I have read the FAQ and hope that I have added enough detail to my question that it will not be considered to vague or open.
I have a great idea for a software product that I think could make a lot of money. It is not specifically my idea, it is a technology so far with only niche implementations. My goal is to bring it to the masses by solving in my implementation the problems that have prevented mass adoption so far.
I feel like I am somewhat on a time limit as the technology is already starting to emerge, and if I don't get out a product in the next few years someone will. It is why I also feel I need an investor,a s by the time I raised the necessary money I may have missed my opportunity.
I have no capitol, and no chance of investing personally for a long while. I have no product as it is too complex for me to develop on my own, and honestly I think I would lack the skill for the more advanced parts.
So I would like to know, what can I do? My plan so far is to have a business plan and try to pitch various investors. However, I do not even have a way to find investors or schedule meetings.
I am reluctant to have a partner not because I worry about sharing profit, but because I don't want to compromise the vision I have for my company and product.
Many people have started with nothing and just an idea, although such stories tend to be scant on details. Any advice on different avenues or partners to pursue would be much appreciated.
Just be ready and stay motivated. If you have good amount of experience in running companies or know lot of big shots in the industry, it will happen sooner than you know.
Did you already figure out how to solve the problems that have prevented mass adoption? Are you sure? Really sure? If you were able to figure out this solution then how come no one else has?
I'm not saying that your proposed solution isn't going to work -- although there is a big chance it won't -- but you should identify what you are bringing to the table.
The first thing you should do is find customers. It doesn't matter that you don't have the product yet, because you do have the idea for the solution (right?). If you can match up the problems of those customers with your solution, then finding capital and partners shouldn't be too hard.
To create value you need to do something that others aren't. If you don't know how to implement the idea and others will soon, why do you need to be involved?.
Is there anything you can add that others won't do? If it's something small, it's probably not worth the trouble. If it's a very large difference you just might be able to put together a business based on it. If it's in between the best course may be to partner with someone who is developing the idea now.
I suggest you, if you afford to do so, to move to the Silicon Valley.
Not that I have the experience myself, but when you look at many successful startups (notably Facebook), they benefit quite a lot from what they got from the Valley.
I got the above from the book "Founders at Work" (Jessica Livingston).
Or if you are able to, talk to guys at Y-Combinator, they have a program to mentor startups, you just need to fill in an application form (instead of doing the biz plan and stuffs), they will fund you, not a lot in terms of money, but a lot in terms of support and advices. Also, I think they aren't the type of "you sucks and therefore we would kick you out and find another competent one" investors.
the usual thing (and what investors respect) is to find a friend or a coworker and start building it.
OR as you say you can not do it alone (the complex parts) and IF you REALLY have no one to start with - START with what you can do and someone (twitter, facebook, internet in general) will find you and may just want to help you make it.
pitching IDEAS to investors is a futile job.
the questions they would ask (if they cared enough to actually ask them):
can you build it? have you built it?
you could find no one to help you make it? no friend, relative, coworker would do this with you? you have no money? started nothing? ... you can see where this is going.
in the old days, you could make a business plan and go to a bank, but that is no longer a viable option.
THE ONLY options you have is to either start building it yourself or find someone to help you.
How about going after your target audience and get genuine input for them to show that there is a viable marketplace and proven demand for your product or service. And then take to to investors, developers etc. It will make things much easier.
You can even do a rough sketch, wirframe or a basic photoshop mockup to help explain things better.
I was stuck with similar dilemma weather to express and publish my idea or try and develop on my own and then one of my friend pointed out some of start up consulting firms.
So now I am mocking up a business plan to present to them and hope to get some positive review and a chance to materializes my idea in actual product.
I think you should do the same, contact some consultant even if they don't angel invest their self the guidance could be very much valuable for you.
First of all, I wish you the best of lucks in this adventure.
Said that, I am going to be the devil's advocate here.
So you have an idea, no money, and no partners, so far, to implement it. Hence, you are looking for external investors to, well, risk their capital and their reputation on something that doesn't even exist! Am I the only one who thinks you have no chance at all to build this thing?
Unless you have come up with the next Coca-Cola, or you are considered a maverick in your industry and have a stellar reputation, no venture capitalist will ever want to partner with you. From the VC point of view, if your idea is so marvelous, why don't you invest in it? Surely you could come up with a basic prototype for a few thousand dollars.
Let's be realistic here. Success is for risk takers. Building something from scratch requires taking risks. Without taking risks, such as bringing in new partners, coworkers, and sharing your project with other people, it will be very difficult for you to see this thing through. You basically have two options here: don't take any risks, keep this project to your chest, and nothing will happen. Or, you could start looking for partners, programmers, and start building it. And yes, this requires putting your money, your reputation, where your mouth is. Entrepreneurship is a serious and risky business.
Now let's focus on the positive things and a hypothetical game plan. You know your product inside and out, you have the skills to build it, or at least to get the ball rolling. All you need is a bit of money and time. Why don't you resort to the three Fs? Family, friends and fools? Not necessarily in that order. Get some money from your inner circle, but set the expectations very low. Don't promise too much. That should be enough to come up with something that you could show to potential investors. Don't worry too much about the skills you needs. Ideally, you should find the partners with the skills you lack but who also BELIEVE in the product. Don't just look for brains, look for hearts too. You could go to a nearby college and look for some bright and motivated students. Network, network, network.
If you don't invest in your own baby, why would anyone else do it? Good luck.