Last year I decided after going through two rounds of sweat-equity development people without a working project, I found a development company that did a cash/equity split model, and I was off to the races. I unfortunately exhausted my personal financial resources, and with some underestimation of the difficulty of some modules, I am stuck in a sort of limbo.
I am not seeking a ton of funding. $25k to get my essentials (MVP) product to launch with about one more month of effort required. Around another $75-100k to get my premium product to launch. But it seems these two financial targets are at a very odd spot for finding funding. The angel investors and upwards to venture capital people are looking to invest more funds for a 10x type company. While my solution could be a 10x'er, it would be more realistically 5+ years out. So all of the ones I have talked to are interested, but after the product is launched, I get a descent sized user base, and revenue generating.
The flip side is friends and family, and unfortunately I just do not have a network of people with money. So that leaves me with few options to explore on that side.
So I am still seeking the right investors to help me get to launch. What is one to do when you are stuck in a situation like this?
I think it will depend on your product. $25K should be an angel investor or crowdfunding, if it's a consumer or consumer-understandable product.
I don't have any helpful input as I'm looking the same thing, just here for the advice as well.
You should personally reach a lot of these 800k professionals and find an agreement, i.e. they finance you and you give them the product for free/a discount. In this way, you will also have review of your MVP from your target customer.
@David. Yes I have what I would consider a conservative projection of revenue, expenses, etc. I just still have not found too many people to show that off to since they all are either looking for bigger fish in the pond, or this one is too rich for their blood.
A few below have mentioned the crowdfunding element and this is one I would definitely explore.
I know you said you don't have the network well the best advice I can give is to build one :) Start even with approaching people on LinkedIn ( angels, industry experts within the wedding space, people you think may be interested in your product) start going to events, I wouldn't go in with the hard sell just a simple, I am building a product that fills a gap in the wedding space and looking to expand my network here etc etc
Another route is as Dane mentions below try get companies to prepay for your product.
Hope this helps!
In terms of investors for the stage and amount, they will need to be pre-seed. Some pre-seed investors are looking for an MVP and some numbers on the board at this stage, however there are some that will consider pre-product startups at this stage:
They were obtained from a search on Google. I have not looked closely into their investment criteria other than pre-product pre-seed and NY, so there will be others out there.
Considering the raise amount, and not taking into account any crowd options, investors will either be angels or micro-VC's.
Hi Lou, good luck with the search. Crowd-sourcing was already proposed. Investors would look for sales etc. So there should be some business going on and the company should be making money. Otherwise it may be very hard to find some money.
My proposal would be to get some credit from banks with the project planning (I am not sure how it goes in Europe) and or use some funding from government if possible with the project plan. Also, try to reduce some of the costs by outsourcing or giving some percentage of the company to a technical guy so that he can support you. May be you can find partners here who would believe in the project and complete the MVP with you. Try to reduce the size of the MVP (if possible deliver most valuable sections to the customer) rather than waiting for all components to be finished. Sometimes it is more important to put something in front of a customer which is even at MVP level (at the end of the day- Peter Thiel supports that even an MVP is not enough) so better save time and costs. Products generally change depending on the feedback from the customer so start receiving this feedback as early as possible.
In summary, try to get the job done with minimal cost in a short amount time with alternative resources (if you can find a way).
Here is what they say :
“I think a great entrepreneur is learning every day. An entrepreneur is somebody that doesn’t take no for an answer — they’re going to figure something out. They also take responsibility. They don’t blame anybody else.” ― Damon John
Good luck. Hope you figure out something quick!!!
You are in a difficult spot. Investors all want to put more to work because it takes more effort to keep on top of a small investment than a big one. Venture and Angels want to all investments to be a possible 10 X because they will make many that are zero. The portfolio has to sustain those losses. Most will tell you they would take 5 X in 5 to 7 years, but that is not accurate; it is really 10 x in 3 to 5 years. This is where you look at equity in your home, credit cards, willing friends with $1000 to $5000, and every other option. You may find future customers willing to "prepay" for services (saying this with no idea what your product is) that will take warrants as part of the prepayment. Tristan's idea, if it is a consumer product, is worth considering. If it is B2B, crowdfunding is less likely. If your MVP gets traction, you may find willing investors for the premium product because of that traction. You should focus on the $25K for now. It appears if you do not raise that, then the $75 k to $100 K is not a factor.
Crowdfunding would be a little difficult since the product is really aimed to a niche market (wedding professionals, about 800k total persons in the US) but something like Crowdcube looks interesting. But they are UK based, any similar models in the US I've overlooked?