Fundraising seed capital with just a business plan and no product


We have a great idea for a product in a niche market ripe for a paradigm shift on the way business is done. All we have is a kick-ass business plan with detailed projections, costs, marketing, etc - but we all have day jobs and the time involved with developming this web product is close to a year out - and that's best case. We don't want to get scooped on our idea, so we want to start fundraising now. What % of equity can we expect to give away with not tangible protectable asset and what is the best way to handle this without losing control of our company/product?

Equity Seed Funding

asked May 11 '13 at 05:10
21 points
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  • Why not start on your own nights/week-ends? If you guys aren't investing your time to get the project going then serious people aren't going to invest their money; time is money. After all, you're claiming to a have a "kick-ass business plan" no? Then get going, lead, and investors will follow; but don't expect others to dive in first, especially if all you have is an idea and not much business experience. All that is just my opinion and of course, I could be wrong. – Frenchie 8 years ago
  • If you dont have the confidence of leaving your job and doing the same thing in 2 months, your idea is not worth it. – Siddharth 8 years ago
  • "paradigm shift on the way business is done" not again ;( – Zurechtweiser 8 years ago

5 Answers


I see two huge warning flags -- and will get to them in a second.

Jordan Cooper once wrote a very informative blog post with the valuation ranges he saw in NYC. Quoting his post:

Still at your old job

You have an idea you’ve been thinking about, been working on it nights and weekends and maybe you’ve pulled together some folks to help you work on it. You may have a prototype, you may not. Everyone is ready to quit their jobs, you just need funding and then everyone is on board.

Valuation range: Don’t bother. There is no market for your deal.

That still holds true.

Now, to the two warning flags:

  • It seems to me that you might possibly want to have a near-market-rate salary while building your prototype. The market won't support that. You're expected to forgo salary initially.
  • It seems to me that maybe you haven't done any customer validation at all. I cannot be certain based on your short post, but when I read words like "have a great idea for a product in a niche market ripe for a paradigm" then I get that feeling. You may quite simply have no market at all. Do customer validation & research lean startup.
answered May 13 '13 at 18:58
Jesper Mortensen
15,292 points
  • I think the caveat here is that there are niche markets that only people who work full-time in them would understand. In terms of succesful startups, I see this more and more; web and ios dev is a commodity; understanding market opportunities is not. – Timpone 8 years ago


A few things you must know:

  1. As frenchie said - nobody will invest if they see that none of the founders are full-time on this regardless of the investment.
  2. This may sound a bit weird but - don't start developing the product just yet. Sometimes its better to sell the dream on presentation rather then a half baked product. Some investors might just say something like - "ok, let's talk when you have market validation, since its ready soon anyway".
  3. If you can't put time into it, put money.
answered May 13 '13 at 17:15
Uri Abramson
199 points


  • Costs, and earnings projections are likely to make you seem amateurish to a VC or an Angel, so drop those, when talking to serious people :) (You may want to consider pitching anyway). Web based business is anything but predictable.
  • The single most important thing a VC, and Venture funds look for is

    the team, so you better put together one. Again, you should consider
    making a pitch deck. A team is more than calling your friend CXO.

  • Full-time, or Bootstrapping. Theres no other way to go(as it's been already said), you should really chose.
answered May 13 '13 at 18:04
Jani Kovacs
75 points


You can definitly get funded for your dream idea IF you have a track record or access to the 3Fs.... Family, Friends, and Fools.

However, if you're just getting started you're gonna have to scratch and claw your way. We keep track of our time donations in a "Blood, Sweat, and Tears" spreadsheet. My advisor said it best "Investors due diligence on the team, NOT the idea"

answered Jun 6 '13 at 08:57
Ankit Kapasi
31 points


I had this conversation this morning with a friend...

To answer your question, yes, you could get seed capital from angels if your idea is that great. Investors are interested by success (not the same thing as greed) and perhaps your current day job is the source of your insights.

If you are going to go that route and are thinking a seed of 50 - 100k, you should make your business plan into mockups, sketches, and designs. Spend 1k and get a logo.

detailed projections, costs, marketing - that won't matter at seed level and if that's the strongest point, that will be a huge warning sign to a savy investor. What they want to see is a kick-ass design / mock-up, an idea that seems legitimate, and hungry people focused on execution. Talking about those things will turn them off.

answered Jun 6 '13 at 13:21
142 points

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Equity Seed Funding