Credit to Tom for touching on this subject, but I felt it was worth of expansion.
Example for you: BackOps.co
. Great example of a cool service that does not own it's own tech base. 7 other major tools all driven by a unifying API layer they do control.
Time to market was accelerated because they didn't have to build out a "utility" tech base. For their market/product NOW was the time to rush to market and grab customers / market share. You need to understand that this was the ideal solution for the current stage of their market. The funding they raised could mostly be directed at growing the sales operation and customer acquisition. Later they can go back and code out each of the sub-systems one at a time (if warranted). That might be a great use of B or C round capital.
The most critical question in a start-ups life is... once we get this to market will people really buy it? Will doing what BackOps did get you to market faster so you can focus your available capital on de-risking that critical traction question? For BackOps their argument was good enough to persuade Google Ventures
For some ventures it's the right move. Can you make a strategic argument like they did? If so VCs will understand and appreciate the funds you are looking for will take you much deeper into revenue territory, and you'll achieve break-even faster.
As an entrepreneur I think it's a dream-come-true to be able to use Seed and A round capital to grow your revenue base, and B or C round capital to build your code base. Yeah, doing that backwards won't work for many (most?) startups. But think about how much better you would know WHAT YOU FRICKIN NEED TO BUILD ONCE THE TIME CAME?!?. If your niche is a natural fit for this approach... my vote is you would be crazy not to do it "backwards" just like BackOps did.
Any more good examples like BackOps out there?