Ask HN: Advice on Us Business Partner?

5 points by dosy 9 days ago

I set up a company through stripe Atlas and I'm not a US resident or citizen but I'm interested in accessing sbir and other government solicitations because I think that kind of non VC funding would be a good fit for the type of products that I want to build. in order to do that I would need a 50% us co-founder or partner. has anyone taken a similar route and what was your experience? or what advice do you have?

edmundsauto 9 days ago

Couple of tips about the SBIR/STTR programs:

1/ They exist so US gov't agencies can get products they need developed, especially when the risk involved in R&D means they judged not worthy of private investment.

2/ First round SBIR has somewhere <20% acceptance rate, so you'll need to plan to make multiple applications over multiple periods. The effort isn't less than the VC route.

3/ Develop a relationship with the sponsor (person who put out the solicitation). This is similar to networking with VCs and prospective customers.

Working with the US Government is a very different set of problems than VC money.

  • greenyoda 9 days ago

    > Working with the US Government is a very different set of problems than VC money.

    Actually, performing work under contract with any customer is very different than taking VC money. With VCs, it's understood that it's a risky investment and the company that's being funded can fail before it delivers a product. With a contract, you have specific deliverables (sometimes at a fixed cost), and the other side can sue you to recover their money if you don't deliver. (Under certain circumstances, your creditors can even go after your personal assets.[1])

    Also, in an SBIR, the government agency gives you funding to research and/or develop a specific thing that they need, so you can't arbitrarily "pivot" to an unrelated thing if the first thing isn't going well.

    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piercing_the_corporate_veil#Un...

  • dosy 9 days ago

    What's your experience of these programs?