Wellspring Acquires Covalent Data

Technology transfer solution provider Wellspring today announced its acquisition of Covalent Data, a provider of intelligent search tools. Covalent Data’s software relies on machine learning to construct profiles of people, companies, and technology areas from diverse data sources, and this alliance integrates Covalent Data’s search capabilities with Wellspring’s enterprise software products to serve companies, academic institutions, and government agencies alike.

“Covalent does the search, [while] the enterprise Wellspring product is more about evaluation and acquisition. The way it works is a company will search for a technology they need, so a pharmaceutical company might search for a particular drug or molecule,” says Brad Cain, director of marketing at Wellspring. “They would use the Covalent search tool to search for something that could be promising, and then they still need to evaluate it, negotiate the license with the inventor, actually acquire it, and put it into their product suite. Covalent software does the search portion and Wellspring does everything else.”

Wellspring’s technology scouting software, which Cain notes was launched in 2014, aims to assist users in four key ways. The first of these is finding new technologies: The solution enables users to import information from various sources with a single click, reducing time spent on data entry. The second is evaluating opportunities: The solution looks to regulate the technology assessment process with automated evaluations that guide users to relevant subject matter experts, who are in turn alerted when a task is due. Moreover, the entire evaluation process is standardized. The third is managing innovation networks: Wellspring’s software offers a secure database with tiered permission access, history tracking, and file sharing as an alternative to spreadsheets, CRM sites, and email tools. Finally, the fourth way the software aims to assist users is by delivering insights via graphical tools, flexible reporting options, and automation features.

Wellspring was spun off of Carnegie Mellon in 2003, says Cain, and for 10 years specialized in technology transfer software, with applications mainly for universities, research labs, and government labs. The Covalent acquisition allows it to build on its search capabilities, Cain says. “They search patents, intellectual property, inventions, and startups,” he says. “Covalent Data has pretty sophisticated machine learning technology that connects a lot of different databases. Right now the way people do it is they search one by one dozens if not hundreds of databases. Covalent allows people to search all of those from one location.”

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