It involves a viral volume of users like snapchat or tinder. How can I theoretically support this in front of an investor?
Could you be more specific? This is too abstract. In particular, do you mean you don't intend to have a revenue model at all? Do you already have users?
There is a fundamental problem if I understand correctly your question. If your business will become profitable only if there will be viral addoption of your product / app (by luck or magic), there is no way to bring investors on-board.
What you need to demonstrate is that even under prudent and conservative assumptions you can still become cash flow positive at one point of time, and that the market you are penetrating is big enough to pay-off several years of negative cash flow.
The best is to focus on your business model and how you will scale operations to contain costs when users numbers grow. Using exponential growth of users / revenues in your projects is probably the first reason investors will not call you for further conversation.
Investors are interested primarily in ROI and Rates of Return. They will only show some interest if your product/idea has potential. They also look at the those involved in driving the project. If you team is so great, your idea is so big, your idea so amazing, and you have gained some traction in getting interest, then all you have to do is show them proof of this. Have you got a Business Plan? Is it bankable?
Among other things you need to have ready with your Investor Pack/Pitch Deck is the following:
1) Project Status - Operational/Non-Operational
2) Opportunity Study - Yes/No
3) Phase of Operation
4) Pre-Feasibilty Study - Yes/No
5) Feasibility Study - Yes/No
6) Business Plan
Hope this helps
you should roll out an MVP first and get some initial users sign up on your platform. this would validate your concept and then reach out to investors.
Tinder and Snapchat both have significant revenue.
More to the point, both had revenue plans at every funding stage, even before they had revenue. The plans were somewhat vague at first but they got better over time.
Why do you have the impression VCs are only interested in $? Every single day, millions of $ are invested in branding, improving the image of the firm and the like, though they know they will be SPENDING more money on those activities...
Try to sell the idea by telling your investor not why you love it, but how it could help them
Sorry Christian, but you are wrong when you say "my idea ... involves no sales to begin with".
Business is always about selling something to somebody.
Even non-profit organizations sell something.
Maybe you are not charging users but, you sell them something and asking them to pay you with the time they spend using your app.
And then, later on, you will sell your users data to advertisers or partners.
So, definitely you sell something and you are paid somehow.
Before you pitch your idea to investors, I advise you to validate your idea.
You need an advisor or a co-founder who really knows how to build a start-up business from scratch, and that specifically has strong skills and start-up experience in:
1) lean customers interview hack,
2) lean marketing,
3) customers growth hack,
4) business idea vetting,
5) how to detect early that an idea will fail,
6) how and when to pivot,
7) climbing the mvp mountain,
8) b2b and b2c sales best practice (because you have no business if you can't sell)
9) psychology of selling
10) financial modelling for startup (because you will need to check the likeliness of your business model to generate enough value and money to be financially sustainable)
I can help you on all that.
You also need to develop business idea vetting skills.
You will need to learn some specific skills related to business idea vetting.
1/ sniff testing
This is the capacity to split your ideas into small parts and assess the likeliness of each part to be a contributor to the overall success of your future business without spending time and resources doing standard market research. It can help you identify winners and looser early and help you save precious time and resources.
2/ customer development and market research
This is the capacity to identify the best people to talk to, the best places to find them, the best way to approach them, how to talk to them so that they are not getting bored, what to ask to get a comprehensive and useful insights for your business.
3/ financial modelling for startup
This is the capacity to check whether or not your idea/customer/market align to generate enough value and money to build a sustainable business.
4/ Capacity to generate back-up ideas or sub-ideas. As you move further and deeper in customer development, you will probably notice that the current version of your idea is a b*llsh*t. This can lead to panic if you don't have backups. You can be either disappointed and abandon (smart decision) or stubborn and continue (foolish decision).
5/ Capacity to identify early which part of your business idea is too weak to be pursed
Hope this helps.
Feel free to join me on LinkedIn or send me a private message here if you need further help.