Idea validation · Seed funding

What is the next step with a really big idea?

Nathan Gaydhani Strategic Partnerships & Research Consultant

February 25th, 2015

I am working on some big ideas for ground-breaking, multi-sense interactive, tech products.

I do not have the money or resources though to even do some early stage prototyping.

What do you feel is the best way to get help with critical thinking and early stage development to get to a ‘proof of concept stage’ where real investors might be interested?

You have an idea. Now it’s time to turn it into a brilliant and beautiful product. In this course, you’ll learn specialized tactics to study your user, create testable wireframes, and transform them into fully functioning features and products.

Aleksandra Czajka

February 25th, 2015

do not build anything. test your idea first. what you want to do is fail your ideas fast. and what that means is that if the idea is going to fail, make sure you get to that understanding really fast so that you're not wasting time on a bad idea. one of the most important techniques to do this is to vet your idea with early adopters. you need to talk to people about your idea. can you get to your target audience? do you have channels? if not, that already is a problem. building a winner company is not just about having a great idea. it's very much about the execution, not just of the technology but of the business as well. if you can't access your customers, you will not have what it takes to build your company. no matter how good the idea. if you do have a way to get to the customers, good. get to them. do research whether they would like the idea. try to get them signed up with your product before you get anything built. if they're not interested to sign up, don't build it. move on to the next idea. there's so many out there.

hope this helps. good luck.

Karl Schulmeisters CTO ClearRoadmap

February 26th, 2015

Business Canvas... look it up. Do it

Then write your Marketing Brochure.
Then write your Users Guide.

Until that is done you are just chasing your tail


And no.  just having a list of people who SAY they will fork out $100 for your idea IN THE FUTURE won't get you a dime of investment    That's what the Users Guide is for.   until you can have someone go through it and say "yeah THAT is what I want"  - rather than some airy fairy "multi-sense interactive"  armwave you got nothing.     

Michael Barnathan

February 25th, 2015

Break your big idea into smaller ideas, then shop those around as others have mentioned. See what addresses some real pain points. Always keep the big idea in mind (and you can talk about it as "the direction we're heading in" in your pitches, which makes you seem like a visionary), but the small ones on the way should be your tactical focus from one quarter to the next. The small things are the ones people are actually going to buy. Your job is to make sure that the things people buy get you closer to what you actually want to build :)

Careful about executing before you validate. You could end up lucking out, but you could also end up wasting a lot of time and money.

Gaurav Garg Vice President

February 25th, 2015

Absolutely agree with Chris and Aleksandra. You need to validate your idea solves someone's problem and they are willing to pay money for the solution. 

Another benefit in talking to others about your idea is that you may find people who are passionate about the domain or technology. This brings in followers and potentially co-innovators (read early stage customers).

One co-innovator is worth its weight in gold. Not only they will provide the test bed for the product, they will help you build your company.

Kristian Anketell Business Builder | Currently Constructing Big Tipping & Collective Avenue

February 25th, 2015

I was going to type up a blurb but Aleksandra has covered off most of what I was going to say... thank you for that :). 

For me the key points are:
- Flesh out your business concept on paper
- Lean canvas until you can look at it an only have a single point in each area that resonates with you totally
- Use what ever system you like to get to a very succinct profile of your key customer. Know everything about them you possibly can
- Do up a survey*, either exactly that or something which allows you to get some solid quant and qual info from your very narrow target market/ early adopter prospects
- Survey away; assess survey with a 'black hat' on and pick your product apart as much as possible; something the survey will have helped with

Depending upon the information that comes up from getting that direct feedback, you will have a fair idea of what your next steps should be  :)

Hope that helps and thanks for giving me the chance to list out points! Where would a day be without a good list?  :)

Good luck with it all mate.

* for offline surveying on a portable device I quite like the functionality of Quick Tap, (http://www.quicktapsurvey.com/) but if you want to have it online, then I think Survey Gizmo (www.surveygizmo.com) gives the best value for money.

Chris Shayan Head of Engineering

February 25th, 2015

perhaps you can use some offshore companies that are able to build MVP however before going that step I strongly suggest to do some customer validation.

Daniel Turner Interaction Designer, Xerox PARC

February 26th, 2015

So heartened to see the responses up there! Gives me hope.

Yes, another voice suggesting you step back. Why do you think this is a big idea? What data support that? What research have you done? How do you know anyone else in the world wants this, or that it solves a real problem for anyone other than you?

Okay, the nicer way of formulating that, and what I ask whenever I talk to a startup: 

What problem does this solve? For whom? And how do you know this?

All parts are important. All have to be based on actual research: observation, not focus groups or anything you can look up on DuckDuckGo. You need to find all the reasons why your idea is _not_ groundbreaking or big. 

Daniel Turner Interaction Designer, Xerox PARC

February 27th, 2015

(By the way, of all the startups I've spoken with in the last three years, the ones who have not already thought about and were able to answer those questions? Dead and gone within very few months. I wrote a little about it here: http://boxesandarrows.com/we-dont-research-we-build/)

Nathan Gaydhani Strategic Partnerships & Research Consultant

February 26th, 2015

Thank you all so much for such helpful advice. Finding potential customers and understanding whether they would actually want it/pay for it seems vital. Michael, I also like your idea of developing smaller ideas that could build up to the main idea too. I am thinking a toy version of the main gadget would go down a treat.
Now I still don't know whether I need a pending patent application before I start talking to people or not?
It feels like one of those ideas where others will think 'why didn't we think of this before?' I have done quite a bit of research and although I know many people are already trying to invent such a thing, no one seems to have done it yet. Lets say I do find a large bunch of people that would love to buy this product, is a list of people who would be willing to fork out $100 for such a device enough to convince anyone to lend me say $50,000 to make a rough working prototype?