Q: I have an idea for a product that doesn’t exist yet based upon my internet research. It has been on my mind for some time and I keep shrugging it off but feel that God may be putting it on my mind for a reason. I would like to know of a Christian company that will work with me to create this product and possible help market it. I am very skeptical about being taken advantage of by the wrong people/company. Can you recommend someone that will help me with this?
A: It is possible to get the type of sponsorship you sketch out, but difficult. It all depends upon the product, the potential for it, and the potential sponsor/company. Either way, someone will risk time, capital, and other resources in an attempt to take an idea to market and whomever takes the idea, designs it, prototypes it, patents it, produces it, markets it, etc. will get most of the value, leaving much less value for the person with the original idea.
As an inventor, the further along the idea is in that go-to-market process (idea > design > prototype > patent > production > marketing > customers > revenue), the more value you (the inventor or idea generator) will capture. Alternatively, the less value you add to an idea, the less overall value you will capture.
In my experience, ideas are cheap, but execution is everything. I think most potential sponsors you approach would have a similar response. I’d also suggest that most ideal sponsors (those with similar products serving the same target industry or customer set) will often have already thought of the idea themselves and/or be hesitant to sign any kind of confidentiality agreement fearing that they will create liability or diminish their efforts with similar ideas. So, all-in-all, it can be a bit tricky to find an ideal sponsor/partner, since so much is situational between you and the sponsor. Therefore, without knowing you or your idea, it would be difficult to recommend a sponsor. The recommended resources below will hopefully be of some assistance to you.
- How to Determine When to License Your Idea to Another Company
- How to Make the Most of an Idea Without Any Money
- Eight Ways to Prepare for a License and Royalty Agreement Negotiation
- How to Negotiate a License and Royalty Agreement
- How to Take an Invention to Market
- Non-Disclosure Agreement Template (a.k.a. NDA or Confidentiality Agreement)
- License and Royalty Agreement Template
- License and Royalty Agreement Kit (includes several agreements, a negotiating template, an NDA template, etc.)
Ask an Expert:
- See Venture Academy (and in particular the Legal section and the Harvard Business School case study and video featuring Palm Computing and a licensing agreement put together with a software entrepreneur)