- Is the first step in assessing whether your technology can be transformed into a viable product with profitable, commercial value;
- Will prove whether the technology has a realistic commercial application; and
- Is a critical component of your pitch to angels and other investors.
The prototype does not have to have all of the bells and whistles you envision for the final product, but it should demonstrate the basic utility of your technology as a tangible product. The prototype may also involve proving manufacturability. It helps you determine whether you can actually produce, market, sell, distribute, and support the product profitably.
Funding your Prototype
Perhaps one of the most frustrating phases of growth for new inventors is how to pay for prototypes. The problem is that you really need the prototype first, before you can interest the people you are trying to raise money from for building the prototype!
Financing the prototype yourself is often a necessity — but it’s also desirable. As Jay Adelson discusses in the video above, you want to do everything you can to develop your prototype on your own, before seeking capital. In the long run, it can make a big difference in how much ownership you’re able to keep when working with angel investors and eventually, venture capitalists.
Finding Prototyping Resources
As a hub of both R&D and commercialization activity, RPI’s Emerging Ventures Ecosystems can help you locate resources for building your prototype. There are also resources for physical prototyping in the region and across upstate New York.
Before signing on with a prototype maker, you’ll want to ask for a complete quote, terms, and references. You may want to negotiate a price cap rather than an open-ended hourly development effort. Reputable prototype makers will work with you to define a reasonable compromise between the ideal prototype and what you can actually afford.
CAMPUS PROTOTYPING RESOURCES
- Rapid Prototyping Laboratory
- O.T. Swanson Multidisciplinary Design Laboratory
- Design, Innovation and Society Program
MACHINE SHOPS & PROTOTYPING FACILITIES IN THE CAPITAL REGION
- EVE Vendor Todd Scheske
- Multi-Vendor Machining Job Quoting Service
- NEW! Tech Valley Center of Gravity