Looking for partnership with a startup

  • Thread starter T C
  • Start date
  • #1
T C
301
8
I have researched on a new kind of machine that can generate power/electricity by using low grade heat. The necessary machinery and part that is needed for making the machine is already available on market. At this stage, I now want to go on a joint collaboration with a startup. I have approached a few organizations through net, but they need a company instead of an individual innovator like me. So, if anybody can help me anyhow, kindly tell me.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
29,536
14,966
that can generate power/electricity by using low grade heat.

That sounds a lot like a perpetual motion machine (which we do not discuss here). I suggest your first step is to find a better description of what you are proposing, because nobody will invest in one of those.
 
  • #3
berkeman
Mentor
64,124
15,327
I have researched on a new kind of machine that can generate power/electricity by using low grade heat. The necessary machinery and part that is needed for making the machine is already available on market. At this stage, I now want to go on a joint collaboration with a startup. I have approached a few organizations through net, but they need a company instead of an individual innovator like me. So, if anybody can help me anyhow, kindly tell me.
Your next step is to write a Business Plan, including the technical details of your device. The Business Plan is what startups use to get venture capital funding, and to organize their business. There are a number of sections to a startup Business Plan, including market analysis, the technical analysis, income projections, etc.

If you can write a good Business Plan, you will be in a much better position to approach others for partnerships or VC funding. If your technical analysis or market analysis fall short, you will hopefully see that the idea is not viable at this time. Good luck!

https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/plan-your-business/write-your-business-plan
 
  • Like
Likes diogenesNY, WWGD, DaveE and 1 other person
  • #4
russ_watters
Mentor
22,053
9,148
I have researched on a new kind of machine that can generate power/electricity by using low grade heat. The necessary machinery and part that is needed for making the machine is already available on market. At this stage, I now want to go on a joint collaboration with a startup. I have approached a few organizations through net, but they need a company instead of an individual innovator like me. So, if anybody can help me anyhow, kindly tell me.
Researched? That doesn't sound very far along. It isn't clear to me what sort of help you need, but PF is full of technical people, not businesspeople. I would hope that before trying to form a company, you would have a working prototype and a pending patent (depending on how complex and expensive the device is), and be past the point of needing serious technical help...and you'd ask for business help from business people.

From what I understand, starting a business is easy; it just takes a couple of hours worth of paperwork (depends on the location) and a small registration fee. But I'm not sure if that's what you really need -- you need to figure out what, exactly it is that you need right now, because your post doesn't convey a specific/coherent need.

If you haven't already, you should be researching how to turn an invention into a product and a business. There's tons of books and probably youtube videos about this (not to mention some entertaining episodes of Shark Tank). It's possible to go from an idea to a saleable product and company in a matter of months if you put the proper type of effort into it.

And for gosh sakes, before you start engaging with potential partners/investors, talk to a lawyer so you don't get ripped-off!
 
  • Like
  • Informative
Likes Klystron, jim mcnamara, marcusl and 1 other person
  • #5
hutchphd
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
2022 Award
5,336
4,499
It sounds like you think you have a good idea and are trying to market it in some way. I would suggest that your first stop should be a patent attorney. Yes it will cost some money, but if your idea has legs it is certainly money well spent. It would also behoove you to do a patent search to really know the field if you are seeking development backing. A local patent attorney also knows resources available to you and can hook you up.

There are companies whose business is to do contract development. You contract them to do some negotiated portion of development on fee for service basis. But you are going to need to have somebody supply money on the basis of the idea regardless of how you proceed. Salesmanship will be required.
 
  • Like
Likes mcastillo356 and russ_watters
  • #6
T C
301
8
Thank you everyone for their responses. Making a prototype and applying for a patent isn't a big deal for me. But, instead of starting a new company, I just want be a part of a startup or a company with my invention. Because business is not my cup of tea. I also got a funding source, but for that a company is needed.
 
  • #7
hutchphd
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
2022 Award
5,336
4,499
Making a prototype and applying for a patent isn't a big deal for me.
This is unclear. The patent process is useful on many levels as discussed. The attorneys are useful people to know.
 
  • #8
T C
301
8
Applying for a patent can be done. Problem is to find good partners. I will certainly apply for patent if good partnership can be found.
 
  • #9
hutchphd
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
2022 Award
5,336
4,499
From what you say it is unclear what is the purpose of these "partners". Unless they are folks you know, it would behoove you to patent your idea first. If the idea is not worth that effort then you have answered your own question
 
  • Like
Likes russ_watters
  • #10
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
20,984
5,035
Applying for a patent can be done. Problem is to find good partners. I will certainly apply for patent if good partnership can be found.
That's backwards. No one in their right mind would invest in something without knowing in what they are investing. You would have to have any prospective contact/partner sign a non-disclosure and IP-protection agreement.

