One of the biggest challenges entrepreneur's face, is the risk of getting their ideas stolen.
This has happened to me many times, including in iMunchie, and I would like to share my perspective with you...maybe I can help you avoid the pain.
The question is,
How do you avoid Feature Theft when pitching your ideas to investors?
The answer, or should I say excuse, used by the biggest idea and business plan thieves in Silicon Valley is:
"ideas are a dime a dozen...it's all about execution"
Well...here is my problem with that excuse and my version of the answer to Feature Theft from Menlo Park to Wall Street, to Tel-Aviv, to New Delhi, to Beijing, to Moscow.
The first thing you must understand is;
Thieves are thieves, they always existed and they always will be...
They are part of the balance in this world, and there is absolutely nothing you can do to change this.
The choice between good and bad is individual and out of your control.
The second you expose your ideas, business plans, or features, whether it be verbally, digitally, online, in a presentation, or on a napkin, be mentally, physically, and financially prepared to deal with a situation where the idea leaked, and fell into the hands of someone who is capable of copying your idea, executing it, and even doing it better then what you envisioned.
This is especially true, if you are pitching to an investor who not only has money to execute your idea, but also has the direct and in-direct ties to your competition, connections to the biggest most successful companies, and resources to build a team or use one of their existing teams to further develop your most sacred business plan. Investors will always prefer to funnel an idea through their existing channels and very well connected networks rather then to take a risk and invest in a "stranger".
When you research investors and venture capital firms, you will quickly discover that their portfolios and internal connections are so tightly linked, that you can be sure that business theft and collusion is nothing but natural.
I have met, face to face, with some of the most "respected" investors in the technology industry. Without naming names, I will tell you, that their "respect", did not come because they where ethical in business.
Quite the contrary, they have built their names because of their very unique ability to rapidly develop and execute any idea they see fit, whether it was their idea, or not.
Is this worth the respect the world gives them?
It is also written, that one who steals from a thief is pardoned.
Which brings me to another point you must be aware of...
Know that their is no shortage of second hand thieves who steal from the thieves who steal from you.
So you must prepare yourself for this as well...
Once your idea or feature gets stolen and developed, it will be stolen again, by the next competitor, resulting in your worst nightmare...
...before you know it, you have competition left and right, all racing to develop your visions.
Now, ask yourself an even more fundamental question...
"Do I become unethical to compete in business?"
I have wrote about the relationship between business and war...are you fit for war? and to what degree?
So...the next time someone comes to you and says...
"I have a great idea for a business, how do I pitch it without getting it stolen?"
The best advice you can give them, is to make sure that the idea is so heavily dependent on the entrepreneur, that the only way to build the business, is by including the entrepreneur himself.
Stay strong, remain ethical and true, and be careful,