Eurotech Data (ETD) is an information service created in 1990 to uphold the members of the Eurotech Capital network in their investment decisions concerning technology projects under the aegis of DG II-SOF. ETD has since 1998 been opened to the participants in the INNOVATION/SMEs Programme's I-TEC Network of Venture Capital operators.
Within 15 working days, ETD can provide an information "dossier" on a technology, sector or product of interest. The scope of the dossier is to help I-TEC operators by providing updated information on technologies, markets and competition.
The service has a user-oriented approach and produces customised dossiers according to the needs of the requester. So far, ETD has prepared more than 500 dossiers.
ETD scans all the available information sources, takes contacts, gathers the information, classifies it and analyses it. During the research, an information analyst works alongside with the requester to access the information relevant to the subject. ETD does not produce new studies, but channels and exploits the information available on the high technology subjects requested.
A typical dossier provides information on technologies, competition, market sizes and trends. However, as all dossiers are highly customised, contents may differ greatly depending on the I-TEC operator's specific requirements.
Since all dossiers are based on secondary information, contents are also subject to information availability and cost.
The dossier is produced in confidence and is directed solely to the person who asked for it. The better the requirements of the I-TEC operator are known, the more in-depth and relevant information can be provided. Therefore, it is advisable to be as precise as possible about one's questions and assumptions and the features of the investment project.
A typical table of contents will include the following sections:
: the introduction provides a general description of technologies. It will be included when general information about a sector or technology is required.
: depending on the subject and the needs of the I-TEC operator, the technology section will include information on state of the art, technical outlook, products under development, standards, and strengths and weaknesses of competing technologies.
: the market section provides market forecasts for the world, European or American market. Data can focus on a specific country if some national markets are of specific interest for the requester. If no market forecasts are available in the field, information on current use of the product and future prospects will be gathered from end user associations and experts.
: when several applications of a product can be made, the dossier will provide comparative information on the different market segments. If the requester has a specific application in mind, in-depth information will be provided on future prospects in this specific market segment. A list of other potential applications of the product will be given for information.
: the company section provides information on competitors or potential clients for a specific technology. Depending on the needs of the requester, the section will provide both product and financial information.
For a general overview of competition, a complete description of market leaders and their products can be provided. If the requester requires more in-depth analysis of specific companies, their products, financials, strategies and position on the market can be screened.
: if required, references or full texts of patents related to a specific technology can be provided. However, due to the high cost of such documents, only a small number of full patents can be requested (such as patents of one or two companies or patents related to a highly specific product). Although comprehensive, an ETD's patent search should not be considered as full patent search for patent application purpose.
: information on community programmes, projects and contact points can be included in the dossier if requested. Community databases can also be screened to give names and addresses of European companies interested in a partnership or collaboration in a specific technical area.
: on request, the" Other Sources" section of the dossier provides information on sources of interest for additional information, such as upcoming conferences, books or market reports.
When working on high-technology markets where the development is by definition fast, it is important that the information sources used are up-to-date. ETD has access to a large number of information sources, including:
ETD has access to a large number of databases and database hosts. Some databases cover news in general, while others are more scientific or market-oriented, for example, databases with extracts of market reports. For articles directly not available in full-text format on-line, ETD manages to get the articles from large libraries or from publishers. ETD also has access to Minitel and other country-based information providers.
ETD makes large use of the Internet, including the World Wide Web, newsgroup and ftp sites. This allows access to a wide range of company profiles and products as well as to the research activities of various institutions. It also permits ETD to exchange opinions with experts. These are only examples, as the scope and capability of the Internet increase daily.
The ETD Library
ETD has set up a library of paper sources and CD-ROMs. The paper sources include mainly directories and technical handbooks. It also subscribes to a number of specialised scientific and business publications in order to be informed of the general trends and developments in the world of high technology and business. Other paper sources include conference proceedings, market reports, country-based reports, company annual reports and books. ETD is also a subscriber to the major European and US document delivery services.
The CD-ROM collection includes Ulrich's directory of publications, IMS-World's CD on drug pipelines, a database on European Research and Development, statistics from the OECD and Eurostat and the European Kompass database and many others.
Finally, ETD gets more and more in contact with experts, market researchers, and other key informants during the elaboration of the dossier. This has become one of the most important sources.