Last Thursday marked the one year anniversary of Brooklyn Bridge Ventures being a real fund with money in it and everything--so it was fitting that I had my first annual investor meeting. We don't do anything too fancy. I borrowed a conference room from a friend's company and we huddled around some great sandwiches and pasta from Catercow.
I brought three founders in for the first time and they rocked it. One thing that was clear across all three was that their startups didn't start the day that they signed some legal docs. The best ideas are ones where you are prepping to be the right person to run this company years before you even have the idea. Their ideas are honed for years--their understanding of a market is deep and insightful. Their skillset is born of a regular participation in the life of their targest customer.
That's how I'm often able to approve an investment or turn it down so quick--it's more obvious than you think whether someone is the right person for the task at hand. Often, they tell me all I need to know when I hear their origin story. Why you? Why this idea? You want to hear someone that's been developing into the right person to run this company for years.
Right now, whether you have an idea or not, you are in the process of working on a startup. That's why if you don't have an idea, the best place to start looking for one is often right in front of you.
The past few years of your experience are making you into the perfect entrepreneur to do... *something*. What is it? What has life put you in a position to have unique insight into? That's where you should be refining your idea--not in the pages of Techcrunch or as a function of what you think is fundable. If you were to have to pitch a VC right now on a concept, the part about why you is already known--you've been living it. You can examine your life and start to ideate on what types of problems you are best suited to solve, and undoubtedly a problem worth solving will come out of that. Startups are hard and the most successful entrepreneurs are often the ones most uniquely suited, because of their experience, to solve those problems.
So what startup have you already started working on before you have an idea?