Inventor's champion passes on

It is with the deepest regret that we have to report the sudden death of Professor David Nicholas MBE, long time champion of struggling inventors and the originator of The Virtual Company.

It is with the deepest regret that we have to report the sudden death of Professor David Nicholas MBE, long time champion of struggling inventors and the originator of The Virtual Company concept.

Some people promote inventors and inventions, but David fought hard for every one. It somehow seems typical that he should not die in bed, but of a heart attack while working in his home office on a Friday afternoon, doubtless preparing with his usual diligence for a crucial meeting about one of his favourite projects, scheduled for the following Monday. Knowing how much he would have wanted it to go ahead, postponement of the meeting was barely considered, and all present made an effort to try to give something like the service he would have given had he been there.

David started by training as a naval architect, and was a member of Christopher Cockerell's original hovercraft design team. He later formed a company to exploit hovercraft design and became a director of Hovermarine International, and was fond of recounting how he had once succeeded in selling hovercraft ferries to a hard nosed Hong Kong ferry owner despite their being of much higher price than those normally purchased. The secret, he revealed, was as usual hard work, "Getting to know your customer's business better than he knows it himself."

His lasting achievement is his invention of The Virtual Company. This is a scheme in which inventors or small companies with promising ideas, are surrounded by a small group of experts, who provide their services free in return for shares in what is initially a virtual company. The expectation is that these will turn into real shares when the company becomes a real commercial enterprise. Pioneered at Business Link Wessex, it has since been taken up by a number of other Business Links and is now operated by Kingston University. Kingston University TVC schemeHe received his MBE in 2003. TS

Author
Tom Shelley

This material is protected by MA Business copyright
See Terms and Conditions.
One-off usage is permitted but bulk copying is not.
For multiple copies contact the sales team.

 

Supporting Information
Do you have any comments about this article?
Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Your comments/feedback may be edited prior to publishing. Not all entries will be published.
Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

© MA Business Ltd (a Mark Allen Group Company) 2020