Ask The Experts: Startups

Two venture capitalists and a patent attorney answer your questions about launching a company or product

21 August 2015

This article is part of our September 2015 special report on startups, which highlights IEEE’s efforts to attract more entrepreneurial types to the organization.

Whether you already have a project in the works or are just now toying with ideas, our September special report on startups is aimed at inspiring you to take the next step. So that you don’t have to go it alone, we’ve rounded up three leading experts in the startup space. Two are venture capitalists and another is a patent attorney. To get their insights, submit your questions to them in the comments section below or by emailing A selection of questions and answers will be published on our site on 30 September.

IEEE Member George Jakobsche is a patent attorney with Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers, an intellectual property law firm in Boston. He is a patent attorney with extensive experience as a software engineer, who counsels clients on IP and business matters. His practice includes developing IP strategies, defending IP rights, and researching loopholes within competitors’ patents. Jakobsche works with startups as well as established companies in a variety of areas including robotics, sensor networks, and software. He is also the treasurer of the IEEE Communications Society’s Boston Chapter.

IEEE Fellow Milton Chang has founded two high-tech startups that have gone public and has helped incubate nearly a dozen more. The first startup he was involved in, Newport Corp., became a leader in photonics technology. He now runs Incubic, an investment firm focused on biotech and photonics companies, in Los Altos Hills, Calif., where he is an angel investor. His self-published Toward Entrepreneurship: Establishing a Successful Technology Business is used as a textbook in business classrooms at several universities. Chang also received the IEEE-USA Entrepreneur Achievement Award, which recognizes an individual who has been instrumental in furthering entrepreneurial growth and spirit in the United States.

Ralph Sheridan screens deals for Launchpad Venture Group, Boston’s largest angel investment group focused on early-stage technology startups. He is also the managing partner for Value Management, an early-stage technology investing and advisory firm, in Jamison, Pa. He was previously the CEO for Good Harbor Partners Acquisition, in Boston, which invested in IT security and homeland defense. In April, Sheridan participated in the IEEE Boston Entrepreneurs’ Network panel discussion on how to win investors with a strong pitch.

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