(Note: I rarely do guest posts on this blog, but I ran into this answer on Quora and I am happy to post it here, as a long quote, with credit to its author. – Tim)
Noam Kaiser is a professional investment manager, alias venture capitalist, or VC. The question at Quora.com was:
Do you have any startup ideas worth building?
Here is his answer.
Yes I do.
But my startup idea/s are worthless. As are yours, and anyone else’s. Until you get off the couch and actually DO something about them.
This is why I always tell young entrepreneurs to get rid of the word “founder” on their business cards. “A founder” is not an occupation. You’re not supposed to get a salary for being a founder. You get a salary for work.
As an investor, what impresses me the most about a handful of the startups I meet (out of ~500 I’m exposed to each year) are the teams that arrive to meet me having accomplished something already.
It can be a prototype, some of the code, ANYTHING that gets this message across:“Look, we know you meet a lot of teams with a lot of ideas, but we actually stand behind our plan, so much so that we took a risk. We risked our careers, our money, maybe even our marriage, But we took the leap and made this happen.Would you now take a risk on us?”
There’s a reason we invest in ~1% of the deal flow we meet.
You see, even if you told me you set up the world’s leading ideas for startups platform, with hundred of new ideas added daily, I wouldn’t log in once. Nor would I share my idea on it.
Not because it is priceless:Because it is worthless.
Even seed and pre seed investments – and I’ve done a few of those – aren’t investment in ideas.They are investments in teams with plans.
(Image: Flickr CC by snail race)