Fundraising · Machine learning

My startup is the application of a technology we have. Is it OK to follow two applications within the same startup?

Joseph Millogo Founder @AKCConnect | Currently raising funds | Looking for CoFounder

April 21st, 2020

Hi everyone,

I often heard that investors want to see you focused on one project/product/... only. Both ideas are in the domain of health-care and safety but they are on different platforms. I need platform 1 to collect the data needed for platform 2. Which platform do i present when pitching?


Elihu El Friendly -

Last updated on April 22nd, 2020

My response is simple - Stay focused on achieving the Vision and not the solution(s). Here is an example of what I mean:

Imagine your Vision requiring only 1 car to transport 4 passengers. Then, what if achieving your Vision required 3 cars to accomodate 12 passengers. Each car represents your application. Stay focused on the Vision by always justifying what is required to achieve that Vision...Even if 2, 3, 4, or whatever number of applications was required.

Effective Vision formats:

“We believe the future of _____ will be _____.”

“We want to ensure that all _____ are able to _____."

“We see a world where _____.”

Most investors care about one thing - Return On Investment (ROI):

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Andy Freeman Product Management and ... - Looking for new opportunities

April 21st, 2020

This isn't a "what do I pitch" problem. This is a "what do I do" problem.

You've just told us that platform 2 isn't viable without platform 1 so you stop working on platform 2.

Investors think that if you have the time/resources to do two things, you have the time/resources to do one of them twice as fast, and twice as fast is better.

There's an "activation energy" associated with each project. That energy doesn't actually accomplish anything. You can't afford to pay it twice.

Investors have seen this before. They know that if you say that you're working on two things, you're finishing none.

You're not the exception to that rule. (Yes, Elon Musk and Tom Dorsey have pulled it off, but they had huge successes before doing one thing. If you were them, you wouldn't be asking questions on cofounderslab.)

Jim Myers Exp Entrepreneur/Consultant looking for next team

April 21st, 2020

They key IMHO is are you focused on solving a problem. Many investors want the focus to be on solving a problem that someone cares about and not have your focus split onto multiple problems.

They want to know:

  • What are you building?
  • Does it work? (Alternatively is there a high probability that you can make it work)?
  • Does anyone care enough to pay for it?
  • Is anyone else already doing it?
  • Is the team you have assembled the right one to bet on in the problem space?
  • Can it be protected?

On to the business:

Does the data collection or the analysis platform have any value without the other? If one has stand-alone value i.e. someone would pay to have it, use it or access it than you could consider pitching that "platform" to investors. If neither has stand-alone value than you need to reframe them as not 2 platforms but as one holistic solution to the problem you have identified.

Does your required dataset exist anywhere else in the world? Can you access it? Can you partner with whoever already has the data? (Hard to do with HIPPA and PII restrictions in the health-care space)

The last thought is that don't get caught up on the fact that you are employing multiple technologies for the different functions of your business. Focus on the value, if the value is in the algorithm, spend the minimal time and money on developing and pitching the front-end data collection system (and by minimum I mean the minimum you can spend and still get good data that is clean and secure) Focus on the Algoritihim and why it, your team and solution are special.

It all depends on where you, the investor, and the market believe the value is.

Dane Madsen Organizational and Operational Strategy Consultant

April 21st, 2020

Investors often want to see a roadmap.

If solution 1 gathers data, and that data has value to the Company independently of solution 2 , it can be a standalone solution in the event solution 2 is not realized. In this case, stick to the sequential development and do not overreach early on.

However, if you have built solution 1 effectively, and solution 2 is a natural extension of the platform - a product roadmap/flywheel - then investors would likely be positive overall.

What they would find confusion is simultaneously building solution (2) dependent on solution (1) without knowing if solution (1) works and has a market.