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Is it reasonable to seek out an incubator to fund a MVP?

I need to build an MVP for which I have already done a lot of prep work. I have done market research, competitive analysis, developed an initial wireframe, built a deck and business model. (I realize that all of these doc's are living and breathing and subject to modifications.) It's my understanding that accelerators are generally not appropriate without a MVP. Nor do I feel the need to be "coached" about customer acquisition, market conditions, etc. I've already built and sold a company. I am certainly open to guidance. But I already have a lot of this researched and documented.

My immediate need is to fund my MVP. I know that there are a plethora of ways that one can do this. But I've been exploring the idea of finding an incubator. However, I have found very few incubators that are focused on building a MVP as opposed to developing the idea and business model (which I have already done).

I wonder, then, if I am barking up the wrong tree thinking that incubators would be able to fund my MVP. If not, then I'd appreciate any guidance about finding such incubators.

Thanks.

35 Replies

David Pariseau
1
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David Pariseau Entrepreneur
CTO and CoFounder at Particles Plus
If you're just looking for the funds, why not simply find a technical co-founder who's willing to take gamble and build your MVP in return for equity? Guess it depends on how much work is involved in your MVP but it might be quite viable to develop such without a lot of infrastructure... especially if you have the resources to carry at least yourself during this process.
Natasha Homer-Earley
0
0
Natasha Homer-Earley Entrepreneur
Founder Gujiwo.com
Yes a incubator is one way to fund a MVP but you will have to decide if your OK with parting with typically ( in europe) 7% for ?30K. It's not the most cost effective credit option but if you find a incubator that gives you other types of value ( by doing that deal) then it becomes a more reasonable trade off. For example some incubators are headed up by people with exceptional VC networks - which is good for your chances of Followup funding. Some incubators have a very great profile of mentors & any of them with synergy to your business, could be helpful. Other value adds might be a incubator with the sort of corporate partners you wouldn't mind having a strategic relationship with. But remember incubators have quite a formalized program - they normally like you to physically be sat in their space. So are you OK to move location for the right incubator ? Alternatively you might want to check our the new 'virtual' incubators that have popped up - they might be more flexi on a MVP focus.
Steven Corn
0
0
Steven Corn Entrepreneur
CEO at Metis Advantage
I'm not okay with moving. I've found a couple of virtual accelerators. But they expect a product to be already built. I'll look for more virtual incubators. If you have any suggestions for sites, that would be great. Thanks.

Steven Corn
0
0
Steven Corn Entrepreneur
CEO at Metis Advantage
David: I'm open to this idea. But I haven't found a technical partner yet.
David Pariseau
2
0
David Pariseau Entrepreneur
CTO and CoFounder at Particles Plus
Seems to me that regardless of what path you take for funding that you'll need a technical co-founder to execute this. Finding that person seems like the logical next step and the details of that arrangement may well dictate funding options (not to mention that anyone funding the effort is likely going to want to have a technical person and plan associated with the venture). I'm not sure what the best way is to find a technical co-founder (I'm usually looking at it from the other side, and folks find me by word-of-mouth), so perhaps networking with folks and getting referrals on potential candidates is the way to go? Anyone have any better ideas on finding a technical co-founder, it seems like this comes up a lot, what are other folks doing to find such?
Steven Corn
0
1
Steven Corn Entrepreneur
CEO at Metis Advantage
I actually have a development company that I really like who build this for me. But I need funds. I'm developing the wireframe with the assistance of a product developer colleague on my own dime. I'd actually prefer to get funds to hire this developer company because I feel it will get built faster.
Steve Simitzis
3
1
Steve Simitzis Advisor
Founder and CEO at Treat
A true MVP costs you close to $0. Instead of paying money to develop a product, see how far you can get with free/low-cost tools like Unbounce, and go out there and sell it. You've done a lot of research, but you still need to validate your model and see what live customers will pay for. You can do that without building a product. Once you've validated your model, many accelerators and startup studios (like Science) will take you in even without a product built.
Steven Corn
0
0
Steven Corn Entrepreneur
CEO at Metis Advantage
Steve,

I could certainly build a prototype using sites like Balsamiq and Invision. But this would not be sufficient to sign up beta customers. I would need a functioning product. For that it seems that I need to have funds to build such a product.

In other words, how does one validate a model without a product built?


Steve Owens
0
0
Steve Owens Entrepreneur • Advisor
Finish Line - A Better Way for Small Companies to Develop Products
It is possible to get funding without a MVP.

Sometime Product Development Companies (PDCs) will fund MVPs. We have done this a few times - esp when we have reference designs that are close to what is needed, so we can do it for almost nothing.

Steve Simitzis
2
0
Steve Simitzis Advisor
Founder and CEO at Treat
@ Steven Corn - I'm suggesting tools like Wordpress or Wufoo or Unbounce. There's no reason to write code to validate your idea and get funding. Here are a few examples:

https://pando.com/2014/01/16/3-startups-that-launched-without-writing-code/

And here's a good refresher on what an MVP is. Remember: an MVP isn't the first version of your product. It's what you do *before* the first version of your product.

http://qr.ae/1uaBsP
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