What we look for.

Industry knowledge

Are you an expert?

We’ve helped validate and launch startups in a variety of different industries – from car dealership sales software to AI generated design software. When you pitch us your idea, there’s a good chance nobody on the team has built a business in this specific industry before. We bring the business building skills, you bring the industry expertise. So we want to see evidence that you have deep experience and understanding of the industry you want to build this company in.

Generally this means at least 10 years work experience, mostly in the same industry as your startup idea. 

Your network

Do you have a distribution advantage?

Customer acquisition is the most important part of any startup. We want to see that you’ve already thought about ways to reach your potential customer. Do you already have contacts and connections from your career history that could be potential customers? If not, have you already spoken to some potential customers to hear what they think?

We’ll do a lot of this work together during our process so it’s not a dealbreaker, but it will help convince us you’re serious about this if you do some groundwork.

Target Customer

Is it tech / tech enabled?

We don’t take on projects that involve physical products or hardware, mostly because our venture building process is developed in a way to get you your first paying customers, rapidly. With physical products and hardware, the upfront capital costs required are often too high for us to get paying customers within our usual validation framework.

We prefer to work on projects that are SaaS or leverage technology in some way, as this is where the vast majority of our personal experience is.

Someone asked us recently if we’re open-minded to Productized Services. Although this isn’t our primary focus, the answer is yes, as long as there’s evidence to support that this could be a $10 million business.

Hands on

Can it be a $10mm business?

Unlike traditional VCs who look for huge addressable markets and the viability of unicorn status, our threshold is whether this can become at least a $10 million dollar business based on typical exit multiples. 

We’ve seen too many examples of startups in the world that scaled aggressively with venture capital dollars to huge valuations, turning down acquisition offers along the way as their VCs wanted them to push further, only to end up with nothing at the end.

We don’t want our founders to ever feel pressured to go down that path and turn down potentially life-changing exits for them. Our policy is to make sure the potential for at least $10 million is there, and if you do want to sell we can help you negotiate an acquisition to a larger company or private buyer once you reach that level.

Target Customer

Is it B2B? (strongly preferred)

If you already have a large audience or list to sell to, we’ll consider B2C ideas. But as a general rule, we prefer B2B ideas where your customer is using your product for a work purpose.

Hands on

Are you willing to do the work?

We’re in this together, which means both you AND DQventures are doing work at different stages. If you only want to manage people instead of rolling up your sleeves to do work yourself, this probably isn’t the right fit for you.

We work at your own pace and we totally understand that you have a busy schedule, but it will be important for you to carve out some time every week to work on your startup inbetween our weekly calls.

PRACTICAL STUFF

Are you able to quit your job at the end?

We try to build the business to a point where it can pay you a liveable salary (whether that’s via profits or investor funding), but it’s unlikely to replace your full corporate salary. Have a think about what your minimum salary would be need to be to quit your job, and be open about what that is with us.

Depending on where they live, most early stage founders pay themselves between $40k – $80k / year. Are you in a position to quit your job if that’s your new salary for the next two years?

Finance & Equity

Did you see our 20/20 rule?

As you’ll be staying employed in your corporate job, we ask that you contribute USD $20,000 towards the early costs of this validation process. This makes sure you have skin in the game before we begin, and that you’re serious about this idea.

We estimate it costs us approx $75k to validate and launch a startup successfully, so we cover all the additional costs in exchange for 20% of the company upon incorporation. You’ll own 80% of the company as the majority shareholder.

Pitch us

Ready to apply?

If you think you meet the criteria, we’d love to hear from you! Please pitch us your idea, and let’s get the conversation started.