There are a variety of ways to use low grade heat to produce electricity, e.g., thermoelectric or Kalina cycle, but one is constrained by the Carnot efficiency, so likely, the cost of materials will make the electricity too expensive.

Part of the patent process is a review of the background (state of the art) and other patents to ensure that one's idea is novel and doesn't infringe on existing patents. One can use a patent agent, who are usually less expensive than a patent attorney. But one will need to pay upfront.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
  • Informative
Likes Klystron, russ_watters, PeroK and 3 others
  • #11
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
29,536
14,966
You seem to be looking for a startup that exists and is just looking for a product. I doubt these exist (the closest would be startups that discover they don't have a very good product, e.g. WeWork. You want to avoid them).

I think you need to start with an abbreviated business plan:
  1. A description of your device that doesn't set off warning bells
  2. Find out who is using the device most like your invention today. Is your device better than what they are using today? How? How many people could you conceivably sell this to? (We call this "market research") If you have invented a better buggy-whip, it doesn't really matter because there is no market for buggy whips.
  3. Decide on the best path to commercialize this. It may not be a new company. It may be selling a license to an existing company. Or something else. This is the phase where you might want to obtain legal advice.
 
  • Like
Likes russ_watters, jrmichler and berkeman
  • #12
jrmichler
Mentor
1,966
2,506
new kind of machine that can generate power/electricity by using low grade heat.
An idea is not enough for something like this because there are many ways to generate power from heat. You need a prototype that is actually generating power. The prototype needs to be sufficiently functional to show that:
1) The idea works, and
2) There is a practical business case, meaning that it works better than existing solutions.

The business case includes the cost of getting low grade heat to the machine, and the cost of removing the rejected heat. The business case includes the estimated capital cost of the machine, the estimated operating cost of the machine, the amount and temperature of the low grade heat supply, and the estimated amount of power generated.

Investors and/or banks will require that you have at least one patent. They want proof that you have at least a little moat around your technology.

Building and testing your idea would make a good MS thesis project. You would then have a prototype and documented evidence that it works.

I have some relevant experience. I once had a business building and selling a machine that I had invented. That experience included paying royalties to my ex-employer to use my own patent. Some years later, I also evaluated a number of patents that my employer was considering licensing.
 
  • Like
Likes Vanadium 50, marcusl, Astronuc and 2 others
  • #13
russ_watters
Mentor
22,053
9,148
Making a prototype and applying for a patent isn't a big deal for me.
That's backwards. No one in their right mind would invest in something without knowing in what they are investing.
Approaching the issue backwards definitely sets off warning bells, especially if you think it won't be difficult to do it properly. I was going to say something snarky about looking for investors who aren't in their right mind (and there are plenty out there), but instead I'll say this: you owe it to any prospective investors to do your due diligence to ensure to the best of your knowledge/ability that you aren't scamming them. And unless your idea is unworkable, you are likely to get more and better investors if you do.
 
  • Like
Likes Astronuc
  • #14
T C
301
8
No one in their right mind would invest in something without knowing in what they are investing. You would have to have any prospective contact/partner sign a non-disclosure and IP-protection agreement.
I am not asking anybody to do so. If any startup got interested, I will give them full detail after signing an NDA. And again, I want to say that I have got a funding connection, but for that, a tie up with a startup is necessary. Kindly don't discuss anything here that I haven't said yet.
 
  • #15
PeroK
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Insights Author
Gold Member
2022 Award
23,721
15,330
I am not asking anybody to do so. If any startup got interested, I will give them full detail after signing an NDA. And again, I want to say that I have got a funding connection, but for that, a tie up with a startup is necessary. Kindly don't discuss anything here that I haven't said yet.
Aren't you the "startup"? The way it works is either:

a) You patent your invention and sell the rights to the patent. Possibily joining the company you sell it to on a consultancy basis.

b) You start your own company and do the manufacturing, sales & marketing etc. Possibly with a view to selling the business to a larger company at a later stage.

I must admit, my only experience is in IT. My friend did a) in the sense of wrote some software and sold it to a small IT company, joining them as lead developer - maintaining and developing the product; now (five years plus later), they have a solid customer base and are trying to sell the whole business to a larger software house.

