How to Fund Your Invention, Even Without Connections
Even small invention projects have a chance.
While history is filled with lots of success stories of inventors building up wealth from scratch, they seem to be out-shined by modern examples of companies dominating patent offices.
Don’t fret! While the competition may be ramping up, there are still plenty of ways to get funding as an independent inventor.
You’ve probably heard about grants from the US government, or even other governments or non-profits. They are simply cashing to help inventors launch & commercialize great ideas that are seen as beneficial to the general public.
In the United States, The Small Business Administration (Grants.gov) offers a frequently updated list of grants for businesses of all sizes. While small business grants are towards the bottom of the pile, it’s worth checking out in case you find something compatible with your idea.
For some high-tech fields, The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) offers varying grants to student inventors. Usually, you may have to be affiliated with a university or non-profit organization.
Private grants are out there and have much more varying degrees of success. One method could be to contact businesses similar to your own so see if they want to give your idea a grant, assuming it would benefit them in some way. There are some private companies like InventHelp that can aid in finding grants, and even the process of applying for them.
It’s important to note that critical parts of your project should already be complete and ready for presentation. If you don’t have a prototype, business plan, or documentation, you need to get on it.
Crowdfunding Your Invention
Crowdfunding is now one of the more popular means for independent inventors to raise funds. It works a bit differently than acquiring investors or venture capital, as a project would thrive more upon early-release sales or donations.
This can be done on platforms like:
It should be noted that prior to launching your invention into the public eyes in a crowdsourcing campaign, you should have it patented first. While it does cost money, you can seek the help of an honest invention company to help with the patenting process. You still shouldn’t fear putting your product out there as long as you cover the basic legal aspects.
Venture capital is another common means of finding funding. While it can bring much bigger sums than grants, the amount your receive is based on the profitability of your invention in a free market.
Inventions can be quite tricky in the business end of things, as even brilliant ideas are not easily marketed with current wants & demands. It wouldn’t be surprising if marketing had a higher budget than the cost of development of your product.
An angel investor would be a type of venture capital in which a high-net-worth individual or company has a vested interest in your idea and is willing to do endow you. Your invention may be seen as a “pet project” of theirs, and don’t be surprised if they want some level of involvement.
The reciprocal aspect of any type of venture capital would be to buy part of your company and thus receive a share of future profits. As your company scales, so does their share, unless more complex terms are set.
The start of your invention idea shouldn’t necessarily be about how to receive funding right off the bat, as many projects need to be self-funded initially. Having said that, you should always keep your eyes peeled for what your local government, university, or local businesses have available in terms of funding for independent inventors like yourself.