the financial limitations of startups, ensuring they receive the necessary support to protect and leverage their intellectual assets.

What do you think the Nigerian government and regulatory bodies can do to strengthen IP rights in the country?

To strengthen IP rights in Nigeria, the government and regulatory bodies should focus on a few key areas. Firstly, there needs to be a modernization of the legal framework to align with international standards and address emerging issues in the digital economy. This includes updating IP laws and enforcement mechanisms. Secondly, increasing public awareness and education about the importance of IP protection is crucial for fostering a culture of innovation. Lastly, enhancing the capacity and efficiency of IP offices to process applications more quickly and accurately can significantly improve the protection and enforcement of IP rights.

Can you share a notable success story where your legal expertise and startup consulting skills contributed to a successful outcome?

A notable success story involved a Nigerian tech startup specializing in agricultural innovations. The startup had developed a unique software platform for precision farming but faced challenges in protecting their IP and securing partnerships for market expansion. I conducted an IP audit, helped them file for patent protection, and negotiated licensing agreements with international partners. This not only safeguarded their technology but also opened up new revenue streams through licensing deals. The startup subsequently received significant investment, which enabled them to scale their operations and increase their market presence substantially.

How do you measure the impact of your work on the startups you support, and what metrics do you use to evaluate success?

The impact of my work is measured through a combination of qualitative and quantitative metrics. Key metrics include the value of licensing deals negotiated, the increase in client revenue, and the growth in market share. I also consider the startups’ ability to secure funding, the successful commercialization of their technologies, and feedback from clients regarding their satisfaction and the effectiveness of the support provided. Regular follow-ups and impact assessments help in continuously improving the services offered.

What do you believe sets you apart from others in your field, and how do you continue to innovate and improve your services?

What sets me apart is my integrated approach that combines legal expertise with practical business consulting, tailored specifically for startups. I offer end-to-end support, from initial IP audits to full-scale technology transfer and commercialization strategies. My deep understanding of both the legal landscape and the startup ecosystem allows me to provide comprehensive solutions that address a wide range of challenges. To continue innovating, I stay updated on industry trends, invest in continuous learning, and actively seek feedback from clients to refine and expand my service offerings.