TEDCO Investment Readiness Assessment Tool - Questionnaire

Answer the following questions in a way that best describes your company. Be honest and thoughtful in your responses. The use of this tool is solely for the purpose of helping you understand your company's stage of maturity and the steps you need to take to best position your company for a TEDCO investment.

There are 9 questions. The assessment should take you less than 5 minutes.

 
1. Please select the best description of your team.
 
 

I am the sole founder and have not yet recruited others to my team.

 

We are a small team with clear knowledge gaps and have identified a couple of informal advisors who are providing some advice on an ad hoc basis.

 

We are a growing team with diverse expertise (technical, management, finance, etc.) and have engaged a number of advisors who are meeting with us on a regular basis.

 

We have a solid team with few or no knowledge gaps. We have the sales and marketing expertise needed to generate revenues, and we have a formal board consisting of investors, founders, and others.

 
2. Select the best description of your team's technical ability related to designing, building, and testing your product.
 
 

We will need to add additional technical expertise to our team and/or outsource product development or testing.

 

We feel strongly that we can manage most of the product development but will need to outsource a portion of the work.

 

We are confident that we can build and test the product ourselves because we have done it in the past.

 
3. Select the best description of your team's prior experience and connections in your company's industry sector including knowledge of sales cycles, channel strategies, and pricing models.
 
 

We thoroughly understand the problem that our company's product is trying to solve, but do not have a thorough understanding of business operations in this sector and do not have strong connections to strategic partners and customers.

 

We have operational experience in another industry sector and generally understand how products are sold and delivered to customers in our sector; however, we have not yet developed strong relationships with key strategic partners/customers.

 

We have developed strong industry contacts (first name basis) with strategic partners and/or large customers and have gained an understanding of marketing requirements in our sector.

 

We are currently selling products to customers.

 

None of the above.

 
4. Select the best description of your team's understanding of your customers' problem.
 
 

We have personally experienced the problem, understand its urgency, and can describe the business opportunity associated with solving the problem.

 

We understand how all current solutions are solving the problem and can describe why we have the ability to deliver a better solution.

 

We have beta-tested a prototype of our product with small groups of customers and validated that the problem can be solved to the degree claimed by the company.

 

We have demonstrated through sales traction that large groups of customers are willing to pay for our company's solution to solve their problem.

 

None of the above.

 
5. Select the best description of the stage of development of your product.
 
 

We have a clear, detailed list of specifications for our product and/or a product design but have not started building and testing our product.

 

We have a basic prototype of our device and have successfully tested it, and we have a detailed understanding of the time and costs associated with developing a commercial-ready product.

 

We have a commercial-ready, minimum viable product, which has been tested with a small number of customers.

 

We have a customer-ready product that is ready for sale or being sold.

 

None of the above.

 
6. Select the best description of your understanding of your market.
 
 

We have conducted a thorough market analysis including: market segmentation, selecting initial and secondary target markets, and a competitor analysis.

 

We have conducted 50 to 100 customer interviews to validate the assumptions made in our market analysis and incorporated customer feedback into our product development and marketing strategies.

 

We have validated our market through beta testing in an initial target market, and we have a marketing strategy for expanding to other market segments.

 

We have beta users converting to paying customers and churn rates within forecasted estimates.

 

None of the above.

 
7. Select the best description of your business model.
 
 

We have developed a viable revenue/pricing model and validated that our approach is acceptable to customers.

 

We have evidence suggesting that our product would be viable in multiple market segments and we have developed a 5-year financial projection with major assumptions validated.

 

We have a clear strategy for moving into multiple market segments over the course of five years and incorporated that strategy into a 5-year financial projection with major and minor assumptions validated.

 

Our financial projections and major and minor assumptions have held up to the scrutiny of an examination by potential investors.

 

None of the above.

 
8. Your business opportunity represents a total addressable market (number of potential customers x the price of your product) of more than $500 million and your company is projected to grow to at least $10 million in revenues in five years.
 
 

Yes

 

No

 

Not sure

 
9. Select the best description of your fundraising efforts.
 
 

We have a clear and viable financing strategy to achieve our next significant milestone/value inflection point, and we have identified likely sources of funding.

 

We have secured at least $50K of funding through a friends and family round, boot strapping, crowd-sourcing, or an SBIR/STTR Phase I grant.

 

We have secured at least $150K from one or more angels, economic development programs, or through a SBIR/STTR Phase II grant, and we have revenues or have a viable path to generating revenues in the next 3 to 6 months.

 

None of the above.



 

 

TEDCO Investment Readiness Assessment Tool - Results Summary

The following table provides a summary of your company's stage of readiness for a TEDCO investment. Each stage is achieved when you have completed all of the requirements for that stage in all of the categories. Companies completing the requirements of Stage 4 are likely to be competitive for a TEDCO Investment.

SUMMARY:

Stage Team Problem Product Market Business
Model
Investment
Opportunity
4            
3            
2            
1            

 

TEDCO Investment Readiness Assessment Tool - Advancement Guidelines

The following table represents the milestones that your company must complete to advance to higher stages.

