For the past couple years, I have been very excited about the democratization of business ownership. With hundreds of start-up incubators and accelerators all over the world, every one with a good idea and a bit of cash could realize their dream. The one thing I did notice, however, is that most of these organizations falsely presume that everyone also has access to tons of capital to get their product off the ground. There was no place for someone who simply has a really grea IDEA to go…till now.
On April 8th, WayFounder announced the launch of the company and its first quarterly online competition designed to reach “Nontrepreneurs,” people with great ideas but who aren’t able to assume the risks inherent in founding a company. WayFounder provides funding and resources to seasoned entrepreneurs to bring those ideas to fruition. Starting today, a series of online competitions will source ideas for consumer solutions that have the potential to become successful startup companies. The first competition is focusing on acquiring consumer product and mobile app ideas in the Home and Garden, Baby and Parenting, and Pet categories. WayFounder provides each competition winner with a cash prize of $10,000, a commitment to spend up to $50,000 to bring the product idea to market, and royalties. If a selected product exhibits the promise of scaling up into a product line or even spawning an entire new category of its own, WayFounder commits up to $250,000 to hire an “Executive Entrepreneur,” or a Founder/CEO with experience in that specific category, to take the business to the next level.
The competition winner also receives founder equity in the new company. “Idea generators are everyday people who conceive solutions to pain points in their lives but don’t necessarily possess the skills to execute or aren’t prepared for the drastic change of lifestyle necessary to build a business,” said Founder and CEO Damon D’Amore. “We provide the capital, commitment, and resources to turn those ideas into reality. The idea generators participate financially each step of the way with both immediate cash rewards and long-term equity participation at levels exponentially more robust than most other options at their disposal.” WayFounder was founded on the core belief that successful companies have multiple founding moments and that good ideas come from everywhere, not just traditional “startup hotbeds.” The hybrid venture fund/incubator model was created to provide an opportunity for those ideas and founders that would likely never funnel through the traditional incubator or early-stage fund ecosystem to thrive in a “de-risked” environment.
D’Amore is a former Wall Street trader and broadcast producer for “The Apprentice” and “Undercover Boss.” He draws on his financial experience in developing and scaling disruptive trading solutions and his tenure as a television producer. He has worked with more than 500 of America’s top C-suite executives. In the startup space, D’Amore spent the last three years in two ventures he co-founded in the consumer product and web/mobile spaces. Both experiences were inspirations for WayFounder’s business model. The decision to use online competitions to source ideas was inspired in a Los Angeles mastermind group when D’Amore met WayFounder co-founder and advisor Ryan Wilson. Ryan’s unparalleled experience in producing and marketing online competitions—from his tenure at The X-Prize Foundation to the competition platform Skild that he co-founded—presented the perfect match. The Wayfounder team and its esteemed Advisory Board members have decades of experience launching, funding, scaling, and running successful entrepreneurial businesses. Members include: Jeffrey Hayzlett: CEO of The Hayzlett Group, Contributing Editor and Host of Bloomberg TV, and former Fortune 100 CMO Justin Lewis: former President of the Global Retail Marketing Association and Fortune 500 CMO Jamie O’Hara: Founder and Managing Partner of Grise Global Ventures Jeff Pulver: Founder of #140 Conference, Co-founder of Vonage Sasha Strauss: Founder and Managing Director of Innovation Protocol Bill Wilson: Founder and President of ClickxChange (not related to Ryan Wilson)
WayFounder believes that people from all walks of life have ideas for solutions to problems that aren’t currently offered by existing products in the market. They may work full-time jobs or be students, or they may simply lack the time, resources, experience, or capital to realize their vision. Consequently, many of these “Idea Generators” are left with just that, an idea. WayFounder provides a platform and the resources for those ideas with the potential to become a business to succeed and grow into something scalable, sustainable, and lasting. WayFounder will contribute the team, capital, and resources to turn ideas into viable products. Entrepreneurship, competition, idea generation, product development, startup financing, and distribution are constantly evolving. The founding process also needs to evolve. WayFounder aims to provide opportunity for a new breed of founders. The WayFounder Team and its Advisory Board, with decades of combined experience launching, funding, scaling, and running successful entrepreneurial businesses in consumer categories, ensure that winning ideas have the best chance of success.
Although I am an entrepreneur with two businesses already running, I am also generating other ideas about four times a year! So I am very excited about WayFounder and intend to definitely try it out. If you have a great idea you should as well.