Getting your product development idea (invention) funded is difficult, but not impossible. Because banks usually will not lend money on speculation, you must be creative in the way you get your product to market.
I teach students in my MBA classes to do their research and to not invent products they want, rather invent products a buyer for a company already in the business would need. That certainly is the easiest way to get funding.
For instance, sometimes a person works in a company using what they feel is an obsolete product. They then generate a new product idea. The company they work for, or the company that produced the original obsolete product, might help with financing of the new product if they can be shown its value.
So before you can approach any funders, you need to know what your product will look like, estimate how much it will cost to produce, and know about how much profit it will generate for the company. You don’t need previous experience with these important questions. You can find help from many sources.
You should first develop a complete “how-to” plan on paper, then build your product in model form, using any material that will give a potential buyer an idea of what the finished product will look like and how it will function. This is important.
If you don’t work for a particular company that will fund your product, there still are many sources for funding. Some large companies have foundations that make grants. There are special interest grant-making organizations, venture capitalists, professional associations, the U.S. government, and others. Local libraries have a number of directories you can check.
Another good idea is to look for companies that are actively seeking new products. A good place to do that is through www.inventorsdigest.com on the Internet. They also provide inventors a venue for offering their products for sale or license.
The www.inventionconvention.com site offers a “cyber show,” an “on-line networking service linking technology with industry – investors, entrepreneurs, and licensees,” according to their cyber show page.
Products also can be developed in stages. After you have your initial thoughts down on paper and perhaps a working model, you will need to apply for a patent. As I’ve said before, seek out a specialist in this area.
When you are “patent pending” you can begin trying to sell or license your product. This start-up time period can allow you to find out if there is truly a market for your product.
If after a year, you do not have any buyers, you should realistically decide if you want to pursue the patent and incur further costs. By the time you have the essential ingredients: your financials, a model, patent applied for, and an idea of the marketplace, you have probably used up your own resources including stretching your credit cards. Since relatives fund most inventions, at least at the outset, also ask your relatives for help.
Remember, look for sources of funding with the same diligence you put into developing your invention!
Article – Copyright 2000 Stanley I. Mason. Syndicated by ParadigmTSA