Thoughts on Five Years Heading AST
I just crossed my 5th Anniversary as CEO of AST. As I look back, although our Mission has remained the same since we started business in 2007, much has changed. From our founding by four global operating companies in 2007, we have experienced 50% growth in Membership in the past five years, and 30% of that growth in just the last 14 months, with Membership now at 39 Members. AST started with the premise of covertly acquiring patents for risk mitigation but has grown with a more public profile of companies working together to reduce risk and improve strategic decision making. With our growth in Members, we have likewise experienced substantial growth in the number of transactions we do each year. And in 2016 we added our annual IP3 program reducing the risk to millions of dollars of patents each year through a collaborative cost-sharing arrangement.
Although the patent market has been a buyers’ market since at least 2013, the number of transactions has increased and deal flow has shown continued strength particularly in the areas of software, communications, electronics, industrial, and medical categories. It is an exciting time for AST with continued growth, demand for more collaboration, and development of better analytics to help our Members make more informed buying and strategic decisions. With our continued purchasing growth, AST recently resold four portfolios we acquired in the past year in the areas of software, internet media, advertising, and computer security. Transactions take longer to complete and prices are still depressed, but stability in the secondary market has improved and there is a good pipeline of transactions occurring every quarter. AST sees more of the market than any other entity, with over 12,000 portfolios on our proprietary platform and approximately 3000 portfolios actively for sale.
I am honored to be leading AST these past five years; and look forward to a strong finish to 2019 and continued success in 2020 and beyond as we build on our strong foundation.