Brian CarruthTech Founder, Agile Development, Startup Funding
Bio

Entrepreneur, Founder/creator of mobile app BeerLamp (beerlamp.com), Completed ZX Ventures Accelerator in NYC, Darden MBA, Johns Hopkins MA



Recent Answers


Every major city has some sort of network of angel investors or VCs. Do a quick google search in your area for incubators/accelerators. They typically have public facing events where you can go in and network. Since you're post-revenue you should be able to find interested people pretty easily.

If you need help researching places, let me know.


You're smart to want to research the idea first. Start by validating that the problem is actually a problem people want to solve. Like Shaun said that takes getting out and talking to people. I'd recommend not asking "would my idea make your life easier?" People are overly nice and they love to say "Yes, of course." Also, try strangers over friends for the same reason. My most recent startup came from standing in a grocery store aisle and talking to random people about the choices they were making and why.

If you validate a problem, then you move on to brainstorming the possible solutions - very important to ignore solutions until you know the problem. Don't try to find a problem for the solution you have in mind.

Once you have the problem and the solution, then you can develop a quick MVP and see if it gets traction/buyers.

If you can hit all those steps, you might have something worth pursuing. The process takes a month or two, but that's a lot better way to start than building something and trying to force it on people. I've tried that - didn't work.

Feel free to reach out with any questions. Good luck!


I agree with Ian. It really depends on the scope. Definitely start small with your MVP, test user interaction and iterate from there. I caution against using freelance developers just because of your inexperience. You'd need a project manager that understands development to act as your intermediary, which will cost more. My company works closely with startups to build our first iterations and help them grow from there. Feel free to reach out with any questions or visit our website gaslightworkshop.com


Depends on the startup. If you have IP that provides a clear advantage, that's more valuable and easier to make successful than say a mobile app idea. Traction has become investors favorite buzz word. It makes sense though because they aren't gamblers. They are looking to fund proof of concept. They want to help a good idea become a successful business.


It's dependent on the app's purpose. If it's social and you need to be on both platforms, I strongly encourage hybrid. A webapp is cheaper and can perform the same as an app with a dedicated backend. If you are more of a service app, an iOS version may be a slightly higher price than the webapp, but you'll have the experience of going through the Apple testflight testing and then their approval process. Once you get on apple, Google is easy. You'll also get a better idea of your target user's willingness-to-download.

I've worked with both native and hybrid. I'd be happy to find a time to discuss further if you like.


For the most part I would agree with the other commenters. We ran into this when we launched our app. We pushed to get our iOS out quickly to have it in user hands. That took resources away from our Android, which ended up taking several months to get out. In that time we lost a lot of momentum. So, in the world of a million apps, any buzz you can get is good and you need to capitalize on that. Users are fickle and you can easily lose them. However, make sure what you deliver really is what users want so you don't turn them off. It seems like you're already on the right path and as long as your current version provides value to the user, I don't see a reason to wait to get it perfect.

Fee free to reach out with any questions.


I've seen varying opinions on this. My take is that as long as the startup experience compliments your skill set it makes sense for you to tie that into a job hunt. Being a Founder/CEO of a startup alone doesn't buy you much, but being able to show successful business development, creating marketing initiatives, overseeing product development, project management and more will be beneficial. You'll have to tailor it toward the job you want. Overall, my entrepreneurial experience has opened more doors than it closed. I'd imagine you'll have a similar experience.

Feel free to reach out with any questions.


A convertible note is a possible route. It would provide the owner with a discount to the price set at your next round of funding. For example, assume you give the note holder a 50% discount on your next round. Then your Seed Round sets the price at $10 per share/unit, the note owner would be able to convert their $50,000 for 10,000 shares ($5 per share). You'd have to negotiate more specifics such as interest payments, term length and any assets used as collateral in the event that you end up in bankruptcy.

Feel free to reach out with any questions or to set a time to talk.


There are lot of options. I've seen some people swear by Reddit and other social media. I've never been able to crack that nut. I use blogging on my site and guest blogging on other sites. Other sites will typically let you post 2 links to your website in the article. If your passionate about your industry it's easy to write 500 words on a topic.


Millions of dollars flowing through your platform and you can't monetize it? You can't monetize the website, but you expect to be able to monetize on mobile? Those seem like major disconnects to me. Any investor you approach would think the same thing.

Are you a marketplace like Etsy? If so, several smaller versions have already pivoted their businesses. You may be heading in the same direction.

It sounds like an interesting problem. If you'd like to discuss in more detail, I'd be happy to look at the model and see if mobile makes sense. We can also talk about ways of getting a mobile platform created for less than building a native version from scratch.


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