Entrepreneurship · Startup finance

Is it possible to start a new business without an investor?

Giammarco R Casanova CEO & CoFounder of Washery, physics student and NGO advisor on a European level

Last updated on January 30th, 2018

I have a startup idea and I have almost developed everything myself, from the Business Plan to the actual App and customer base via social media communication.

Fortunately it is a business niche which can have an easy go to market without any R&D or particular expenses on testing and there are already some customers registered on the website to try the beta, once it is out.

I have previously tested the idea with a MVP and had some revenues.

Now, my question is, considered I don't have funds to invest (I'm mainly doing everything myself/within the team), do I really need an investor or an accelerator to back me up during the service launch?

Additional info:

The idea is to offer a B2C service for geolocalised car washings using waterless products and delivering quick and professional results at a reasonable price. A definite competitor (at the moment only in the US) advantage is the partnership with a car detergent retailer whose products can offer a professional result without having to bring a lot of equipment. And, apart from that, we use a custom proprietary matching algorithm.

Curt Sahakian Attorney

Last updated on January 30th, 2018

"Is it possible to start a new business without an investor?"

If you can, that is the best way to do it.

You do not give enough details to provide specific recommendations. But you need to figure out ways to attract partner and customer money/resources.

Think, what is it you would spend investor money on. Say it is people or talent. Think about how you can get partners or customers to contribute people or talent to your project.

James Corbishley Inventor and sustainable energy startup

January 30th, 2018

For me, investors might bring funding and or expertise to your business, but if you make a realistic appraisal and think you can manage without, that may well be a legitimate decision.

From experience, many businesses fail either because they run out of money, or they lack a sufficient range of skills. Also, limited funds might prevent you expanding or promoting your business at The optimal level.

David M

February 1st, 2018

What does your financial section in your business plan lead you to believe? Generally with a detailed business plan you can answer this question.

Steve Getman Executive and business consultant

January 30th, 2018

There's certainly no requirement to have an investor. If you can launch the product and bootstrap it from revenue then by all means.

There is some risk in that a strategic investor/partner can make things go faster/easier from a growth perspective and speed to market is your main defense against someone taking your idea and developing a similar competitive solution.

Assuming this is for Washery, have you considered approaching one of the larger dry cleaning chains as a strategic partner?

David M

February 1st, 2018

Im reading through these answers. There are some good ones and some less informed, but most are answering with personal bias based on their own experiences. That is a problem that happens in these co founder discussions. If you have written a detailed business plan you will come back with different questions. The question you ask here leads me to believe you do not have a detailed business plan. Otherwise you would know whether you need an investor or not. Then the types of questions you will be asking are: How can I reduce my expenses to avoid taking an investor? or I need to take on an investor, what is a good way to structure? or what are the pros and cons to taking on established investors vs, less institutional angel investors? A business plan is interwoven...all the sections. If you can not tell whether you need an investor or not, very simply you have a business plan that at the very least is lacking in the financial section. Thats ok, but I can also tell you if you can't answer that question on your own, it is very unlikely any investor is going to invest. And the reason I say that is because a savy investor is going to want to know where his dollars are going. If you don't even know whether you need them, that means you don't know where every one of his dollars is going....not a good thing to go into an investor meeting with.

Nikoloz Nikolaishvili CEO SeedFactory (http://www.seedfactory.io/)

January 31st, 2018

Yes, if you can provide initial money for development an MVP and marketing you can start a business without investor. You can use 3F rule (friends, family, fools) who just believe in your idea. As a plus you'll save equity.

At the other point most of the angel are not ready to invest money in a company without prototype and traction.

So use your resources and get the investor after you get an MVP. This will help to save equity of your startup

Sadique Khan Efficient inventor frugal

January 31st, 2018

Hi, You may not need investors now but will certainly need them when you want to scale up. Some of the many advantages you have with investors is risk sharing, surplus venture capital, a bigger network of people which itself has many advantages, guidance. Having said that, all these advantages can turn opposite as well but that's where good management has to play a part. All the best.

Diana Mubarak Cofounder-Account Manager

February 1st, 2018

Absolutely! You can actually learn the "How" on line to help you execute your business without having a full pocket of money. Try (coursera.com) they have simple easy courses to help you learn how to go about your business. Also, most people now a days are interested to be on board with a startup so they will be willing to do work for free for you so they can take credentials to help them seek jobs. Once you get to the stage where you need money, there are lots of websites that can help you post your business idea and attract investors. Don't fall in the trap where you feel that in order for you to succeed is to have the same experience that someone els had when they become successful in their business. Good luck.

Rob Hirsch Traveler, nature lover, & entrepreneur

February 3rd, 2018

Short answer: no. Most business don't have investors. You could get a personal loan from a bank. You could save $100 / paycheck for a couple months. Or... you could just start doing your business. Sell your service. Make money. When you have no time left, hire someone. Rinse & repeat.

Startups get investors when they need a lot of cash soon, like to develop new technology, to pivot from a competitor or outpace them, or to buy a competitor. You could do a web search to learn more too.

Dimitry Rotstein Founder at Miranor

January 30th, 2018

Yes, it's certainly possible to launch a startup and even make an exit without investors. It's called bootstrapping.

However, statistically, having investors increases the chances of an exit, as well as the size of an exit, by hundreds of percents.

Whenever possible, the best scenario is to get an investment, but only at the right time - after the product and the business model had been fully validated (i.e. product exists and is profitable on a small, but representative scale) and you are planning to start growing at an explosive rate by simply scaling up the existing product. An investment can really help you grow fast under these circumstances (also it's relatively easy to find an investor at such a point).

An accelerator, however, is something completely different. It's not an investor in any meaningful sense, and these days many accelerators don't even give any money. Accelerators can help in other ways. If you're a beginner and you don't really know what to do next, accelerators may be able to help you. But that's a different question.