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- Subject: [Discuss] Startup?
- From: robert at laferla.net (Robert La Ferla)
- Date: Tue, 3 Mar 2015 17:29:33 -0500
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Ditto to all of Tom?s points. I?d like to add that patents are bonuses but not mandatory. It?s just one form of ?barrier to entry? against your competitors. You have to consider the fact that it will take about five years to get a patent approved and that?s if it gets approved. Considering it takes five years, will your technology still be relevant at that point? If you decide that a patent is needed, then you need to hire a good patent attorney to file a provisional patent. That provisional isn?t as informal as one is lead to believe as it affects the non-provisional patent. If I were you, I?d validate the idea with some select mentors, organize a team to build a prototype, then build some traction then go for a seed round. Good luck! Robert On Mar 1, 2015, at 3:19 PM, Tom Metro <tmetro+blu at gmail.com> wrote: > Edward Ned Harvey (blu) wrote: >> My advice would be first of all, be careful what you say to anybody... > > I've been involved with or on the distant periphery of the startup > community for several decades, and one of the fastest ways of spotting a > novice is the degree to which they are protective of their idea. Some > people even expect VCs to sign an NDA. > > The first thing is to get over the concept that your idea is novel. > Chances are excellent that others have already considered and rejected > the same idea, or simply didn't have the resources or motivation to > pursue it. > > After a while even you won't see much value in your original idea. > Chances are very good that if you pursue it, you'll end up changing it > several times before it becomes successful. > > Get over the idea that people are out to steal it. The hard part is > *not* the idea. It's executing the task of bringing it to market. Being > willing to invest years of your time; being able to convince multiple > investors and initial hires that it is worth pursing. Almost no one you > will encounter can be bothered to do that. > > The danger is not that someone will steal it. The vastly more likely > scenario is that you won't find anyone who believes enough in its > validity to put money onto it. > > > John Hall wrote: >> I struggle to understand the balance between openness and guarding >> intellectual property. If you are too concerned about NDA and >> non-disclosure then you are going to limit your exposure. > > Exactly. > > > Edward Ned Harvey (blu) wrote: >> The biggest surprise that hit me out of *everything* was the patent >> process. At some point, you're going to need to patent stuff... > > In my opinion a waste of time. Patents work out well for small startups > about as well as people winning the lottery. Sure there are success > stories, but for every one there are thousands (or hundreds of > thousands) or organizations that invest the time and legal fees in > patent filings that either end up being for products that fail, have no > licensing market, or never benefit from the legal protection. > > We're in a fast moving industry. Your cool idea today will be irrelevant > in 5 years. Having a 20-year patent is pointless. > > > John Hall wrote: >> ...if what you are doing is new and potentially risky there may be a >> rich set of patents surrounding an initial idea. If the initial concept >> itself could lead to a patent garden rather than a single patent on "the >> big concept". > > Right. > > If your product is successful, and you have money to burn on lawyers, > you can always start building an IP "moat" around your product. Patent > things like swipe-to-scroll and one-click ordering. :-) Or whatever > novel enhancements you come up with for the 2nd generation product, > while your competitors are still trying to make knock-offs of your first > generation product. > > > John Hall wrote: >> By keeping something under wraps aren't you limiting the "prior art" >> protection that would prevent someone else from patenting the idea? > > Yes, exactly. > > The bigger concern is patent trolls. One way to combat them is to file > your patents first. But the other way is to establish prior art in the > public record. Publish the core principles of your idea. > > > Edward Ned Harvey (blu) wrote: >> ...investors... They are thick with each other... Ultimately, you'll >> *need* one or more of them to personally advocate you within the >> group. Your chances are *much* better if you can get personal >> introductions rather than cold approaching them. > > True. I've seen the approach of using a well connected business coach to > get introductions to investors work well in the past. > > But the investment environment has changed in recent years. An angle > investor could also get you that foot in the door, and they might be a > "softer target" than a VC. And now we have incubator and crowdfunding as > ways to get seed cash and gain visibility to 2nd round investors. > > >> Attend groups like Venture Cafe, and Ycombinator, and MassChallenge, >> Boston New Tech... And a bunch of others... Go attend those groups >> before you're ready, just so you can see what other people say and >> see what they present, and see what peoples' reactions are to them. >> You'll be improving your own personal skills just by interacting with >> the community. > > Agreed. > > Also think a long time about whether your idea really fits the model of > a fast-growth VC investment. Novices tend to see that as the only > approach to getting a business funded, but VC funding actually > represents a very tiny minority of startups. Very few actually fit the > high-growth model. Far more business are bootstrapped or funded through > other means. > > > John Hall wrote: >> There are accelerators like mass challenge <http://masschallenge.org/> >> incubators and sandboxes. > > Yes, and local ones specifically aimed at hardware startups, like: > http://www.bolt.io/ > > The local Artisan's Asylum makerspace (http://artisansasylum.com/) also > has a number of hardware startups affiliated with it. Its mailing lists > could prove to be a useful resource. > > > Edward Ned Harvey (blu) wrote: >> Do everything you can to generate buzz. Present at meetups and conventions, etc > > Yes. Your first task is idea validation. Determine if the idea shows > potential and that there is a market, otherwise you are wasting your time. > > Post abut the idea to the BLU Hardware Hacking group. Give a talk to > BLU. Give a talk for the Boston Hardware Startup Meetup. > > 1. http://blu.wikispaces.com/Hardware+Hacking > 2. http://www.meetup.com/Boston-Hardware-Startup-Meetup/ > > These presentations will get you feedback on the idea and attract > interested parties (technical co-founders), and potential investors. The > process will also put you into a way stronger position when you area > ready to start presenting to investors. > > Good luck! > > -Tom > > -- > Tom Metro > The Perl Shop, Newton, MA, USA > "Predictable On-demand Perl Consulting." > http://www.theperlshop.com/ > _______________________________________________ > Discuss mailing list > Discuss at blu.org > http://lists.blu.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss