If you were approached by an idea guy (one with not much money), and lets say that the idea itself was an 8 to 10...what would you consider acceptable terms to join the start up? If you could give 2 or 3 different ideas and options that would be great. Also, what are the things you, as a coder would be looking for?
Up to this point, we have had more investor interest then we ever expected. And they have all come to us, we have not approached, or even looked for an investor yet. However, they all pretty much want us to be further along before they invest. Understandable, since we are not even incorporated yet. That should be done next week. We have been shocked, and pleasantly surprised by this interest, as we are obviously very early stage.
So, we are starting to look for a programmer and possible co-founder, but don't have much money to start. We want to find someone that we can grow with, and just need to find a good starting point. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
Sorry if this will be too harsh, I'm trying to be helpful and honest.
Something is fishy here. In another question you said you were "carefully protecting" your idea. I think that is completely counter-productive, but I also don't see how would any investor approach you, if you have no product yet, and you don't even advertise the idea. Furthermore, investors don't care about ideas, they want to see either traction, or a proven team, or both. If I had a dime for every time somebody told me my idea was awesome, I'd be a millionaire. There is a world of difference between a guy who claims to be interested (usually means he's polite or tactical) and an actual customer/investor of your company. Never confuse these two.
Also, there is no such thing as the "idea guy". Either you have useful practical skills for a startup, or you don't. If you are non-technical, you'd better be a great design/sales/marketing guy, or at least have the will to become one. Some essentials on the topic:
http://sivers.org/multiply http://37signals.com/svn/posts/2188-theres-no-room-for-the-idea-guy About the tech co-founder, it is extremely hard to find a good one, because most coders don't need or like to take risks, and also because "idea guys" keep pitching them 24/7. Demand is an order of magnitude higher than supply of tech co-founders. Your only chance is to find someone with an entrepreneurial mindset, who falls in love with your vision. This took me 2 years. Quite obviously, under these circumstances you have to be very fair about what you offer. Equal equity split is the minimum, I'd say.
But you don't need a tech guy to validate an idea and generate traction. Why don't you just put together a landing page with launchpad and mailchimp, and start getting subscribers? Why don't you get out and talk to potential customers? Why don't you start a crowdfunding campaign to see if people are willing to pay for what you have in mind? After you've done all these things, it will be a lot easier to find a technical partner, or even an investor. Your job right now is to show what you can do, and not to find somebody for the stuff you can't do. Somebody once told me that you don't find your co-founder, but rather earn it. So start working!
A company runs between 6 months and 1,434 years (oldest company in the world is the construction company Kong? Gumi from Japan, founded 578 AD) See Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oldest_companies what does the "idea guy" do after the second week? what will the "idea guy" do in year 5? What in year 50? You think the guy who thought in a shower that it'ld be nice to have a company that sells machines to businesses could actually found and run IBM, if he had no other skills than the mere idea?
There is no need or use for an idea guy. Idea, yes. Idea guy, no.
As people wrote you before me, you better be good at something other than "having the idea" -- design, marketing, sales, pitching to VC's -- anything of real value. Ideas are a dime a dozen. Ability to execute is 99.99% of the success.
If someone approached me with a great idea, i'd say that's a great idea and start writing it myself if I found out that guy has nothing to offer but "the idea". If he can't be of value to a company, he's dead weight. Coming up with the idea is not enough. Ideas are born every second, in showers, toilets, planes and streets. I would never sign an NDA before hearing an idea. No VC ever will too. What if I had the same idea 2 weeks ago? ideas come up all the time. I don't want to constrain myself from doing something I might have done in the first place.
If "investors" were genuinely "excited" they'd put you in contact with some people who could help you, including technical people, that they had worked with previously.
The issue really is that there are so many cases of "idea people" who don't have a lot of money, so it is hard to get motivated, especially when idea people tend to think that the idea is where all the value is and execution is almost an afterthought.
Here's an example: I have an idea that creating business applications is hard, takes too long and costs too much, so why not get business people to build their own applications, without the cost, time and stress of developers, project managers, etc. From a business point of view, that is a compelling idea, but it is worth nothing without the execution.
I know your venture needs the money (because you have none), but shouldn't you're investor know someone else who could help with the technical side? Certainly at their level they have more contacts than you do.
Can the investor make any commitment to put in a certain amount of money if you get a product going by a certain date? No one is going to give you an iron-clad contract, but a letter qualifying this person has the money and an inerest in the idea would go a long way. That is going to help you bring a programmer on board for no pay, but a more solid promise of future funding. If you can attract a quality programmer, your investor may put a little money upfront.
It doesn't sound like this investor is really going out on a limb here. They have the money and like your idea; of course they will 'think' about investing after you execute. You already have a programmer on board who put in the sweat-equity to build the product, what would you do with the investor's money that would make it worth giving up a piece of your company?