1. What is a WayFounder?

Great ideas come from everywhere. People from all walks of life have ideas for solutions to problems that aren’t currently offered by existing products in the market.
Whether it’s a consumer product or a web or mobile app, submit an idea and WayFounder will contribute the team, capital, and resources to build your product. Together we’ll find the way to create a great product and a healthy company.
A “WayFounder” is anyone who plays a vital role in that process:
  • An inventor with the spark of an idea for something to be great is a WayFounder.
  • A CEO, an engineer, a designer, or anyone who uses his or her knowledge and expertise to turn that idea into reality is a WayFounder.
  • Investors who provide the money and resources to make all of that happen because they believe in a new founding way are WayFounders.

2. How is WayFounder different from other inventor/idea/crowd-funding websites or TV shows that may want my idea?

  • Crowd-funding platforms: These sites provide access to money to finance projects, but the idea generator is left on his own to figure out how to bring a product to market and navigate the complex wilderness of starting a business, everything from getting legal protection to finding manufacturers, building websites or technology to marketing and selling a final product to consumers. WayFounder provides not only financing but also the expertise and execution capabilities to take an idea from concept to market.
  • Inventor/idea websites and TV shows: While the specifics of individual sites and shows may vary, many differ from WayFounder in the following ways:
  • Public submissions and voting: Many crowd-sourcing platforms and shows require inventors to share their ideas with the public, since their judging process depends on large numbers of people, most with no experience in building a business, to vote on the potential of an idea. At WayFounder, ideas are vetted by industry professionals, but not in the public domain, so your idea remains just that, your idea. WayFounder keeps your ideas private.Only our internal team and judges are permitted to view your submissions.
  • Compensation by Committee: Many crowd-sourcing platforms compensate inventors as part of the larger community of voters who turn a submission into a winner. Each site has its own method of valuing the contribution of an idea, either by the number of people who contribute to a final product or by a rating system.The inventor’s piece of the pie is assigned accordingly: the more people who vote on an idea and help it get to market, the lower the percentage and financial reward for the inventor. WayFounder values ideas with a cash payment up-front, revenue-sharing, and equity participation that, in many instances, result in the inventor having a bigger slice of the pie and more financial compensation both in total and earlier in the process.
  • Full-time Founders: Most inventors who appear on television shows have already spent a significant amount of time and money (typically years and hundreds of thousands of dollars) to build a product or a business. They are working full-time and are looking for funding and resources to expand. WayFounder is looking for great ideas in the early stage from passionate inventors who don’t have the luxury of dropping everything in life and committing full-time to building a business.

3. How do ideas get picked on WayFounder?

Each competition will have specific judging guidelines that you can view in the Rules section on the website that is hosting the current competition. In general, there are a few guidelines you should consider when evaluating your own ideas:
  • Does your product solve a problem, and if so what is the specific problem that it solves?
  • What inspired you to come up with the idea?
  • How many people have this problem?
  • Do people currently use another product to solve this problem, that is, who is your potential competition?
  • Why is your idea important? What sets your concept apart from others?
  • Can you provide a detailed portrait of the ideal consumer who would buy your product? (How old are they? Where do they live? What type of job do they have? What is their income level? What are their hobbies? Etc.)
  • Where is the ideal location that people would buy your product: online, on a store shelf, in a catalog, etc.?

4. Who are the judges?

The WayFounder team and our Advisory Board will be judging entries with the insight of decades of experience in developing, producing, branding, and bringing to market successful consumer products and apps. Additionally, there will be celebrity judges with expertise in each of the categories. Celebrity judges will vary for each competition.

5. How do I get started?

During competitions there will be a dedicated page on this website, where you will be asked to setup your unique User Profile, which will serve as your personal dashboard for submitting, tracking, and receiving feedback on your ideas.

6. How many Ideas can I submit?

Each competition will have different categories and numbers of ideas that you can submit. For example in the Fall 2014 competition, users may submit one idea for each of the seven categories for a total of seven ideas.

8. What does it cost to enter the competition?

There is a one-time $10 entrance fee, which allows you to submit up to 7  ideas (one idea in each of the seven categories). WayFounder provides a platform and the commitment of our team and judges to review submissions and provide feedback. WayFounder ultimately awards prize money and financing for the winners and their ideas. If you believe in the potential of your ideas to become successful products or a new business and determine it’s worth investing our resources to do so, we believe it is worth a small entry fee. This also helps distinguish inventors who are serious about their ideas from those just casually thinking of ideas.

