If building a new company out of nothing, you have a few different options.
Phase 1, Entry point:
(1) Do it on the side of your normal job.
Pros: Stable income source
Cons: Limited time. Unlikely to convince investors that you are super serious since you haven’t “left everything behind.” You also need to have a light job where you have substantial free time. And ideally no significant other.
(2) Find co-founder(s) and go for it!
Pros: Team ideally produces synergistic effort, both in terms of motivation and talent (i.e. back-end + front-end guy and/or sales/fund-raising + tech guy)
Cons: Large downside risk in bad co-founder, difficult to find co-founder if ideal candidate not already present in network, not always easy to match up talents.
(3) Quit yo’ job and just build the mofo!
Pros: You can bootstrap your way to traction.
Cons: More difficult to stay motivated and focused if working by yourself for long hours. Only suitable for technical founders who already know the technology set.
(4) Get me some money, then I’ll get to work.
Pros: You can potentially hire a larger initial team and iterate faster.
Cons: You have to fund-raise first, which means giving up more equity at the outset since you have neither product nor users. Team that congeals over regular paycheck is likely not to produce awesomeness.
(5) It’s an awesome idea, I’ll get people to work for free!
Pros: Enthusiasm is awesome, if you can get people to work for free it means you have a great idea.
Cons: It’s not sustainable in the long run, unless you and your team live inside a commune. You also definitely can’t hire anyone with a family, which generally means you will be limited to 20 somethings (i.e. people without a lot of experience).
Phase 2, Post-prototype:
Okay, so you have a prototype, now what?
(1) Network like hell in order to get some funds
Pros: Unless you super rich to start with, you probably need some funds by now.
Cons: Fund-raising is super time-intensive. Also, if you are a technical person, you probably aren’t super good at networking. Also, probably you are not really going to like professional investors and are going to get annoyed dealing with them.
(2) Hire someone else to fund-raise for you
Pros: Less time investment.
Cons: Likely to get really dumb investors or nothing at all.
(3) Buckle down and get some motherf***ing traction
Pros: You know investors will magically arrive at your door once you’ve got traction. Also, you might even be ramen profitable by then so you can wait for them.
Cons: You might be close to out of money by now, just how long can you stretch t
hose last few pennies? Also, you still need to fundraise.
(4) Raise a wee bit of money
Pros: Less time intensive, maybe you can get serious traction by the time if you stretch things just a bit further.
Cons: You still have to fundraise, so maybe you might as well get more than a few dollars. Keep in mind you have to get lawyers involved and they take their cut.
(5) Whore yourself
Pros: If you are really good at something, probably you can whore yourself out for a bit in order to get some funds to pump back into the business.
Cons: Not sustainable. Sooner or later you actually need to fund-raise. But then again, you might just get traction this way…
how we’ve tracked progress in relevant codebases, rough guideline has been aiming for 10% increase across all technology each week
Personal experience: Technical founder with “financing” focused co-founder, but co-founder drops out because of family medical issues. Builds prototype w/ personal effort (teaching himself relevant technologies). Mixed team emphasizing experts in relevant technologies (i.e. Clojure, iOS). 2.5 months to get to prototype (+ $25K). Extra 6 weeks building requested features for initial customers (+ $15K). + 6 more weeks from training customers to launch (+ $10K). Emergency funding infusion from friends/family. Working on more funding, but examining all possible strategies.Company in question: www.evr.gr