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I have had an idea for an app that I want to write & market. I have posted questions here before but I want to get more info.
The bottom line is that what I need to do this is funding. And by funding I mean salary to pay me and probably 1 or 2 other developers, office space, and necessary equipment. I could try to write this on the side, but it would take years. So if I didn't have to worry about salary and could just go to the office each day & develop, I could crank this out fairly quickly and get to market.
I'v researched Angel Investors such as this[^] but they all seem to be geared towards start-ups, which from what I can see is an existing company that is trying to get going.
I'm not a company. I'm just me and I would bring in a few other people. So do I qualify as a start up? of not, how do I go about getting investing to get started?
Well, to start with you'll need a business plan or, at the very least, something formal that will give potential investors an idea of what it is they are being asked to invest in. A good idea is to be able to show a working prototype; even if not fully functional it shows that something is happening.
They usually want to know what you are risking. From what you are saying above, nothing at all. If you don't believe enough in what you are proposing that you won't take some of the risk, why should anyone else? In other words, you need to show some skin in the game. Doesn't have to be much, just enough to show someone you are serious.
There's loads more but that might give you something to think about.
"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." Red Adair. nils illegitimus carborundum
I think you'll find that Mark's comments were actually quite reasonable based on the information you provided.
The second one you quoted was more of a rhetorical question imho - you didn't spell out that you were risking anything in what you said in your original post, so you would need to demonstrate that you are taking some kind of risk in taking the leap... For example - you state that you want someone to cover your salary while you develop this awsesome app (that's going to make you a lot of money)... how about mortgaging your house for it? That's the kind of risk that many people who have great ideas and want to convert them to reality are prepared to take, not to ask an angel investor to take the risk for them.
Either way, good luck. You have had some excellent advice in the responses here. I would concur that setting up a company is a good option, as banks would prefer to deal with a company than an individual when it comes to investment loans etc - essentially you are wanting to invest in something that you think is going to turn a profit. Perhaps this is an avenue for you to consider - fund your own adventure...
I'm not a company looking to expand. I'm one guy looking to develop an app.
It's exactly the same issue, you still need a business plan that explains, in clear terms, how much money you need, for how long, and how soon the profits will start to roll in. Remember, you are asking someone else to risk a large amount of cash based on your hope that the project will be a success, but you are not in a position to offer any guarantees. Which will probably mean that they may want some tangible security against the loan, such as your house or other property. To be honest you are really asking in the wrong place, you would be better contacting your local business bureau or chamber of commerce (if they have such things in the US). You could also try your local Rotary Club, many members are business people.
One of these days I'm going to think of a really clever signature.
geared towards start-ups, which from what I can see is an existing company that is trying to get going.
That's true - an investor wants to invest in something that exists not just an idea - so they expect you to have started - probably by setting up a company, doing some sort of business plan and having a presentation showing what money you need, how much of the company they will get for that money, and what their return will be in the first 12 months, next 12 months etc.
From what I have been told by investors, they do NOT like investing in your salary (or anyone else's) - so placing the emphasis on the fact that you need office space, equipment, software phones etc. and showing how little you require by way of funds taken out of the company would be the aim (e.g. you are willing to take an annual income which would just keep your head above water, because you KNOW that in 12 months you will be rolling in money with your successful product, rather than you expect to be paid a reasonable income while you develop it).
I'd check out BizSpark [^]if it's MS based software you're talking about - you can not only get a lot of dev software (and Azure space) for free, but you can also take advantage of their resources to help you get going (I went to a great BizSpark weekend a while ago where we pitched to a bunch of investors for practice - with help putting the presentations together for maximum effect (I also won an XBox 360 Kinect pack - so definitely worth going!)
One thing they told me was that my idea and requirements really weren't big enough for angel investors - ask for $100,000 and they don't see sufficient profit to make it worth their while - ask for a couple of million and they can see potential!
Another thing they were good at was pointing out how many other people had had that same idea before - and the reason you hadn't seen the product in the marketplace was because the concept was flawed - then they helped modify the concept to look like something that may have been more marketable.
Final bit of advice I recall was to set up your company with a business partner who will be the business not technical side of the company - so you can get on with the tech while the partner gets on with teh business side of things.
Getting funding for your project is difficult thing (unless you have big influence). so do what most of the startups do, start small and on your own until you have something to show, to the investors.
So I would suggest you to team up with fellow developer and do this on side until you have something to show.
First you need a proper plan, without it you cant estimate that, it will take a year. I also have a startup (with just me in it), and in 4 months (full-time working on the app) I have full-fledged web application hosted on Windows Azure (and it is ready to launch). Also Microsoft BizSpark was a huge help (if you are into MS Tools, signup for it).
You should be a company. If you want to pay yourself and some employees, have an office and business equipment, and are developing something for a market, you should set up a company or partnership (depending on exactly where you are and what legal position you want to have).
What do you do now? Company contracts often forbid you from doing external 'real work' that competes with your primary job. If you're normally employed then you will probably have to talk to your employer about what you're allowed to do anyway.
How quick is 'fairly quick'? Perhaps you could get your employer or contractor-client to give you a few months away from work (with reasonable notice of course) to develop it under your own steam; if you had the day job to come back to then you would still have financial security and you shouldn't need financial investment (the risk you're taking would be 3-4 months salary and you probably have that available as liquid savings).
I think the most successful start-ups come from blood, sweat, and personal investment. If someone else is funding it then you don't have a horse in the race. Every one has a lot of great ideas but very few are willing to work hard enough to make them succeed.
Plus, considering modern software development and technology, funding an office for a start-up for just developers is a little anachronistic. I converted one of my bedrooms to a private office in my home so I don't have to have special office space for projects, best investment I ever made. If you are an apartment dweller considering stepping up by one bedroom and doing the same. You may think it would be hard considering your lease but if you have a 1 bedroom most complexes will gladly let you step up to a two, the one bedrooms are very easy to rent, the two's not so much.