Former Washington congressman Rick White and former Red Lion Hotels CEO Art Coffey have joined forces to launch a Web company, IP Street, with offices in Seattle and Spokane.
The information and analytics company aims to be a full-service portal for intellectual property information. It will make money by providing subscribers with focused summaries and analysis related to patents, intellectual property trends and research and development.
Its target audience includes investors, market analysts, inventors and company executives dealing with innovations.
“We believe our market is the 2.5 million people in the country who make their living off intellectual property,” White said. IP, short for intellectual property, is the formation of patents and legally protected inventions.
White, who served as a Republican U.S. representative from the West Side from 1995-1999, is IP Street’s CEO. Coffey, Red Lion CEO from 2003 through 2008, is the chief operating officer.
The idea for IP Street evolved inside Spokane-based IP law firm Lee & Hayes, where White and Coffey were working as consultants. The law firm has roughly 65 employees in its downtown Spokane office.
White said the patent pros at Lee & Hayes concluded there had to be a better system to find IP information.
“They came up with some ideas,” White said. “Then about a year ago we said, let’s make it into a separate company and let’s see if we can make something out of it,” he said.
White and Coffey have raised $1.5 million in an early round of funding. A large share of that money came from Spokane investors, he noted.
The company’s first step, said White, would be to develop custom IP reports for market-leading companies in areas such as green energy, medical devices and information technology.
After those initial efforts the IP Street site will launch for public use.