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Adii Pienaar

Now working on Receiptful. Co-Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

Funding "No-Idea" Founders

A lot has been written about Y Combinator's decision to allow founders to apply to the program without necessarily having an idea.

I think Vinicius Vacanti's opinion is mostly spot-on and summarized well with this quote:

"And, so I thank Y-Combinator for helping to dispel the myth that to become an entrepreneur you need a moment of brilliance."

You definitely don't need a moment of brilliance and your first idea won't be the only determining factor in whether you're a success or a failure (eventually). But that's pretty much as far as I can agree with this whole concept.

Whilst a moment of brilliance or a first idea doesn't define whether you're an entrepreneur or not, it surely neither warrants that you should be funded (i.e. risk other people's money for you to figure out which of your ideas will eventually be successful).

This explains perfectly why the "money makes money" plays such a huge role here: if you're funding someone without an actual idea, you're taking a gamble. There's just no reason to determine the founding team actually warrants that investment.

I'm open to someone convincing me that funding an entrepreneur without an idea is actually a rational, viable & generic decision that applies to all investors (and not just those with pockets that are inevitably too deep). Or we can all agree that this strategy is at best a calculated risk and semi-gamble.

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