Welcome to 2017.
While the New Year is a natural time to look forward and plan the coming year, I always like to spend some time looking back at the past 12 months. Inventorying a just-ended year helps you appreciate the commitment and hard work of employees, as well as the trust customers and partners have invested in your relationship. Looking back at 2016, here’s the year in review for IPfolio presented as a necessarily abbreviated celebration of our milestones and successes:
Company and Team
In April, we celebrated the 4th anniversary of our launch. Both as a company and product, IPfolio has made huge strides. We more than doubled our revenue in 2016 and built a world-class team to support sustained triple-digit growth. While we have added staff in all areas, our Customer Success team has seen the biggest growth and is now spread across North America and Europe to support the increasingly globe-spanning nature of our customer base.
Product Innovation in 2016
One of the key enhancements we delivered in 2016 was tight integration with the USPTO’s Private PAIR service, which enables IPfolio customers to have all US patent prosecution information at the ready and maintain a largely automated shadow docket. The integration of deep PTO data, including the complete, fully searchable prosecution documentation, has really captivated companies we talk to. In 2017 we will be adding additional sources for European and Chinese patent data, as well as US trademark data.
Expanded Product Vision
When we launched IPfolio in 2012, our product vision was a niche IP portfolio management and invention management information system that we described in our early marketing as a “Fresh new approach to IP management.” It became obvious after our first years in the market that IPfolio has much more potential, so we began to aim for a larger role in the IP industry. In April, at our second annual conference IPforward Conference, we introduced our vision of IPfolio as a full end-to-end IP Lifecycle Management solution and platform.
Partnerships with complementary IP-related technologies and service providers are key to realizing this vision. After announcing our first partnership in 2015 with ipan (annuities and renewals), we ramped things up in 2016 by partnering with companies like IPfolio that similarly reject the status quo:
Released DocketEngine™ for IPfolio to provide full docketing and prosecution management with worldwide country law, powered by a cloud-based rules engine that supports auto-docketing in conjunction with data feeds like PAIR.
Unveiled an integration between IPfolio and its next-generation e-billing software for in-house legal departments.
We partnered with Conga to integrate Conga Composer and provide more document generation and reporting options to our customers.
In addition to developing formal partnerships with technology and service companies, we continued investing in our API strategy. Customers can use our state-of-the-art APIs to integrate with other back-end applications, such as Workday’s HR suite.
A great product + fanatical customer support + an attentive and knowledgeable sales team = rapid customer growth.
It’s a playbook that continues to add customers to the IPfolio community at an ever increasing pace. After announcing in April that we had reached the 100-customer milestone, our sales growth continued unabated. While our early traction circa 2013 was among small IP groups or solo IP managers, the majority of new customers are now publicly traded companies with significant R&D budgets and IP activities, and many are among the world’s leading innovators in technologies of the future, such as clean energy, autonomous mobility, and personalized medicine.
Word-of-mouth praise is a key source of the interest and inquiries from around the globe that are keeping the sales team extremely busy.
A quick visit to the IPfolio Customer reviews page on the Salesforce AppExchange shows just how effusively positive happy customers can be:
- “Truly fantastic team and product” - Leica Microsystems
- “Excellent product & service” - Acxiom Corporation
- “A perfect IP management tool. Switching to it was a no-brainer.” - Facebook
- “IPfolio is a fabulous tool.” - NuScale Power
- “An intuitive tool to use, with excellent technical and customer support.” - Nikon Metrology
By creating networking and learning opportunities for the industry, we’ve met hundreds of leaders and rising professionals. It’s been huge fun.
After launching this as a half-day event in 2015, 2016’s version was, excuse the cliche, bigger and better. We expanded to a full-day agenda encompassing more strategy, tactics and operations topics. The speaker list included presenters from IDT, SolarCity, Verily, Workday, and Zynga. Attendees work for some of the most innovative organizations in the world, including Apple, Facebook, Google, GoPro, Palantir, Samsung and SAP.
Make a note in your calendar for IPforward 2017 on April 13. We’d love to see you in Redwood City, CA. It will be a fantastic networking and peer-to-peer learning opportunity. Promise! While we’re finalizing the speaker list, I can reveal that our keynote speaker this year is a very well-known scientist and inventor with more than 100 patents to his name. Hundreds of millions have used his inventions.
Monthly Expert Sessions
Following the success of the IPforward conference and to keep its spirit alive during the year, we launched the IPforward Dinner & Discussion series in June. We realized that a more frequent forum would provide a relaxing thought leadership and professional development opportunity for attendees. Topics discussed this year included patent quality, increasing the efficiency of patent prosecution, and the state of IP in China. Inspired by the success of the dinners in the San Francisco Bay Area, we will be extending the series to other cities in 2017, starting with Atlanta in January.
Visibility at Other Industry Events
We travelled widely in 2016. The IPfolio banner flew in hotels and conference centers in San Diego, Munich, Santa Clara, Boston, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Hamburg. It was fun meeting friends, partners and companies curious about IPfolio at events like IP Service World, IP Law & Management Institute, IPO Annual Meeting, Corporate IP Counsel Forum and Global IP Exchange.
In wrapping up this year in review, I wanted to end with the rewards that come from making customers extremely happy. It comes when you check your email and see a note, or read an online review confirming that you – the collective efforts of the company’s Product Management and Development, Customer Success, and Growth teams – are clearly on the right track. Here are some of my favorite customer quotes from 2016;
“This product is a dream for our in-house patent group.”
“I simply could not be happier with the product and the service.”
“IPfolio’s support team is the best I have ever worked with in my 16 years of IP experience.”
“Choosing IPfolio is probably one of the best decisions I made in 2016.”
“We're 1 year in with IPfolio and couldn't be happier. Thanks folks!”
That’s a wrap. From everyone at IPfolio, we wish you a prosperous 2017 filled with innovation and success.