What to do next for my online startup?


Ok so I've left my job, I've got a business plan, I have a blue ocean idea, I've spoken to a few industry people about the idea and they think its a good idea. I have a designed and paid a programmer to build phase 1 of my site. I would really like to go live with Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the site as Phase 2 provides more to the business clients and also brings in money for me. Im worried if I just go live with Phase 1 the site can be easily copied. I'm not sure if I have enough money saved to get phase 2 fully developed.

My options that I'm tossing up in my head are

a) Send the business plan to a Seed company that will help fund Phase 2 for equity of the company. Only problem is that Seed companies usually want to see a team behind the project not just a one man band, even though my background is project managing online projects and I could use the developer I've already been paying to do phase 2 I'm not sure if I have a strong enough case and I wouldnt want to send my business plan out there if I knew the more likely answer would be no.

b) Try to find a Technical partner that can finish phase 2 and offer them equity of the business. This one is my preference so anyone thats really good at PHP and would like to go for a coffee to hear my idea, shoot me a message.

c) Try to learn PHP and develop Phase 2 on my own. This may take a really long time.

Could people provide me their preference and why they think that option would be the best or any other options out there for the next step you think might be good?

Funding Partner Development Saas Technical

asked Aug 8 '10 at 23:57
70 points
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  • What makes you think that you won't be copied in you go to Phase 2? – A. Garcia 13 years ago
  • Hi Aurelio I guess even with Phase 2 the website could be copied but at least in Phase 2 it has the potential to be making money so development can move a lot faster. – Jdeleon 13 years ago

5 Answers


Ok so I've left my job, I've got a business plan, I have a blue ocean idea, I've spoken to a few industry people about the idea and they think its a good idea

I respect that you have a decade of experience under your belt already. That's good, because on the face of it, the above sounds a little worrying. "Industry people" ... "think it's a good idea"? People are always being nice to dreamers; did any of them make a commitment to buy and install it? With impeccable timing, Jason Cohen has just blogged about this today.

a) Send the business plan to a Seed company [..]
b) Try to find a Technical partner [..] and offer them equity
c) Try to learn PHP and develop Phase 2 on my own.

Again, worrying. You have been doing this for 10 years, and you don't know a single developer who is a potential co-founder? Not a single programmer who is smart, does good work, and gets along well with you?

The value of a co-founder isn't just in the programming work he could provide. He's a person who is there with you, ready to pick you up when you're down and demotivated, ready to brainstorm with you and improve the quality of your thinking. You know, synergy and motivation.

To answer your question:

  • DO NOT do "c", develop it yourself. Basically, either you have an affinity for programming and lots of experience, or you suck at it. If a non-programmer develops a website then site's code will be a insecure mess.
  • About "a", joining a seed funding programme. This could be great -- but are there any well-reputed programmes in Australia? I think that several of the US based Y Combinator inspired programmes will accept overseas applicants, but expect the applicant to move to the US upon acceptance -- and you might not get a work permit. That said, a good programme like Y Combinator should be worth it for the transfer of know-how alone. Add to that the visibility and validation, and it's a great deal for the applicants.
My suggestions:
  • If your "Fase 1" version brings value to some of your potential customers as it is now, then launch it now. Release early, release often, and start building traction as soon as you can because it takes a very long time indeed.
  • Think about all the people you have worked with in the past, and look for a technical co-founder amongst them. Do more or less whatever it takes to get someone smart, honest and compatible to join as technical co-founder. Hedge your bet with vesting.
  • And when you're a team, seek out smart early stage financing while in parallel working on getting cash advances from potential early adopter customers.
answered Aug 10 '10 at 03:22
Jesper Mortensen
15,292 points
  • I've heard that a lot "Release early, release often, and start building traction". I guess during my time in large corporations most of the time the backenders where outsourced or using a language that does not fit. Some of the programmers I have reached out to aren't at the stage in their life they want to take on another challenge, great people but some of the feedback I get is that after a long day of coding in their full time jobs the last thing they want to do is code some more when they get home. The devs I know in big companies have nice pay packets they are happy with im guessing. – Jdeleon 13 years ago


I'd go with B or C. You can do both at once - while looking for B do plan C, or find someone to help you learn (plan C) and if you find someone you work well with then go to plan B with that person.

the good thing about B and C is that whatever happens with them in the end you'll have found some great experiences that will server you for the next venture.

answered Aug 9 '10 at 05:15
Tim J
8,346 points


There are actually two other options (at least).
1. Get a developer to do phase 2 for some money and a percentage of the revenues once the site is live.
2. Get a developer to do phase 2 for some money and some equity.

It's easier to find people willing to do work on reduced fee with some upside to people willing to work for straight equity.

1 has the advantage of being a clearer separation of roles, but 2 will bring in a real partner that will hopefully invest him/herself in the business.

answered Aug 9 '10 at 15:53
1,833 points


If phase 1 establishes the market size and revenue that is possible for phase 2 then looking for money will be easier but your business will have to show some success first to prove it. So I'm suggesting there is the wait till I have proof add on option that can help you decide on the three options you have put out there. If phase 1 doesn't have revenue or comes out poor then you can let go of the business as well.

answered Aug 10 '10 at 03:23
John Bogrand
2,210 points


Do anything except your option B)

You might want to first make sure that Phase 1 works well, get some people to test it out (friends and family) if it doesn't work, then you paid someone to make buggy code. There is no point to move on to Phase 2 if Phase 1 is not finished. Yes, finished means tested and fixed if something comes up.

You can try getting some investment. If you are going to be completely broke, you might want to do a parttime job or return to your original job for a while and save up again. You can also try taking a loan (when you take a loan, quote or reference those industry people)

answered Aug 15 '10 at 02:48
Bhargav Patel
784 points

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