A group of technology researchers in the Bay Area had developed a highly innovative data server technology that uses just a fraction of the energy of a traditional server, using just one-quarter of the space. Data servers consume a tremendous amount of energy. The company had scientifically validated the concept but had not yet built a working prototype suitable for full-scale testing. All of the engineers held regular jobs and were not in a position to fund the project themselves.
I met with the principals and determined that they had a valid, fundable project. We sought funding through the Department of Energy. In developing the proposal, we focused not only on the technology but on: the capabilities and experience of the management team; the commercialization plan; the business plan; the marketing plan; and validation from potential customers (e.g., Google, Yahoo, etc.). Together, we collaboratively developed the full proposal, including the work plan, budget, timeline, goals and objectives and all justifications for the project. Success in this case hinged on demonstrating that all the foundational elements necessary to achieve the desired targets were firmly in place.
The project was awarded $9.2 million in Department of Energy funding. The project was completed, and the company acquired by a large, well-known technology firm.