I'm a technical lead (CTO level), with two previous start-ups / entrepreneur engagements under my belt. I have a Minimum Viable Product / POC of a hardware based security product that I designed and built. I would like to launch this product as a new company but I have no interest in being the CEO -- technology is my passion, not running the company. Should I find a CEO/CFO partner before pitching for seed money? or- should I look for an existing business (in a similar product space) to pick up my product for an equity share and employment?
I would suggest patenting this new hardware/technology if it's possible. This will allow you for an easier sale, at its current or future state. You will be able to sell it as-is to exiting company in the market. Also, it will better appeal to investors and partners. Thus it will allow you to get an investment, which will allow you to jump start the business by finding ceo/cfo and run the business.
If patenting the hardware is not possible, it will be harder to sell it, not impossible, simply harder. Partnering with a ceo/cfo will allow you to show that the product is actually usable and useful, and not just working.
good luck ;-)
If you're going to investors you have to have a business / sales professional on board. This is generally a surprise to CTO's going out on their own. I don't care if you have the technology to cure cancer: sales is more important than the tech. They will not pair you up with a business guy and they usually won't fund you without one.
You just need a talented co-founder, he/she will run the business and you will run the products/services and operations.
We're in the business of matching corporates with startups. It's very difficult for an independent startup to market their product to larger enterprises. Getting to the right people and at the right time when they are actively seeking a solution to a problem... Often like ships passing in the night. Sounds like you have a POC of the hardware, but until there's some validation of customer/problem and your solution in use... you don't have much to go on yet. You think it's a big idea (I assume)... so you should test that by trying to recruit a business partner to help move it forward. Be transparent that longer term you don't want to grow business. But an entrepreneurial leader if they see the opportunity can build a business around it... or at least incubate enough to be ready for corporate licensing. Good luck!
These are all great answers to your question. Have you filed a patent or even a PPA for your product yet? Why do you want to recreate the wheel if you do not want to have any control over the business? Another way to get your product to market without the headache and cost of starting a business, raising VC money, create market awareness (extensive time and money) is to license your product to a company that already has the funds, market share and established business? File a PPA Provisional Patent Application. Solicit companies with your one page sell sheet to obtain an upfront fee, residuals on all sales, access to check their sales records on a monthly bases, pull the product from them if they don't meet predefined sales goals, and finally get them to pop for the cash for patenting your invention in your name. This seems like maybe the better way to go for someone who has no interest in business, but does love "inventing" and product developing. Best of luck!
I honestly do not see an individual investor or group investing into a business without having certainty that there will be someone who's job is specifically to run the company. The chance of them investing into the company for the purpose of paying CEO is slim to none.
As far as the other option, you said you have a love for technology and not running the company. This route is more realistic but don't you want to see and be apart of the company's growth and progress? Unless you are not considering a buy out. God bless.