Seed funding

Tech Startup with physical product - small seed to get to Kickstarter, or full investor route? and risks. Please let me know your thoughts.

William Visconage Programmer/SysAdmin developing a viable new Tech Product

August 8th, 2019

William Visconage Programmer/SysAdmin developing a viable new Tech Product

Last updated on August 9th, 2019

To refine my question, Its a moral divide between trying to create the most successful/beneficial to people/market version of the idea at the risk of it being harder to personally oversee and foster and growing too large to efficiently manage the engineering aspects, or doing it all myself, and It just taking forever to be perfect.

Is a shot at my idea having the opportunity of reaching its full potential at the risk of something going wrong along the way that betrays my vision's values worth the risk of a moderate implementation of my projects vision that remains true to its values and core design philosophy at the cost of never truly scaling to its full potential due to lack of funding?

Please let me know if anyone has experience wrestling with this moral dilemma....

William Visconage Programmer/SysAdmin developing a viable new Tech Product

Last updated on August 11th, 2019

More of just knowing co-founder or investors will mess it up so I'm self funding / kick-starting and expanding project timeline. I'm more of the honest hardworking engineer/businessman type. Its a moral issue because money corrupts people and venture capitalist funding attracts more morally questionable characters, despite possibly being skilled. I want to look out for employees/company culture & health long-term to build a healthy culture that rewards effort and innovation (proof of work/innovation/effort + contribution not financial/stake or social influence), especially because future projects will spawn from the same umbrella/parent holding company. I've already dodged some investment opportunities as a result. I'll figure it out myself along the way. I'm just not going venture capitalist route. To me I already know my idea is solid and backed up my market research (fills market void, hits price/demographic sweet-spot, hits multiple demographics (but able to heavily target demographic with most overlap, resolves an industry need, has features that haven't been done before). Despite all this Its about doing it and cranking out a project b/c its enjoyable, and attracting like minds who love what they do, which will allow me to out-compete because of a passion for innovation and culture over just the draw of money or other shallow factors. Also @Paul I'm not really looking for "tell me what to do" advice, because I do most research and work myself. More just polling the room. I know what I'm doing and what my plans are, but well formulated opinions based on personal experience are still valuable, and may sway some fine-tuning decisions down the road. I'd love to hear personal experiences from others that may directly relate. If anyone needs a 'Life-Coach' to tell them "Do THIS/Don't do THIS/Do your DAMN Research", this is probably a bad place to be active in, but for everyone else, its just forceful, unwanted, and unhelpful advice. Also, just because I want to hear other takes, does not indicate I am looking for direct guidance, merely that am am willing to keep an open mind to any alternative or creative solutions I may have overlooked, but will ultimately make that call for myself. Successful entrepreneurs learn through experience, steer their own ship, but also are smart enough to understand, respect, and listen to, and learn from the experiences of others, while still remaining true to their own vision without being detoured. [ "Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts." -- Winston S. Churchill" ].

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

August 10th, 2019

What you're describing has nothing to do with morality. This is simply about your aversion to risk and desire to maintain control. There's no moral conflict. You can plan for control and you can plan for quality, even at scale.

What you can't plan for is other people's willingness or lack thereof to give you money.

So, stop beating your head against the wall and take a step forward. Do your damn research so you know exactly what it will take to maintain the quality you demand. Do your research to make sure you have tested each and every one of your assumptions. Do your research to ensure your marketing strategy will function as expected. And find that product-market fit so there will be no question when you approach investors that your product will enter the market with low risk and high reward.

Forget Kickstarter. Kickstarter is for a different class of businesses with a very specific market fit. And it's an entirely different business model that requires a few months of preparation AND management of the campaign that it's clear you're not ready for if you're worried about the stuff you described.

Being too big should be your best kind of problem. No one says you have to sell more stuff if selling more stuff means you have to compromise your integrity. Make it a limited supply. They don't produce more Maker's Mark bottles just because there are more people that want them than they produce. They have decided where to put the ceiling and they're sticking to it.

Taking forever as you inelegantly put it is simply representative of time vs. money. Both are forms of attention. And you can substitute one for the other. Don't have the money, spend more time, don't have the time, spend more money. Worry less about the funding and more about proof of concept. If you actually build something remarkable and validate each step, you'll have a much easier time persuading others to support you financially while you get off the ground. If you focus on the funding first when you don't even know how much it's going to take, you're doomed to frustration.

Ajané Hinton Co-founder Now Open App, Inc.

August 11th, 2019

Utilizing Kickstarter or Indiegogo, especially when you have physical product, is a great place to start when you what to test the demand for your product and raise funds as well. There is a lot of benefits to crowdfunding your idea first before going to investors (e.g. showing early traction, supporting your companies pre-money valuation, obtaining a list of future customers and investors (if you decided to execute an equity crowdfunding campaign)).

In addition, if you have a successful Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaign, you can move the campaign to Indiegogo InDemand and continue your campaign.

Also, that will help you if you decided to leverage the different equity crowdfunding sites (i.e. StartEngine, Republic, MicroVenture, SeedInvest) you can raise substantial funds without dealing with VCs or investment firms (check out the story of Groundfloor).

No need to give up 20% or more of your equity before you get your idea validated by the market. Good luck and much success in your business.

Ajané Hinton Co-founder Now Open App, Inc.

August 11th, 2019

Also, I am in the planning process for kicking off my crowdfunding campaign to test the demand for my project on a larger scale. So, I am setting up links, on my crowdfunding page, that go to my landing page to drive traffic there to get additional information as well.

Clay Nichols Helping other startups grow after launching 2 successful startups.

August 13th, 2019

What stage are you at?

(Idea, prototype, first production run, etc.)