Should I keep trying to find a tech-co-founder (tough for a new guy in town on the idea stage), or just hire a dev shop or freelancer first? Background: - I have a well thought out business plan, a financial model, and wireframes - I have a budget of $10k or less - I live in Silicon Valley - I work full time at a bank that specifically lends to VC-backed tech startups - I have no tech skills, but decent business, management, and finance skills
You always want to mitigate risk, for you and for investors, or partners. One of the easiest ways is creating fake landing pages of your product idea. You then run ads, fb or Google, and see if people 'convert'. Convert can be giving their email, clicking a button like buy now, faking all the way to checkout, whatever you think proves there is a market and need for a solution of your product.
There are many other ways to test a product without building. I would suggest you pick up the book Lean Startup by Eric Ries, as he is the founder and master of the MVP, minimum viable product. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out as I was in a similar situation with my venture and in the EdTech space.
If you are thinking about raising money, you must have a technical co-founder.
As suggested by Cooper, first thing I would do is figure out whether there is demand for the product you plan on building. A good way to get consumer feedback is via landing/lead pages. You can run a add on Facebook or any other social media for quick feedback.
Once you have data that shows demeand for your product, you should focus on getting a technical co-founder. I would highly recommend not to hire a freelancer or dev shop to build the first iteration (especially since you have no tech skills). Having an in-house expert and building the web app right from the beginning will save you from many headaches in the future. Focus all your energy on finding a technical co-founder, that will be the best use of your time at this point.
Good thoughts here but I'm wondering if you've taken the step of validating your idea with a good number of teachers via actual conversations (assuming they're your buyer).
Is the problem you're seeking to address an actual pain point they're seeking to resolve? How do they currently resolve it? What will you need to overcome to get them to replace their current approach with your solution?
Separately, a relationship with a dev shop or freelancer can be (and should be) well-defined with objectives, milestones, etc. A partnership should similarly be thoroughly vetted and detailed before any agreement is signed to help avoid the likelihood of pain and anguish down the road.
If you wish to discuss, send me a PM through Clarity for 15 free minutes.
I will start with what a VC asked me: do you have a background in education - specifically in the space you want to develop?
Is your application meant to target students, teachers or parents/ guardians, school administrators or home schoolers? Is it STEM-related?
The questions I ask are some of the driving factors on how you develop the application, how you develop traction successfully and quickly.
As a finance professional, you should be aware that one can not create a business plan around an idea. Investors, even at seed are focused on proof of concept and not "it's a great idea". The financials in your business plan must be straight out of your imagination as your still ideation.
If you lack the requisite educational credentials to add value to your application's development, add a person with the requisite credentials as a co-founder - first.
I work with lots of Edtech startups via Emerge.education. I support them with coaching, mentoring, business and brand advice. I can also help build websites and apps, so perhaps we should have a chat.
My advice is not to dive into the tech side of things until the value proposition is right. Sounds like you're well on your way though.
Let me know if you want chat.
P.S. My website is www.thehouselondon.com
EdTech is a great industry. I would need to know more before recommending a programming language or web platform like wordpress. I wouldn’t recommend Facebook or Google Ads until I knew more about how you plan on monetizing your EdTech product. There are a lot of marketing options. Message me and we can discuss.