I know this question has been asked many times before in a plethora of different ways, but I couldn't find anything to help me out, so my apologies if this comes off as a duplicate of another question on here (I'm sure it will to some).
Okay, I have a little startup I've been working on for about a year and a half. It's been going well, pretty much got the algorithm sorted out which is the driving force behind the application. Now onto the specifics of my idea.
I am building an anti-piracy application that will allow software companies, game developers and content producers to enter some information about their products and then the application will scour a few key websites; warez websites, torrent trackers and other software pirating breeding places online.
The application will then allow software companies to automate the content removal process by sending a takedown request if a probability score (the chances that a found item is the clients copyrighted work) is above a certain percentage. It will generate pretty reports, etc.
I've contacted a few software companies, mainly large publishers who have their work pirated frequently and met with no response. I contacted Microsoft and all they replied with was, "Congratulations on the development of your product, Microsoft does not partner with projects still in development"
What makes things worse is that I'm not asking these software companies to buy anything, I'm asking them to test it for free. I need testing feedback before I launch it full-scale and then if the companies find it useful, then talk about partnering and price specifics.
What can I say or do to get some companies on board to try out my product? I'm based in Australia so freely walking into the offices of most companies and having a meeting face-to-face is sort of out of the question as most major software companies affected by piracy reside in the US.
What makes me more antsy is the fact that I know this application has the potential to help companies, it's going to be pretty awesome and not overpriced. Everyone I've spoken with including my boss who I guess you could call a part-time venture capitalist thinks it's a great idea.
Obviously without these companies to test, I can't launch, I don't know what to improve in my application and ultimately can't launch the product. It's probably about 4 months away from being feature complete, but 1 month away from being testable.
A few ideas from a former trademark paralegal who also dealt with piracy of company software and issuing takedowns and managed various anti-piracy mechanisms.
There is a lot of competition in this space from service providers. Have you researched your competition? Know the service providers and product vendors. You must have a compelling marketing story that demonstrates how your tools will enable the organization to solve the problem with more efficiency and less cost. Often this is a fully or partially outsourced activity so you have to have a compelling reason to have someone in-house use your tool.
See who the competition claims are customers and then look to approach those companies for beta testing of your application (keep in mind though these people are overly busy, so you may need to make a better offer (some free gift) to get them to test and provide feedback)?
You should be trying to make inroads to Legal Departments within these organizations as they are the ones doing this work. Not sure who you have been contacting, but its hard to get to the right person at a large company like Microsoft through blind emails going to various divisions.
Look to find legal sites, lawyer and paralegal networking groups on social sites to see about getting beta testing and feedback. Look for independent or small legal firms that may be willing to try your tool on a limited basis. Linkedin might be a good place to start identifying these people... See if you can present at paralegal association meetings to get your story worked out and you may find some paralegals through these groups willing to be testers as well...
You may be setting your sights a bit high by targeting the likes of Microsoft out of the gate. There are a lot of small game companies that will be much more accessible. While they may not be pirated as much or for the same kind of sales figures, that revenue loss is more painful to them. Don't go after EA and Rockstar right now, dial it back a few notches.
Next, offer them free service after the beta ends in return for their involvement in the beta. Don't ask for referrals upfront. After all, they don't know if the service is any good yet.
Another approach would be to partner with a legal firm that can use your software and offer this as an outsourced (or at least partially outsourced) service. It would be even better if you can get their help on the sales side. You will have to give up a good chunk of the revenue this way, so weigh this option carefully.
Did you talk to software companies BEFORE starting to build the product?
Why don't you try to run it without the data from the companies and forward the data to them. Then offer to run it as a service for free?
Since you can't find companies to use your software, why not attack the problem from the other angle - scour the sites and then try to find the companies whose software is up there. then contact the companies who wrote the software.
But, again, should have gotten the contacts and proof of the need beforehand...
Do you have a website that discusses your app/service? That is the absolute minimum and most basic place to start. Go look on twitter or other places where either the hackers or the small vendors go to brag about cracking or complain about being ripped off.
the old JoS forums used to have people talk about how their software was cracked every now and then.
Emailing the likes of Apple, Adobe and MS is a complete waste of time. You may think it shows that you are pushing for success, but it shows a complete lack of knowledge of the industry and the problem domain.