Answer by Phil McKrakin:
It find it amazing with the explosion of startups in the popular media and now even a TV series about Silicon Valley, how so many people figure themselves to be the next Elon Musk or Steve Jobs.
I've got a vague idea, no team, no plan, no experience, who will give me money?
Well the answer is nobody.
To get money, (ok, money from me) you need:
1) A business plan that shows available market and financial viability.
2) A rough prototype of the idea that shows it is at least feasibly possible.
3) Some proof that shows you own the idea and its unique and defensible.
4) A detailed plan of how you are going to use my money.
5) A team of people that can build and scale the product to limited production.
6) Overflowing enthusiasm that leaves me without a doubt you will give your life to make this plan work.
7) Proof you've exhausted all your existing resources to get where you are today.
8) That hopefully, you and your team also have some experience of doing this before and you know what to expect.
What have you personally invested in this so far? For me to commit, I would want to see you have put every last resource at your disposal into making your idea real. Because if you dont, the 50 hungry guys behind you are going to run you over, tear you to shreds and spit you out, as they want it way more than you.
Why no demo? Whats stopping you? If you cant make it, why would I invest in you? If you need me to make it, why dont I just do it myself?
Have you and your friends quit your jobs and put your life savings into supporting yourselves while you research the market and learn everything possible about how successful startups succeed? Have you done any surveys with potential customers to find out if they would buy your solution and how much they would pay? Who is your competition? What is your edge/advantage?
If your unemployed, sat in your basement at home watching Oprah on TV, sucking on some cheerios while your parents clean your room and you suddenly think you have a great idea for a startup to get rich, congratulations! You and 10 million others just had the same inspirational idea, and just like you they wont get off their backsides to do anything about it.
Making a successful startup isnt kindergarten time, this is the olympics of business and for every winner there are dozens of dead bodies on the roadside.
If what you have is a really good idea, show me invoices proving how its made you a profit selling it in the last year. That was how businesses used to scale. You had to prove you had something viable. What a revolutionary concept!
Im not in the business of giving money away. There has to be something there. If a vague idea is all you have, a VC can just take your idea and maybe use it himself.
Even if you do find a sucker to back you, the valuation will be so minimal, you would likely never make any money.
Stop dreaming and do some work, show people you are commited to your idea and at least have a plan and something you can demo. Learn basic coding. If you can read and write, you can make a simple web site. It not difficult. Read some books or search Quora for details on what to do.
Simply having an idea is not enough. How many people said TV screens in the back of airplane seats was their idea?
End rant …
Here is an actual example of how you do it…