I’m a newbie to this game, (call me ‘fresh meat’)…15 years ago, I rolled the dice and decided to go into the domain business. At the time, I was working as a janitor at a hospital. I had read an article about the college kid who registered Loans.com and sold it to BOA for $3M. Thought that was a pretty neat trick, and decided to go and do likewise. I put a pot of coffee on, broke out the yellow pages and my thesaurus and ended up registering 50 of the best domains I could conjure. (This was back during the .com boom, so there were still some good ones out there).
Over time, I had to let most of them go…I did sell one, and recouped about 3/4 of my initial outlay. But I hung onto my two best brands. Fast forward to 2014. Finally pulled my head out of my @ss, and decided to start my own business. Started doing some research on the market, and couldn’t believe how stupid I was for just sitting on these! Ugh…
Without divulging the actual brands, suffice it to say that my best domain is the .com of an entire segment of the healthcare industry. The market itself, that this .com represents, (quite perfectly, I might add…), generates $225 billion in annual revenue to doctors and hospitals all across America. I knew it had great potential, I just didn’t know how much?
I’ve been offered a good deal of money for this domain, but once I started looking into it…I began realizing it’s true potential. So I turned them down flat…
My problem is…I’ve never started a business like this before. I began by approaching some doctors who worked at the hospital where I worked. And most simply couldn’t believe that I even owned this brand…(being a lowly janitor, and all). So I approached the marketing dept. at the corporate level, to see if they would be interested in helping me develop this into a business? The VP of marketing got back with me immediately, and after asking a few questions, told me that the company wouldn’t be interested in any type of joint venture, but would I be willing to sell it? I said, sure…give me a couple of days to shoot you a price, and I’ll get back with you. When I came back with a figure that I was comfortable walking away with…the deal fell apart. But that’s okay.
The entrepreneurial learning curve is steep for me…but doable. So here’s my question…I’m sniffing around this local startup accelerator. They are focused strictly on healthcare. My research indicates that a prominent local VC is bankrolling this; and the intent is to bring a few startups up to speed, and then cherry-pick which ones they want to bankroll. My concern is…I don’t want to lose my company. They offer $100k in seed, 3 months of building a team and fleshing out your business model, and then they take 7.5% of your equity. Plus another 2% to 4% for the 2 to 5 ‘mentors’ that they assign to your team. That’s potentially 27.5% of my equity before I even get out the gate! There is also every reason for me to think, that they wouldn’t want someone with my background, running this business. (I was actually told this by another very successful VC, who was nice enough to meet with me, and discuss it). This scares the sh*t out of me!
This is my one best shot at building a multi-million dollar company, and I feel like I’m climbing into a tank full of hungry sharks, with Lady Ga-Ga’s meat dress on! I’m approaching an attorney, with experience in startups and VC financing; but don’t have the money to pay him. So I’ll have to offer him some kind of equity deal, for his continued advice.
Any thoughts would be most appreciated.