Power Of The Prototype: Your Best Tool When Meeting With Investors

Ben Lee

Ben Lee

CEO and Co-founder of Neon Roots

Ben Lee is the co-founder and CEO of Neon Roots, a digital development agency with a mission to destroy the development model and rebuild it from the ground up. After a brief correspondence with Fidel Castro at age nine, Ben decided to start doing things his own way, going from busboy to club manager at a world-class nightclub before he turned 18. Since then, Ben has founded or taken a leading role in 5 businesses in everything from software development to food and entertainment.

A few weeks ago at our Rootstrap blog, we discussed the best ways to get that very first bit of cash before building your mobile app. If you haven’t yet, go check out “Money Before Machine: Pre-Prototype Funding In App Development.” If you’ve worked hard and done your homework, you just might have that seed money in place. It’s enough to get you on the race track but still not enough to fill your tank.

To really take off, you need real money… and that takes real investors. Now the question you’re asking yourself is: When should I start meeting with investors? Go to them too early and you’ll crash and burn. We see it happen all the time. It’s a cliché, but it’s true – you only get one chance to make a first impression. Disappoint a potential investor and you’re not likely to get the opportunity to pitch them your app again.

You’re Good In The Room – A Prototype Is Better

You may be the type of person that prides yourself on your salesmanship. You may be able to talk a room in circles, but a savvy investor, especially one familiar with tech, isn’t going to just take your word for it. What you need is something tangible. Something that isn’t just a brilliant idea and solid business plan (you’ll WILL need both of those as well, though) but also something they can see in action. That’s why the most powerful tool you can take to an investor meeting is a clickable prototype or your MVP (minimum viable product).

Your MVP is your product as its leanest, stripped down to the bare essentials while retaining its functionality and unique purpose. For additional reading head back to the Rootstrap blog and check out “Your Mobile App MVP: The Release Of Release.”

Now you have an actual product to show investors. Your prototype can speak for itself and you can use it to collect the feedback and data that proves it has a place in the market and a legitimate chance at success. That right there is your real business plan; that’s what investors want to hear.

If you’re asking yourself: When should I start meeting with investors? The answer is fairly simple. It’s when you have something to show for yourself. And a working prototype is the ultimate way to show off.