I am developing an internet-related consumer product and considering founding a startup. For some reasons, I think I should not market it directly to the public, but try to reach an agreement with a large telecommunications company. An expert told me that first I must have at least one of the three: a patent, a large userbase or a product that would be difficult for someone else to develop without my help. Since I think the product may not be patentable or complex, I asked the expert what if I simply tell a company: "I haven't yet exposed this product to any of your competitors, and I can give you exclusivity in the countries in which you're doing business", and let them understand that if we don't reach an agreement then I will go to their competitors. The expert replied: "Perhaps, but that is a single-bullet gun". I understand that, but think maybe if the first attempt fails, I can still go to a second company and tell them that I believe that regardless of whether or not the first company implements my idea, they - the second company - can gain much from reaching an agreement with me. So, do you think there is a business potential here?
"Since I think the product may not be patenatable or complex"... I recommend you talk to an expert who helps people patent their inventions. They'll give you feedback on the reality of your situation...and they will likely be able to show you how to patent your product in a way you haven't considered. eg. utility patent.
People do invent products and then license the production and sale of them to an established company that has a distribution channel. In return they get a royalty.