My startup idea has been developed before we could do it. What now?


So the idea for my startup which we have been also sharing with few incubators wasn't well received during the last 3 months. And now we find out that during this time the same has been developed by a startup in Netherlands.

Surprisingly, they have done everything so similar to our plan, in fact they have same set of features and implementation. Looking at their detailing gives me a feel as if I am reading my own document that we have been working on.

Has my idea been stolen or is it just a bizzare coincidence. Whatever the case may be I never had a copyright on it since we were only just starting to build it.

SO the question is what now? Continue building or abandon.


asked Nov 12 '11 at 07:20
73 points
  • Sometimes the second person to have a good idea can be better off. Try to find weaknesses in the competing product and see if you can do it better. If they did it perfectly in your opinion then you might want to consider cutting your losses. – Maple Shaft 12 years ago
  • You can't copyright an idea/concept/business. – Tim J 12 years ago
  • It's more likely that they just had the same idea as you, and that there is an obvious method of execution. How likely is it that somebody in another country would hear of your idea, copy it, implement it, and launch a startup all within the 3 months you have been trying to get funding? There are probably other companies in this market you haven't of yet. – Mike 12 years ago

5 Answers


Continue building.

With several billions people on the planet and most of them living interconnected it is to be expected that same ideas arise.

Having said that it's most times of no consequence who's built it first. The winner will be decided based on many other criteria, such as the quality of the service, quality of support, perception, marketing etc.

How can you know? Perhaps they will screw up and you will excel?

Go ahead and try it.

answered Nov 12 '11 at 07:29
146 points


You may find that you now get more interest from incubators when they know a similar service has launched elsewhere. It demonstrates proof of concept to some extent.

If you feel you still have a market, go ahead. Make sure you learn from everything they do/have done and use it to improve your business. Show potential investors how you are improving on the execution and how you can capture a viable market.

answered Nov 14 '11 at 14:41
Susan Jones
4,128 points
  • +1 for pointing out that an empty market can suggest to investors no demand, so (bad) competition can be a positive. – Mike 12 years ago


Congratulations, this just proves that your "idea" is actually worth pursuing, you are not the only one who thinks is a good idea and that is a good thing.

Unless you are building the next Facebook or Twitter (and chances are you are not), having other startups developing the same product is not a bad thing, on the contrary, it usually suggests there is a big enough market for that product or service.

answered Nov 29 '11 at 15:25
4,815 points
  • And if your competitor launched before you do, it's probably a good idea to comparison-shop and be one of their customers (under an alias, of course). Also you can start paying attention to their own customer's complaints and see if your offering can excel in areas that they're lacking. – Adib 12 years ago


If someone else has done what you wanted, that proves that you are not so crazy after all. There are more people that think that your idea is worth investing in. Like Ricardo said, congratulations!

Now, you have been going through this for some time, so you should be able to make improvements. Even more, you get to see where they fail.

I would only worry about not making a copy of this product. Yes, I know, it's not a copy because you had the idea, but since you'll be launching after them you are the one who has to make himself apart. Try to give it a twist, maybe go after a different market.

answered Nov 30 '11 at 07:22
117 points


There are over billion computer users in the world, you have huge markets to look for. Considering other company is also a startup they also will have to pitch their ideas faster and spread so it would be better if you can finish your product and compete, possibly in other markets. For example their focus may be in Europe right now, you can try expanding in US or India. Their is Amazon in US does not means there can't be more flipkarts or infibeams in India.

answered Nov 29 '11 at 15:16
111 points

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