At AlleyCorp, we are constantly working on ideas for new startups. Like so many things, the best way to make progress is through feedback. However as an investor on the receiving end of these requests for feedback, I find that founders often do not share their ideas at the appropriate resolution to gather the desired level of feedback.
In general, there is a trade off between how much detail you provide and how high level the feedback you receive is. For example, if you are building a website and ask for feedback when it is nearly complete (high resolution) a person might comment on the color or font choice (low level feedback). However, if you share wireframes (low resolution) a person is more likely to comment on the overall site architecture (high level feedback).
Sharing your startup idea works the same way. If you provide too much content (attach long PDF presentations) you risk receiving low level feedback (you could strengthen your pitch by reordering these slides). Having shared many startup ideas, I have found the email template below to be an effective way to gather feedback on the quality of your idea (not just the implementation details of it).
I focus on email because people are busy and they already live in their inbox. I avoid attachments because it lowers the friction of providing feedback even more. If you end up using this template, feel free to let me know how it goes and if you find ways to improve it. I'm most active on Twitter – just shoot me a direct message. You can also email me at email@example.com.
For more on how I think about generating ideas for startups, check out this series of posts.
We have noticed [fundamental trends]:
- Trend 1
- Trend 2
When [core tasks]:
- Task 1
- Task 2
We believe that [target customer]:
- Customer 1
- Customer 2
Want [functional needs]:
- Need 1
- Need 2
Are dissatisfied by [existing solutions]:
- Current solution 1
- Current solution 2
Because of [current shortcomings]:
- Shortcoming 1
- Shortcoming 2
So we are building:
- Solution 1
- Solution 2
In a market that:
We are still looking to answer:
- Question 1
- Question 2