How to start a company with no money down
I had started this blog as sort of a joke/response to all the “we don’t need no stinkin VC” postings floating around.
But an interesting thing happened along the way which should actually make a whole lot of people stand up and take serious notice.
Got an Idea? Passionate and Cocky? No money? No Problem. Step right up.
First, we need a computer. Nothing to it. I found 4 offerings ranging from 3 months, no payment/no interest, all the way up to 12 months of no payments, no interest.
Next we need an Internet connection. Since the previous “free” computer was a laptop, a little open wireless in the bldg or hooking up in the office, covers that item. A free connection, no problemo.
Now we need a domain name. Free? Absolutely. Head on over to http://www.registerfly.com/ and sign up for a .be domain. It’s Belgium, beats me, but the Registerfly guys are doing them, free, for the first year. And before all you Robert Scobble haters/lovers jump on this, fuhgettaboutit, I already reserved scobblewanna.be. It’s a holiday gift for mini-microsoft. But, I digress.
How about some tools. Go with some great free tools from Microsoft or grab any of the zillion open source tools in AJAX, Ruby, C++, Cobol, or whatever floats your development boat.
And of course, a free blog to talk about the product, have sign ups for the RSS feeds, get beta announcements, etc.
To this point we’ve spent no dollars. That’s zero euros, zilich pounds, nothing.
Let’s say you are rusty in the coding department. Two words: Sweat Equity and one source: Interns/Co-Op Students.
I did quick calls with some contacts at York University, The University of Toronto, The University of Waterloo, and The University of Washington. All of them had programs and were eager to offer up bodies in exchange for real world opportunities. In particular, the University of Waterloo has an entire program dedicated to taking ideas and running them through the whole process of plans, code, prototypes, etc. It’s pretty good and, of course, is free.
Staff, infrastructure, tools, equipment and a domain name are all a pretty good start for zero capital.
Just add some passion and/or cocky desire to change the world -n- off you go.
Don’t nit pick, there are flaws/holes, etc, in all of this because there is the larger point of what it takes to get started and it is certainly not all that much.
Personally, I think the VC community might want to brush up on the customer relations stuff. Especially the parts about being nice, returning phone calls, email, etc.
On the other hand, maybe in addition to cash, we can throw in some steak knives at every closing.