Following are some commonly asked questions.
1. WHAT IS GEEKFUND.IO?
GeekFund.io is a platform used by Andy Higgins to fund full stack developers with a product idea wanting to start a technology business. The focus is on very early stage (can still be in idea phase) where there is one or two technical founder(s) ideally with a product already in mind that they have started building or want to build. Andy will provide the funding required to build a minimum viable product while also providing support and guidance along the way.
2. WHAT SKILLS DO I NEED IN ORDER TO APPLY?
First and foremost, you need to have a very strong technical background. You need to be a full stack developer capable of building (or at least figuring out the missing parts) an entire product from start to finish. This includes frontend and backend development, UI skills, system administration, testing and deployment. You must also be prepared to get involved in other aspects of the business when required such as sales, marketing, accounting and HR (yes, you have to be prepared to talk to other people even if you do not enjoy doing so).
3. WHAT ARE YOUR PREFERED TECHNOLOGY STACKS?
Use whatever tools are best for the job at hand. This can be influenced by what you have experience with as speed is important and the steeper the learning curve, the longer it is going to take. Proving product/market fit with any tools of the trade is far more important than what you use to get that proof. Having said that, if you have experience with some of the following tools/services/technologies/methodologies/jargon, your thinking is more likely to be aligned with the GeekFund way of thinking:
- AWS Lambda
- Machine learning
- JSON (please no xml)
- Rest APIs (please no SOAP)
- Aurora or Postgres
- Mobile first
- No native apps (HTML 5 only to start)
- Test driven design
- Continuous integration
- Open source
- Blockchain (had to say it)
4. WHAT TYPE OF PRODUCTS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
Any technology product that you build with the intention of growing it into a fully fledged, commercially viable business with multiple shareholders. The intention cannot be to build a lifestyle business. You must be prepared to change and adapt (“pivot” being the industry jargon widely used) based on what is learnt during the validation process.
You may have heard local VCs saying what they are looking for in an investment opportunity is a:
- Large addressable market
- Global audience
- Disruptive technology
- Solid team etc.
This is not necessarily the case here. With GeekFund, at the beginning the product itself is less important than the individual(s). It may be that we do many iterations before we end up with our minimum viable product.
To be more specific, amongst others, GeekFund believes solving a problem by building a SaaS type business for enterprises presents great opportunities currently in the market. Of course, this is always best if you already have one or more willing customer(s) ready to pay for your proposed service.
5. HOW MUCH FUNDING WILL YOU PROVIDE?
As much as is needed but at this stage frugality is the name of the game. You do the math. The main cost is going to be the founder’s salary(s). Work on between 50% and 100% of your market related salary. Other expected costs also need to be covered such as any running expenses, hosting, some initial marketing and other services required from third parties.
It would be expected to see some progress towards proving product/market fit within the first 6 months and certainly within the first year you would need to have some paying customers with a view as to how the business is going to scale moving forward (unless some other major pivot has been agreed upon).
6. WHAT WILL THE LEGAL STUCTURE LOOK LIKE?
At the start there will be no formal shareholders agreement or legal structure. We will effectively operate as a partnership, which does not require any formal registration with an authority. We will agree on basic terms including the initial investment amount, your salary, expected expenses etc. and for the record this will be documented in a one page partnership agreement. Should we take the business to the next level, we will proceed with creating a more formal legal structure at that point.
The one page partnership agreement will state that the founder (you) is to receive 51% of the shares and the investor (GeekFund) is to receive 49% of the shares prior to any additional funding round over and above the initial investment. The initial investment will be structured as a proper investment and not as a loan that needs to be repaid at a later date.
7. WHAT IF THINGS DON’T WORK OUT?
You get to walk away. Get your old job back or do whatever you want. No hard feelings. Investing is high risk and the earlier the stage, the higher the risk.
8. SHOULD I APPLY?
Starting a business is not for every one. It can be highly stressful, lonely and very demanding. Some people are just better suited (and happier) to work in a more structured environment knowing they are likely to have the security of staying in the same job for years to come. There are many such amazing people in the world (entrepreneurs need people like this) but if you are one of these, please do not apply.
While in an ideal world you need to figure out a healthy work / life balance, the reality of startups is there will be times when you will feel over worked and overwhelmed. There will be times when you will feel the entire world is caving in on you and you will question the choices you have made. However such an experience can also be very exciting and rewarding. At least with GeekFund you will not have to risk the house in order to give it a try.
If you have any other questions that are not covered here, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org