Mensa capitalises on brain power

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The Independent Online

Mensa International, the exclusive club for those in the top 2 per cent of the IQ range, is capitalising on the wealth of brain power at its disposal by linking up boffins with bright ideas to venture capitalists.

Mensa International, the exclusive club for those in the top 2 per cent of the IQ range, is capitalising on the wealth of brain power at its disposal by linking up boffins with bright ideas to venture capitalists.

Should Carol Vorderman - a Mensa member with an IQ of 167 - decide to leave Countdown and pursue her own invention, Mensa Intellectual Capital Ventures (MICV), launched last week in Philadelphia, will put her in touch with venture capitalists whose funding could make it a reality.

"We came up with the venture because there are a lot of Mensa members with ideas who don't want to go elsewhere to get funding," said Peter Bennett, who, along with Ray Calverley, dreamt up MICV while running Energy Plus Services, a supplier of number-crunching software.

"We are offering them a secure place to put their ideas forward. These will be evaluated by other Mensa members before they are put out to venture capitalists."

He added: "The potential is enormous. For instance, I worked in Russia and came across great ideas that, unfortunately, had no market there. This will change all that by eliminating social and geographical barriers."

The scheme, available over the internet, is open to anyone with ideas or inventions, not just Mensa's 100,000 members. For $395, an idea will be evaluated to see whether it has development potential. If so, MICV will approach venture capitalists for funding.

So far, three leading venture capitalists have expressed an interest, one a top consultant with operations in 133 countries. MICV will take a percentage - from 5 to 20 per cent - of the product's equity depending on how much work is required to make it happen.

With its HQ in Cambridge, MICV will draw on Mensa resources across 40 countries. Chris Leek, chairman of British Mensa, said: "Linking the Mensa brand with the IQ assets of the world's most creative and methodical minds through the internet, MICV will create the first global ideas factory. It will harness the creative skills of Mensa members in Britain, and from around the world, in fostering technological innovation and helping inventors convert their visions into reality."

* www.mensaiqcapital.com

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