The bottom line is that unless you find someone who wants to buy your invention, then you've got to do everything yourself (possibily with a partner or partners to do the business and manufacturing side). Usually, the main problem is to get the funding for this - but you say you have that. It sounds to me you are looking for partners with the relevant experience to join your startup?
 
  • Like
Likes russ_watters
  • #16
T C
301
8
You start your own company and do the manufacturing, sales & marketing etc. Possibly with a view to selling the business to a larger company at a later stage.
I simply want to avoid that part at least for now. And at present, what I need most is funding. I have found a few funding sources on net, but all are for companies. That's why I want to be a part of a startup.
I even don't have the necessary funding for a prototype.
 
  • #17
PeroK
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
Insights Author
Gold Member
2022 Award
23,721
15,330
I simply want to avoid that part at least for now. And at present, what I need most is funding. I have found a few funding sources on net, but all are for companies. That's why I want to be a part of a startup.
I even don't have the necessary funding for a prototype.
That's the old, old story, isn't it!

Patent what you have and sell the patent. Why isn't that your best bet?
 
  • #18
T C
301
8
Just patents never sell. Without a working prototype and long time running certification, none will approach to buy it. And, by the way, the startup would be benefited in the future. I am not seeking partnership for free.
I know a few inventors and their patents. I know how those patents are gathering dust while worse quality products are sold in market.
 
Last edited:
  • #19
russ_watters
Mentor
22,053
9,148
That's why I want to be a part of a startup.
It isn't clear to me what that means/what you mean by that. Maybe it is just a grammar issue or you are throwing around a superfluous buzzword ("a startup!") because it sounds cool. Are you saying you want to join an existing but new company, start your own company with partners, or something else? What, exactly, do you mean by this/should this "startup" look like?
Just patents never sell. Without a working prototype and long time running certification, none will approach to buy it. And, by the way, the startup would be benefited in the future. I am not seeking partnership for free.
If a patent alone doesn't sell, going to investors with less is better? It sounds like you are heading to investors with nothing but a paper idea that you haven't proven will work or is patentable. You've done exactly none of the work required to turn the idea into a product/business. It's going to be a tough sell, to put it generously. If you believe in this idea, you should be putting more of your own money and effort into it. It increases your odds of success and your share of the profit. You are at the stage where about the best you can hope for is someone buys the idea from you outright for a paltry sum of money, because you have almost nothing to sell now and exactly nothing to offer moving forward.

Heck, if the idea does work, what's to stop an "investor" from ripping you off the minute you show them the idea? An NDA? Are you going to hire a lawyer to write it and enforce it?

BTW, what's a "long time running certification" and where do you get one? I was going to scold @Vanadium 50 that "low grade heat" is still an energy source, so PMM is not implied by it, but "long running time certification" smells funny.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes PeroK
  • #20
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
29,536
14,966
I was going to scold @Vanadium 50 that "low grade heat" is still an energy source, so PMM is not implied by it

Oh, you just like scolding me.

Assuming this is not a PMM, it shouldn't be described in the language of one. That will surely, as the author of #11 implied, spook the investors.

Certainly I am spooked. As you say, the inventor has done less than the minimum here. But more convincing (um...less convincing? More unconvincing?) is the lack of a prototype. First, we live in a world where stuff can be machined or 3-D printed and shipped overnight. Second, if this device converts "low grade heat" to work, it can't be very efficient. As Astro points out, you're up against Carnot. So it has to be very cheap. But if it's very cheap, why no prototype?
 
  • Like
Likes Astronuc and russ_watters
  • #21
russ_watters
Mentor
22,053
9,148
First, we live in a world where stuff can be machined or 3-D printed and shipped overnight...

But if it's very cheap, why no prototype?
But that would take hours and cost dollars. Why should he bother with that if he can get someone to pay him to do it for him?

/s
 
  • #22
hutchphd
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
2022 Award
5,336
4,499
Yep sounds like just the person to partner-up with. Where do I sign.
It seems perverse to me that someone would seek advice with the apparent motivation to ignore said advice. Ah well.
 
  • Like
Likes russ_watters
  • #23
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
29,536
14,966
I wonder if this is connected to his past posts on using a turbine and generator to recover energy in ducts. He was cagey then about what he was doing, but @jrmichler nailed it - such a device must cause a pressure drop and if you can stand a pressure drop, just run the system at lower pressure.
 
  • Like
Likes Astronuc and russ_watters
  • #24
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
29,536
14,966
It seems perverse to me that someone would seek advice with the apparent motivation to ignore said advice.

