Found out that my idea already exists. Should I continue?

I have an idea on creating an app to connect pet lovers all over the world. However, after 6 months of hard work, we just found out there is a website (and app) called yummy pets that’s been around for 6 years.

Now my team is torn apart and they all gave up, except for me. I still try to keep working on the idea, and I am working with a small team from overseas. They used to be my friends in high school, real good app developers. But working afar seems really hard for me because they don’t seem to pay enough interest. Plus, I’m a non-technical founder, so a bit of disadvantage when working with them.

The idea is still burning in me but I don’t know what I should do next to continue. I’m just a 22 year old student.

Please advise

  • The fact that something already exists should not discourage you from jumping in as well. Many successful companies (e.g. Groove) started in a market where there were already many players.

    However, if the company has been there for 6 years and their name is synonym of the service that you want to offer, you need to know that it will be almost impossible to get big traction. That coupled with the fact that your team is not totally in, it doesn’t look to good.

    If you still want to give it a try, you need to differentiate yourself. And by that, I don’t mean offering one or two more features. You need to address a different segment of the customer base and that segment need to be big enough to sustain your future business. You need to produce a product that solves a real problem for pet lovers. Nice to have almost never make successful products.

    So go back to the drawing board and if you can’t differentiate yourself enough, than maybe you should also think about going for another business. Do your homework right this time. If that company was there for 6 years and it took you 6 months to find out, that means that you didn’t do your homework right the first time.

    Good luck!

    • I’ll second this.

      Remember, Google wasn’t the first search engine and neither was Facebook the first social network. You just need to have something to differentiate your product/service and/or a better execution of your plan than your competitor(s).

  • If you think your idea is already out there, you should determine whether the other party has filed patent applications or if they have granted patents (to start, check If the other party has an issued patent (not just a patent application but a granted or issued patent), you will need to figure out whether what you are doing is covered by the claims of the granted or issued patent to avoid possible infringement. I would be less worried about a competitor, and more worried about any intellectual property they might have. After all, you can always build a better business if you have the freedom to do so.

  • You should be happy for the fact that another player exists, that already validates your market for you.

    No market can ever be a monopoly. Even if you have a first mover advantage, similar businesses are going to come up and compete so don’t worry. You compete for market share.

    Launch your app and as the person above perfectly says, differentiate.

    Good luck.

  • Stop not because an app exists — that’s a partially good thing.

    Stop because: 1) “…my team is torn apart and they all gave up, except for me. I still try to keep working on the idea, and I am working with a small team from overseas.” and 2) “I’m a non-technical founder”

    Non-tech founders are fine, just not in this case if you cannot get a product out the door.

    Next startup add both Competitive Analysis and Market Validation to the beginning of your process.

    Finding competitors means there’s a market (good). Define your differentiators when going through this process.

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