Questions

Should I seek out a Tech cofounder for my software idea or should I patent my idea/plan first?

I'm a non-technical entrepreneur with an idea & business plan for a software. Or, what's the best way to start out? This software is a design tool/game.

3answers

Hi:
Great that you've done the work on a business plan. Now consider the following steps:
* Validate your idea through conversations with prospective customers and other strangers who could fall in your target market. Many a great idea has faltered because it proved not to be a solution that the marketplace wanted.
* Develop a minimum viable product--I've known of many done via a PowerPoint presentation--and show it to prospective customers. That will give you further insight into the potential for your idea.
* As you get to the point where you need a programmer, have him/her do some work for you on a project basis (either paid or promise for future pay) so you can get a feel for how each other works and whether a co-founder relationship feels right.
* As for a patent, hold off on those thoughts until you have an offering--that process will take a lot of time and money so you need much more than an idea/plan.
If you wish to discuss, send me a PM through Clarity for 15 free minutes.
Cheers,
Kerby


Answered 7 months ago

In simple terms the answer is Yes. Launching a software product without a technical cofounder is one of the weak points that anyone who is gonna invest in your Product it's gonna notice right away. Selecting a cofounder it's a difficult task, specially if you are too fix into thinking that an Idea it's already a Product or a Business, choose a cofounder that's gonna bring something to the table, not someone who is gonna work for you, it may take several iterations, but you will have to find someone who shares your vision. About the Patent, i will no recommend do that until you get some traction, and at that point you seat with some software patent lawyers to review this. The patent for software and hardware are usually the most difficult ones.


Answered 7 months ago

Hi! First off, congratulations on your first steps as a software entrepreneur. You're embarking on one of the most fun (and stressful) journeys of your life, but it's worth all of it.

You've encountered one of the main early issues nontechnical CEOs face. I've gone through this twice and learned both times. In my first startup, I had a CTO co-founder. In my second, my partner and I outsourced MVP development.

The main pro is that it required no capital, as he was sweat equity. However, the main issue with this is direction and vision, as it happened in my case and I've seen it occur many other times.

Generally speaking, highly technical people (CTO's, etc) often believe if a great product is built that users will come. As we know, that is simply not the case. This leads to many internal issues which can sometimes be fatal to companies.

On my second startup (a mobile app), we hired a development company...well, 3 development companies all based in the southeastern US. The first one disappeared into thin air after we paid him $60K and left us with absolutely no product. The second one built the product, but it was clunky and riddled with glitches-- that was another $20K. We're now on the third, who is hopefully the last.

Needless to say, I've learned a lot...what worked and especially what didn't. If I were in your position, I would put development on the backburner and focus on user acquisition. Build a landing page and really build up that email list. A good goal is 3K-5K emails of potential users collected. While you're doing this, have some mockups/wireframes of your product built. Also, start refining your personal brand and your credibility...ramp up your LinkedIn and try to get interviewed a couple places so that when people Google you, you appear as an authority figure.

Remember, at this point, you still technically don't have a product...and that's OK. It's time to start thinking about funding. Are you incorporated? What are you incorporated as? From there, you need to determine how much you need...for preseed, $50K-$100K is normally a good rule of thumb. You will likely need to turn to friends, family, or personal credit for this one.

Use part of the funding to have a beta MVP built. The goal is to do it lean and scrappy. Then, reach out to your list of emails you've been collecting and offer an "exclusive" beta tester incentive (free product for 2mo., etc). Bam, now you have active users.

Now, you can do a seed round and raise $500K-$2mm. These angels or VC's will want to see users. With their money, you can hire top-tier talent to improve the actual product.

That's a pretty condensed version, but I hope it helped to give a general idea. I have discovered LOTS of game-changing resources which I wish I knew about when I first got started. I'd love to set up a call to share these tools (landing page builders, user feedback, funding resources, email capture, etc.). I can also speak more at length and answer any follow up questions.

Talk soon!
Chad


Answered 7 months ago

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