Where I'm at: I'm 1yr in, $10k out of pocket, and my prototype is a demonstrable proof-of-concept but not ready for user testing. The grind of being full-time on a startup and full-time on a day job is leaving me burnt out. I'm thinking that a seed round would allow me to quit my day job and be full-time on the startup.
I hear conflicting input. Some say that others have received seed funding with less than what I've achieved, while others assert the great risks and expenses of receiving funding, from the great trouble and risks of guesstimating a pre-revenue valuation (and I was instructed to use convertible notes). Yet angel list gives an abbreviated how-to and promotes syndicates as a viable way to get money really quickly.
Do I start showing my proof-of-concept to angel list investors now? Or do I drag it out till I'm able to do user testing, and take longer in the process (which I see as adding risk).
As for the market, several companies are currently profitable in the space, having raised several million themselves. The consumer pain point has already been validated, but getting users to test a working prototype would definitely be significant for my efforts.
What I'm building is a hardware product, so applying lean startup methods is harder.I'm happy to get ideas though.The prototype can and is being built using 3D printers, but getting the functional prototype is not trivial.