Are There Any Companies Out There Who Will Help You Bring An Internet Idea To Market?

I just came up with this really great internet idea that I think could become something. Are there any companies out there who will help you develop and market your idea? I know there are companies out there who do that with iPhone applications.

The key with angel investors are that they are looking for something with substance, ideally you should have numbers that back up the viability of the project (as no investor wants to get locked into a dot com bubble) but the important thing is that either you can establish yourself as a solid investment or that your project has as little risk associated with it as possible. I know someone who works as an angel investor and he told me that generally, when he’s looking for projects he ideally looks for three things… (1) the person behind the project and whether their reliable, had previous success and are a solid investment, (2) whether the investor feels they can bring more to the role than cash, (3) the project and it’s financial or social success viability… and it’s almost always in that order. If you want to find yourself an investor, you need to prove not only the viability of your business (Sagewing’s number crunching) - and a prototype if you feel it explains the thing further, but you also need to show that you as an individual are going to be able to work with them and have a solid background to suggest that you can make the thing viable. :slight_smile:

Just to add clarification for the OP, Sagewing is referring to you I believe.

We already have most of my steps in place, but have severe time constraints due to personal/work commitments. Ideally our only remaining step is funding, but research into angel investing has shown that businesses with viable prototypes are a lot more successful in gaining financial backing. So its a bit of a chicken and egg for me. Investments would free us to work full time, but without a prototype, its not going to be easy to get finance.

That pretty much said it all. You need to be clear about what you are looking for. Do you need money? expertise? legal? leadership? is your idea refined?

There are incubators to help refine and develop business ideas, and investors to help fund them. There are lots of things in between, too.

But, if all you have is an ‘idea’ then you don’t have much unless it’s such a spectacular idea that you can attract people with the resources and know-how to develop it.

So, what EXACTLY are you looking for? There is no ‘market for internet ideas’ really, so your original post won’t really bring results.

I doubt such research exists. Angels and other types of investors (professional ones) aren’t so impressed with prototypes as much as they want to see numbers.

What is the return? What is the market like? How to penetrate? Who will be the principals? And most importantly, what are the sources for the information i.e. the named resources and source of market data.

Putting emphasis on the prototype is typical of the entrepreneur that doesn’t ‘get’ what investors see as the core business plan - that is NOT the website. A website is just a bunch of stuff on a screen. A business plan is what makes money.

So, I doubt that the lack of a prototype is holding you back. If your business pitch is viable and has the potential to make serious money, you shouldn’t need a prototype unless your concept is terribly hard to understand. What you need is a solid business plan - on good old fashioned paper.

The above information is very good advice, though I would say to you that being brutally honest… ideas are worthless. Everybody has ideas and the concept of producing the next big thing is something which can be created on a “lightbulb moment” a minute basis. There’s a real reason why the 2K’s saw the market bottom out on websites that simply existed on the idea rather than the implementation, it’s because unless you can prove the concept is viable, it’s not going to get anywhere. In essence, while it’s great that you do have an idea, before you go out and spend loads of money trying to turn your idea into something amazing whose success could entirely be a gamble, I would strongly advise you to research your idea, lay down some serious plans, go to the people who will use your service and find out if what you want to offer is actually worth attempting, then only when you are sure that the risk VS reward isn’t going to be heavily favoured against you would I even attempt to go about having the thing produced - and I would probably encourage you to build and get the thing online yourself. It’s important that you will be able to maintain and run your service and as producing a service is quite straight forward and not that expensive (if you do it yourself), you could test the idea before throwing all your time and money at it. Sorry if this sounds rather negative but I’ve seen far too many “awesome ideas” die terribly due to lack of foresight. :slight_smile:

PS: This is not only true for software but websites too, there’s far too much choice for you to simply enter the market totally unarmed.

First step is to write it down and workshop it. Find a market, see if the idea will make a profit and then work out your operational expenses.

If the idea looks like it will still work, then get a lawyer to draw up a NDA so that you can present it to others with some protections in place.

Ultimately software is cheap to make. All you need is a computer, some books and time. The distribution is where you could end up with costs, but that can be sourced through kickstart programs, family funding or some personal loans/credit cards.

If you arent that technically savvy, then perhaps shop it around some IT minded friends and see what they have to say. You could form a team and start doing the various tasks of a company with either a partnership or contract in place that delineates each persons stake. So whilst you arent initially making any money, when it does take off, then you will have a stake in the company. This is normally how most start ups work.

If you dont have the right sort of friends, then places like e-lancer or similar might be the way to go. Hire a dev/designer/PM or whatever you need to get the project going, although that involves capital, which im assuming you dont have.

Now, I am in the same position as you, albeit 3 years on from inception. I came up with a great idea, and drafted a quick brief of what it was, how it would work and who the customers/users were. Then i brought it to my best friend who is a programmer like I am (although stronger in the backend vs my frontend skills) and we spent time researching the right technology stack, the implementation and hosting requirements (security, payments, etc).

Then we bought some starter licenses for JIRA and other [URL=“http://www.atlassian.com/”]Atlassian tools and used it to plot the progression of the project via iterations (best way to build startup/risky software) and started coding.

The biggest challenges for us (and why its 3 yrs on and still needing a prototype) is time allocation. We both work full time in the IT industry (I have bills to pay) and also have family commitments. This sort of thing means that there are many late nights and weekends spent, but its worth it.

Once you have your prototype, you can look for one of two things.

  1. The first is a commercialisation grant. You will have to check state and federal grants available to you, but there should be something provided by your local economic/trade body.
  2. Angel investment/family/kickstart. There are various angel investor programs available through investment clubs, family connections and perhaps even businesses with similar interests. VirginBlue, has an article in this months in flight magazine (page 90 onwards)