To be straight foward, the question is how to advance after the research, creating and prototyping. The next steps requiere money and some expertise which are not easy to have nor find
It is tricky but not possible.
Having been in your situation I can appreciate the challenge that lies ahead.
Investors took for signals to create reassurance and trust, things that are generally tangible like an MVP, initial customers, the first proofs that customers are willing to pay and a problem is actually being solved.
Not having that makes it a magnitude more difficult so having a proxy for those tangible signals will matter most.
For example to make the product more real without a product you may want to create a clickable demo to give investors a feel for the user experience and how it will work.
If you don't have customers yet then maybe you can survey the market and potential customers and reference those that provide good feedback and interest in your deck.
Other positive signals will be useful too.
Very importantly, at an early stage, investors are backing the team even more than the product. Having a solid team with sector experience who have created a startup before and have the experience needed will be very important.
In terms of investors focusing on friends, family and creating an offering that is derisked and maybe has task incentives can help get some initial commitments. Smaller tickets will help.
Also if you have invested your own money and have committed to not taking a salary or taking a greatly reduced salary for an initial period will show investors that you've got skin in the game and you're prepared to lose your own money.
Finally, investors like to see other investors invest, when there is momentum and fear of missing out investors may be more motivated to invest.
Give me a call if you want to discuss further how to create a solid MVP stage fundraising strategy
It is not necessary that you need to own an MVP for funding. You will be surprised to find out that, in fact, an MVP is not just unnecessary, it can also be hindersome when pitching investors.
You can read more here: https://easternpeak.com/blog/do-you-really-need-an-mvp-to-get-funded/
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call: https://clarity.fm/joy-brotonath
I've created a SaaS company and mobile app had the same issue as you. I'm telling you that it's not impossible.
However, what I experienced is that some investors want an MVP and some don't. The most important thing is that you know there is a market out there that is willing to buy your product/service.
So what we did was talk to as many people as possible about our project and created partnerships with large companies who also wanted to be integrated into our platform.
There are websites that you can create an MVP yourself also which you don't need coding experience for such as Bubble.io. Websites like this can help you create at least a demo product that will allow you to show to your investors what your vision is.
If you want to speak further, I'd be happy to setup a call with you.
How have you proven the prototype? Having been in your shoes, if you have any proof that the concept will work - go see potential customers and get them to validate your prototype. Get a deep understanding of the customer pain points, quantify benefits - even if the product is too early to be used commercially. If you demonstrate enough potential to customers - get them to pay for a small trial. Go build the smallest product that solves the biggest pain (focus, focus, focus). Then go find more customers with the same pain and repeat. You'll quickly learn what works and what doesn't. If customers value your product enough to pay to solve their pain point(s) - you may have an investable business. If they don't, you don't. I hope that helps.
You do not need an MVP to raise money at such an early stage, and you do need to raise money from VCs at such a stage (they usually only invest with traction). Here's some tips:
1 - 3 Fs - Family, friends and people with spare money...in
exchange for a bit of equity.
2 - Startup competitions for idea stage, might give you
money and resources.
3 - Gov grants for early stage startups
4 - Business Angels, check for associations on your city
5 - Crowdfunding