I've been working on an idea (consumer facing entertainment curation) I'm really excited about for the last 6 months. My gut is telling me I need to find a way to go for it full time, but I have no savings to fall back on and would require a small amount of seed money.
Other companies in the space have recently been funded. I have amazing celebrity curators/partners sold on the vision and ready to be a part of it that I believe I can leverage to get funding. Inevitably, somebody is going to execute on this idea and I feel like the time is now if I'm going to be the one to do it. I know the space well and trust my gut.
1) Once I get mockups or a initial prototype built, how do I best use that and my network of celebrity curators to gain just enough seed money to get started? How much of the company should one give away for a small seed round? Would it be best to find one angel who is willing to buy me some time with a small investment?
2) Am I an idiot to try to do this with no savings to fall back on? I am unmarried and have no kids. I don't feel like I can give it the attention it needs as a side project.
Any insights would be great.
Answer to question one: If your celebrity curators are big enough names and are really committed, there is a small chance that you could raise a seed round of $750k or more pre-launch. That said, a number of "celebrity-supported" ventures have had very mixed to bad results so it could cut either way so it's more likely that you will want to raise on a rolling convertible note with anyone who is willing to believe in your vision and ability to execute.
Answer to question 2: The closest parallel I know to an entrepreneur is a special forces operator. The risks they take despite knowing the tremendous risks with every mission is similar (at least in mindset) to that of an entrepreneur. And especially being unmarried with no kids, you are in an ideal situation to take big risks.
I'd be happy to do a call with you to give you more specific advice relevant to your idea.
I suggest the following:
- find a team (2-3 people)
- find unique value
- build a landing page
- promote landing page
- build a mvp (minimal viable product)
- get traction
- incorporate company (e.g. In silicon valley)
- get more traction
- ask users for feedback
- enhance your mvp with functions users asked
- ask for seed money
One additional idea to consider is licensing and patents. If you are truly concerned about someone executing on this "idea" - take the time to patent protect it. This gives you some breathing room to collect the funding required from your celebrity curators/partners. It also provides you the option to market the idea as a license for use. Holding a Utility Patent or a Design Patent on a unique and novel product or process increases your value to your celebrity curators/partners as well. Investing your limited seed money in this way may be something to consider.
If you discover that your idea is not "patentable" - then that's another pain-point you need to consider. If your idea does not meet the patentability requirements, such as novelty and non-obviousness -- then anyone (with the appropriate funding) viewing your prototype product/service from the outside (no real knowledge of the inner details) can easily duplicate it and hit the market before you.
Hope this helps a little.