9. How does the competition work?

The process is simple! Users submit ideas for products and apps for our panel of industry expert judges to review based on specific criteria which will be outlined in the rules for each competition. For each competition, WayFounder will choose at least one winner, but potentially multiple winners.

10. What do winners get?

Winners receive a $10,000 USD cash prize. WayFounder commits up to $50,000 to bring that product to market, at which point the winner receives a 5% royalty on all sales of the product. If the product is successful, WayFounder will invest another $250,000 to hire an experienced CEO to grow that single product into a viable and sustainable business. The winner will receive 5% founder-equity in the new company. Details of the compensation packages can be viewed in the Official Rules for each specific competition.

11. Can there be more than one winner for each competition?

Yes. WayFounder will select at least one (1) winner for each competition from the pool of ideas submitted across all categories. There may be multiple winners per category or across multiple categories, depending on how many great ideas are judged to have the potential to become WayFounder companies. There will always be at least one winner in each competition.

12. How long is the competition?

While competition lengths may vary, most run an average of eight to ten weeks.

13. What if two submitted ideas are similar?

By their very nature, ideas are broad. There is a high potential for ideas to have similar qualities. However, in thinking about your idea becoming a business, the specific details of how you would design, build, and market your idea will set you apart.
In the event that two ideas are indistinguishable, WayFounder will reach out to both inventors to more carefully examine the details of each idea.

14. How will I be able to see other submitted ideas?

There is absolutely no public viewing or judging of WayFounder idea submissions. Your ideas are kept private. The only persons who have access to them are the WayFounder team and our expert judges.
Our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy protect you from our sharing your ideas with anyone outside of WayFounder.

15. Will other users be able to see my Idea?

There is absolutely no public viewing or judging of WayFounder idea submissions. Your ideas are kept private.The only persons who have access to them are the WayFounder team and our expert judges.
Our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy protect you from our sharing your ideas with anyone outside of WayFounder.

16. What qualifies as an official submission?

WayFounder wants to hear as much about your idea as you can share. Official submissions can be as short as a few written paragraphs or as detailed as a full business plan. You may submit photos, drawings of designs, prototypes, or videos of the problem that your product solves. When you enter a competition, you will see a dashboard with detailed instructions on how to enter all of the information related to your idea.
If you have sought patent protection, researched existing potential intellectual property filings, or can provide any other potentially important legal information that pertains to your idea, there will be areas in the submission form to enter it.
The more information that WayFounder has to judge an idea, the better chance it has of becoming a finalist, so we encourage you to get creative and present the WayFounder judges with as much detail as possible.

17. Who is on the WayFounder team?

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. For full biographies of all WayFounder team members, click here.

18. Who will turn my idea into reality and how involved will I be?

WayFounder has a network of trusted experts and professionals in each discipline necessary to guide an idea from concept through a successful product release, including but not limited to designers, engineers, builders, developers, marketers, attorneys, communications and advertising specialists, retailers, and distributors who will work with competition winners at every step of the process to ensure the final product is true to the integrity of the original idea.

19. Who ends up running the business?

If a product shows the promise of scaling up into a company of its own, WayFounder commits up to $250,000, brings aboard an “Executive Entrepreneur,” a Founder/CEO with experience in that specific category, to take the business to the next level. The contest winner will receive founder equity in that new company.

20. Who can enter a WayFounder competition?

Anyone with an idea, whether it’s a simple spark or a fully fleshed out business plan, can enter the competition.
Entrants must 18 or over. Currently the competitions are for U.S. entrees only. Stay tuned for future international competitions. Please refer to the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and the Official Rules when available for live competitions.

21. How can I submit my idea?

You can enter the competition on the WayFounder website.  During competitions a new page will appear dedicated to the entry process.

22. Where is your office located?

WayFounder is headquartered in Beverly Hills, California. We work with partners both here in the United States and across the globe to bring your ideas to life. For more information about WayFounder corporate operations, click here.

23. What if I have an idea that doesn't fall into one of the main categories for the Spring 2014 competition?

Every WayFounder competition will include a Wild Card Category.
Wild Card Category: Ideas can be for any category other than the ones noted above. For example, your idea could be a board game for adults, an exercise product, a new sunglass design, or an educational app for schoolchildren.