DETAIL:

TEAM
Stage Description of Company's Development
4
  • Team has the capability to execute a sales/go-to-market/operational strategy as evidenced by past experience or by sales traction.
  • Team has demonstrated its ability to innovate (product or business model) to stay ahead of new entrants in the market.
3
  • Team has a clear understanding of how their market operates – sales cycle, channel strategy, and pricing model.
  • Team has developed strong industry contacts with strategic partner organizations/large customers.
  • Team has recruited three to four key advisors and engaged with them.
2
  • Team consists of more than one founder.
  • Team has the technical ability to build a fully functional prototype.
  • Team has a clear understanding of the value chain and cost structures in the industry.
  • Team has engaged qualified, pro bono community resources/advisors.
1
  • Team has members with relevant business experience – the founder(s) must have clearly demonstrated domain/industry vertical experience or technology/product development experience.
  • Team has substantial experience with the problem being addressed by the company's products.
  • The team understands the need for other team members including when it might be necessary to recruit an experienced CEO.
 
PROBLEM
Stage Description of Company's Development
4
  • Company has validated that it can solve its customer's problem to the degree claimed.
3
  • Company’s product/solution has been validated through beta/pilot or a small number of paying customer engagements.
2
  • Company can articulate why it has the capability to solve the problem better than others.
  • Company can articulate the problem quantitatively – by associated costs or other distinct measures.
1
  • The identified problem is specific, important, and large.
  • Company [team] has personal experience with the problem and understands it thoroughly.
  • Company has an in-depth understanding of other approaches to solving the problem (including the status quo or “Do nothing” approach) including their strengths and weaknesses.
 
PRODUCT
Stage Description of Company's Development
4
  • Company has a commercial-ready product on the market or ready to launch with a viable go-to-market strategy.
3
  • Company has a commercial-ready, minimum viable product.
  • Product has been (beta) tested with customers and feedback has been collected.
2
  • Company has a basic low-fidelity prototype and evidence that the prototype solves the problem to the degree necessary to be competitive in the market.
  • Company has a clear product development plan with cost estimates and timeline.
  • Product has associated intellectual property or some other characteristic that provides for a sustainable competitive advantage.
1
  • Company has a clear, detailed conception of the product that will solve the target problem.
 
MARKET
Stage Description of Company's Development
4
  • Company has validated its initial market through revenues or a pilot study.
  • Beta testers have converted to paying customers.
3
  • Company has validated its market through beta testing in its initial target market.
  • Company has demonstrated that customer feedback has been incorporated into the product development plan and go-to-market strategy.
2
  • Company has conducted formal customer interviews to validate assumptions about the problem and the proposed product.
  • Company has identified regulatory hurdles and created a strategy to address them.
1
  • Company has completed a detailed market segmentation analysis and selected an appropriate initial target market segment.
  • Company has completed a detailed competitive analysis.
  • Company has conducted a preliminary freedom-to-operate analysis.
 
BUSINESS MODEL
Stage Description of Company's Development
4
  • Company has a financial model and can defend all assumptions.
  • Company is confident about meeting its 12-month projected financial targets
3
  • Clear strategy to move into multiple markets while maintaining focus on initial target market goals.
  • Company has developed a set of 5-year financial projections with major and minor assumptions tested.
2
  • Evidence that multiple markets experience the problem that will be addressed with the company’s products.
  • Company has developed a set of 5-year financial projections with major assumptions tested.
1
  • Company has identified an outline of a potential revenue/pricing model.
  • Company has identified multiple potential markets for their product and an initial target segment.
 
INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
Stage Description of Company's Development
4
  • Company has initiated conversations with one or more large customers, which are watching the company with interest.
  • Company is generating revenue or has a viable pathway to revenue.
  • Company has secured at least $150K from one or more angel investors or through economic development programs.
3
  • Company has identified a viable exit strategy including milestone targets, timing targets, potential acquisition partners, comparable acquisitions for the industry.
  • Company has secured at least $50K in funding through a FFF round or bootstrapping or crowd sourcing.
  • Company has developed a viable financing strategy (including likely sources of funding/funding partners) to reach all milestones up to product launch and the likely sources.
2
  • Company has developed a viable financing strategy to reach its next significant milestone and the likely source of funding/funding partners.
1
  • Company is targeting a Total Addressable Market greater than $500M.
  • Company is reasonably projected to grow to revenues of at least $10M within five years.
 

You can view the requirements for all stages by clicking HERE.

TEDCO's Gateway Services Available for Companies at your Stage

Based on your calculated stage of readiness, the following TEDCO programs are available to you to help you advance to higher stages of readiness.

AVAILABLE PROGRAMS:

  • On-line Educational Resources

    TEDCO has curated a number of on-line educational resources for entrepreneurs. These resources can be useful when learning to assess your opportunity and to validate assumptions about your business.

  • Market Search Services

    TEDCO has free marketing databases available for entrepreneurs.

  • Prelude Pitch Sessions

    Once a month, TEDCO holds pitch sessions for entrepreneurs who want to get feedback on the their stage of readiness and suggestions on how to progress to the next level.

  • Rural Business Innovation Initiative (RBII) Program

    For companies located in the rural parts of Maryland, TEDCO can provide mentors to assist companies in a variety of ways.

  • Network Advisors

    Entrepreneurs interested in having a brief meeting with an advisor can do so through monthly Office Hours held at TEDCO and at other locations around the state.

  • Builder Fund

    The Pre-seed Builder Fund (or Builder Fund) was created to financially and operationally support the development of startup companies run by entrepreneurs who demonstrate a socially or economically disadvantaged background that hinders access to traditional forms of capital and executive networks at the pre-seed stage. The program combines an investment of $50,000 with support from a group of Operations Support Executives, who serve as a company's temporary C-suite.

  • Seed Fund

    A company at Stage 4 is likely a good candidate for a TEDCO Seed Fund investment. The submission of an investment slide deck will trigger an evaluation of your company by a member of the Investment Team.