To be fair, he didn't ask for advice. He asked for a company comprised of zillionaires that will take this on completely on faith. The problem is, these don't exist because that's not how you get to be a zillionaire.
 
  • Like
  • Haha
  • Love
Likes Tom.G, Astronuc and russ_watters
  • #25
hutchphd
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
2022 Award
5,336
4,499
Fair enough. And this is a General Discussion post. caveat emptor
 
  • #26
40,569
18,243
If any startup got interested

You seem to have a misunderstanding about what a "startup" is. A "startup" is not a company that is looking for something to build. A startup is a company that already has something to build and is trying to get more users for it. So if you already have something to build, you don't "look for" a startup. You start one by forming a company yourself.
 
  • Like
Likes Astronuc, russ_watters, Vanadium 50 and 1 other person
  • #27
Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
20,984
5,035
  • Informative
  • Like
Likes BillTre and berkeman
  • #28
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
29,536
14,966
That's why I want to be a part of a startup.

But does startup want to be part of you?

Peter and Astro's very valid point nothwithstanding, what do you bring to that company? Why should they devote their resources to helping you reach your goals?
 
  • Like
Likes russ_watters and Astronuc
  • #29
T C
301
8
what do you bring to that company?
A new technology, which I have already said at the OP. Further details can only be discussed with the company or its representative.
Why should they devote their resources to helping you reach your goals?
Profit.
 
  • #30
berkeman
Mentor
64,124
15,327
A new technology, which I have already said at the OP. Further details can only be discussed with the company or its representative.
Did you understand Astro's point about "Incubator" versus "Startup"? Startups already have their product(s) that they are working on, guided by their Business Plan. They are *not* looking for other products to add to their workload -- they are already quite busy enough, thank you (speaking as one who has worked very hard at a successful startup in Silicon Valley).

Have you looked at the Incubator option? Have you drafted your Business Plan yet?
 
  • #31
jrmichler
Mentor
1,966
2,506
I have researched on a new kind of machine that can generate power/electricity by using low grade heat.
Just how new is your idea? Is it better than existing technology for doing the same thing? Existing technology for generating electricity from low grade heat includes:

OTEC
Geothermal
Low temperature heat engines (includes Stirling and others)
Thermoelectric

You will need to convince prospective investors that your idea can generate electricity at lower cost (both capital and operating cost) with better reliability than ALL of the above. Better efficiency is also a selling point. Until you do that, you have nothing to sell. The core of your business plan / prospectus will be a line by line comparison of your idea with the technology used in OTEC, geothermal, low temperature heat engines, and thermoelectric generators. The comparison will include capital cost, operating cost, reliability, efficiency, and any other relevant factors. You will not be taken seriously until you do that.
 
  • Like
  • Informative
Likes russ_watters, Astronuc, berkeman and 1 other person
  • #32
T C
301
8
You will need to convince prospective investors that your idea can generate electricity at lower cost (both capital and operating cost) with better reliability than ALL of the above. Better efficiency is also a selling point. Until you do that, you have nothing to sell. The core of your business plan / prospectus will be a line by line comparison of your idea with the technology used in OTEC, geothermal, low temperature heat engines, and thermoelectric generators. The comparison will include capital cost, operating cost, reliability, efficiency, and any other relevant factors. You will not be taken seriously until you do that.
Believe me, I can do that.
 
  • #33
berkeman
Mentor
64,124
15,327
Believe me, I can do that.
Then do it. We've pointed out lots of stuff to you that hopefully helps. The rest is up to you. And as mentioned several times, be sure to get a lawyer involved when you are ready to start showing your Business Plan to potential partners and investors (under an NDA). Best of luck.
 
  • Like
Likes Wrichik Basu
  • #34
T C
301
8
Then do it. We've pointed out lots of stuff to you that hopefully helps. The rest is up to you. And as mentioned several times, be sure to get a lawyer involved when you are ready to start showing your Business Plan to potential partners and investors (under an NDA). Best of luck.
I will do if I find an interested party.
 
  • Skeptical
Likes berkeman
  • #35
14,170
8,149
It looks like we have completely exhausted our knowledge of how to transition ideas to startups and on that note will now close this thread.

Thank you all for commenting and providing the OP with some things to consider as he explores his new business venture.

Jedi
 
  • Like
Likes Wrichik Basu, berkeman, jrmichler and 3 others

Suggested for: Looking for partnership with a startup

  • Last Post
Replies
16
Views
318
Replies
12
Views
660
Replies
11
Views
467
Replies
14
Views
714
Replies
1
Views
554
Replies
3
Views
1K
Replies
0
Views
335
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
684
Top