24. Where does the money come from?

WayFounder has its own venture capital fund dedicated to building companies from winning ideas. Our investors don’t just provide money; they provide “smart” money. We select investors who add strategic value to the WayFounder model, having funded and built successful consumer product and app businesses. These investors are invaluable in turning your ideas into healthy companies that are built to last.

25. Are you an incubator or accelerator?

No. WayFounder is a “Idea Generator.” We do not invest in companies. We invest in ideas.
Unlike traditional incubators and accelerators that seek individuals or teams with ideas and provide money, mentorship and resources to build a business, WayFounder seeks individuals who have ideas for products or apps, but lack the resources and are unable to make the full-time commitment to building the business. WayFounder compensates “Idea Generators” up-front with a $10,000 cash prize and immediately commits additional funding for experts in that consumer category to build a business. The “Idea Generator” is rewarded financially at every phase. There is a cash prize for winning a competition, a generous royalty on sales of each products, and founder equity if a new business is spawned by the idea.

26. How does WayFounder define scalability?

WayFounder considers these three questions in determining scalability:
  1. Is the realization of your idea a single product, a line of products, or an entire new category of consumer products or apps?
  2. How big is the potential market for customers? Is there potentially a large market of consumers whose needs are not currently being met?
  3. What is the estimated cost to bring an idea to market as an initial validated product?

27. What are the categories?

Categories will vary for each competition but for the Fall 2014 competition, we sought ideas for physical consumer products and mobile apps in the following categories:
  • Baby and Parents
  • Pets
  • Home and Garden
  • Fitness
  • Education
  • Toys
  • Wild Card
Wild Card Category: Ideas can be for any category other than the ones noted above. For example, your idea could be am automotive accessory or a fashion product.

28. When does the first competition begin and end?

The WayFounder Fall 2014 Competition will run from 12:01 am ET October 15, 2014, through 11:59 pm ET on December 31, 2014.

29. When will there be another competition?

WayFounder is planning on producing three to four competitions per year. After the first competition ends, we will announce the dates and categories for the next competition. The best way to stay informed is to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

30. When will we know who won?

Winners will be announced approximately four to six weeks after the competition ends. This time frame could change, depending on the number of submissions and how long it takes our team to thoroughly judge and evaluate entries.

31. What if my idea does not get selected, what happens to it?

WayFounder wants every idea to have the best chance of success. If an idea isn’t selected as a winner for the competition in which it was entered, our team wants to explore all options to bring that idea to life. WayFounder will retain the rights to submitted ideas for a period of six (6) months after the competition end date during which time we may contact the inventor and offer him or her a prize and chance to become a WayFounder.

32. How is a 5% royalty calculated on sales of my product?

Winning ideas will have up to $50,000 committed to bringing the first iteration of a product to market. WayFounder uses a simple “net sales” formula to calculate royalties for contest winners on the sales of their products. Royalties are calculated by using a product’s gross sales then deducting taxes collected, shipping costs, product returns and costs associated with the production and/or distribution of the product.

33. What does 5% equity represent in a WayFounder company?

If the first iteration of a product brought to market does well and WayFounder determines it has the potential to scale up into a larger business, we will invest up to $250,000 in that new company and bring in a dedicated CEO and team to grow that business. In addition to the 5% royalty on sales of the first product released, the winner will receive 5% equity in the new company on the same schedule as the new CEO and investors. As the new company grows and increases value for WayFounder and our investors, the contest winner will share in the success right along with the rest of the team.

34. Why is my royalty 5%?

WayFounder believes that a 5% royalty, based on our simple calculations, is both rewarding for our competition winners, competitive, and, in many instances, considerably more valuable than the typical 1% to 3% royalties many other platforms offer to inventors.

35. Why is my equity 5%?

If WayFounder takes a product to the second stage of financing, investing up to $250,000 and forming a new company, the equity assignments need to reflect those of an actual business, not just a single product. As businesses grow over time, they require more talent and exponentially more financing, both needs that are satisfied with industry-standard equity distributions.
Also 5% is a standard “idea premium” for founders in many start-up ventures.

36. Can International users submit ideas?

WayFounder plans on running competitions in the near future for international inventors. However, the current competitions are open only to US entrants.

37. Can already patented ideas be submitted?

Yes. While patents or existing intellectual property protection is not required for idea submissions, such protections provide additional confidence in our evaluation of the potential size of a WayFounder business.