James Watt is often described as the inventor of the steam engine. But there had been many before him, ranging from Hero of Alexandria 2000 years ago to Newcomen in the early 1700s. Watt invented the first economically viable steam engine. And even though he invented and patented it, for almost ten years he could not make it work.
His first backer, John Roebuck, was bankrupted because of all the money he poured into Watt’s development work. It was the “angel” investor Matthew Boulton who persuaded Watt to extend his patent life from 14 to 30 years through Act of Parliament. Only then was Boulton prepared to fund the invention that, technically “perfected” three years later, soon initiated the steam age. Few people know the central role that Watt’s patent played in triggering the Industrial Revolution. Without it, Boulton would almost certainly not have been prepared to continue funding what, until then, had been a failure – as most invention are! See Wikipedia