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Ask HN: VC funds competing company, would they maintain confidentiality?
2 points by ashirusnw 494 days ago | comments
I'm due to meet a VC for a consultation but they fund a similar business, and I'm worried they will pass on my idea to the competitor.

The product we are creating is in the consumer apps market.

My "competitor" does not actually directly compete with my idea, however they do provide a solution to a very similar market and it's possible that they would want to produce my product and include it as part of theirs.

Put it this way, one of my exit strategies is to be bought by them and my business plan describes the advantages of my product over theirs.

I've invested about $50K into this so far and we're ready to launch in a few months and have the resources to take it to launch, but not close enough that we can show a live working demo at the consultation. If they tell the competitor where we're up to, the competitor would likely have the resources to squash us. It's not an idea where we can do a quicker MVC.

I'm London-based and there are many VCs but not that many with a history of tech startup successes, so I do want this particular VC firm's advice, if I can trust that they won't suggest my idea to my competitor, especially once I've pitched and sold it as a winner.

The consulatation is being offered as a marketing exercise by a startup incubator and it's just to get feedback. If investment results so much the better but at the moment we're not desperate though we do want VC involvement before or shortly after launch.

The fact that they know and like this particular market might be a big advantage over other VCs I could talk to who simply don't normally invest in tech startups and certainly not ones that produce consumer apps for my customer base.

What would you do?



staunch 494 days ago | link

1. Don't tell them anything you wouldn't tell a customer.

2. Launch fast.

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brudgers 494 days ago | link

Why would you partner with someone you don't trust? And if you take VC money, you are partnering.

Know instead of guess. My gut says communicate your concerns about a potential conflict before any meeting.

An ethical person will probably appreciate your willingness to avoid placing them in a compromising position. If there is an issue, the VC may pass you to someone without a potential conflict.

Good Luck.

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