To complete our application but also in order to generally have an as well-rounded a submission as possible for any purpose (in other words the beginnings of a business plan) you need to address a few other issues too.
It’s important to demonstrate how you plan to implement what you’re suggesting and of course that you have the capability to deliver. Although the latter is partly covered in the members’ profile section, it’s a great opportunity to show off your experience when talking about what technology you plan to use.
Overall, we are interested to get a better idea about your grasp of the technology and how you plan to use it. It’s not necessary to go into full detail about the implementation – just make sure to mention your backend and database choices, any frameworks you plan to use, collaboration software you’re familiar with and so on. If there are any particular reasons to make certain choices (other than your experience in it) make sure to mention them too – we like to know we’re dealing with knowledgeable and opinionated founders.
Needless to say, as long as the technology makes sense we have no bias towards particular platforms or solutions nor will we require you to use something you’re against. At the same time, there is no need to select the most state-of-the-art architecture and the latest version out there. As long as you can get the task done, that’s what matters – you can even choose from ready-made solutions if that’s more efficient (nobody expects you to write your own blog engine). You can expect however to be exposed to new services and ways of doing things as part of our mentoring process.
As mentioned, it’s important to let us know how proficient you’re with the tools you plan to use. Man-months spent is a first measure but nothing speaks better than your previous works – and how exactly you participated in them. It’s also key to let us know who will be the chief technician who will bear the main responsibility of getting the job done and who will be there to support him or her (if any).
It’s crucial to have definite and ambitious yet achievable goals in mind for a predefined period of time when starting a project. That gives you something tangible to work towards and going through the process of outlining your targets forces you to make a reality check on your project.
Definite goals means something you can measure or quantify. Examples include number of users, non-paying customers, user conversion or retention, even revenue if you think you can make it that far within the incubation period. It can be (actually, it should at least be) having implemented an alpha or a beta version of your product, with specific features tested and launched. It can include having researched the market to understand associated costs and competition parameters, then digest this information to iterate on your priorities and strategy. It can include having secured a number of enterprise deals. Basically, as long as you have some structure and actual numbers to avoid vagueness you should be fine.
Of course, the suggested goals should be within reach given the time you allocate to them. It’s probably not believable if you claim global expansion within a few months time and you can’t probably get thousands of active users in a similar duration. Be realistic and try to connect your estimates with the actual tasks you plan to undertake, previous similar work you’ve done or at least similar projects carried through by others. It’s also wrong to set your goals too low – playing it safe will probably cause inadequate results – better to err on the side of excess. And as usual if the task of setting goals seems daunting it’s useful to categorise them into short, mid and long term goals.
To sum up
This post completes our short guide at submitting a successful proposal in a seed funding vehicle – based on the Openfund application form. Although there are a number of similar articles online on the issues covered we believe that by going through our suggestions you can significantly improve the quality of your submissions. We are looking forward to them!