Imagine You're an Investor Faced with the Following Decision

You are asked to commit funding of tens of millions of dollars per annum, perhaps over a dozen years. The commitment is based on solid science at the foundation, but only a slim narrative on commercialization+. There are few or no facts on how the science can be turned into a product that will give an acceptable return on the investment.

You are asked to understand that the end we promise is only a placeholder, and that the real end may be far a field from what we believe today. We're going to tack and turn as the science unfolds, and the market niches become clearer. We require broad flexibility in our pursuit. See here.

You know that on an interim basis it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to tell if we're progressing towards commercial success, or spinning our wheels. Setbacks are inevitable, but we can 'sense' the commercial potential of the pursuit. We know the difference between ad hoc hypothesis generation+ and practical tacking and turning. We know the dangers of the Confirmation Bias+ and a host of other cognitive biases that impede our ability to be objective about something on which we've staked our reputations or careers. We know when to stop and when to be persistent in the face of a seemingly never-ending series of obstacles.

You are being asked to place a multi-million dollar bet on this pursuit and do it based largely on trust in the technical and managerial skills of our team. You like the potential of the science, and find comforting the assurances given above. What else would you need in order to feel comfortable about the investment?

Further Reading