Much like being an entrepreneur, working with entrepreneurs is a boom or bust proposition.
"We're almost like a Venture Capitalist firm," Gunner Technology founder and CEO, Cody Swann, said. "But instead of investing money, we invest knowledge, sweat and technology. And we'll help you every step of the way - conceptualization, prototype, implementation, launch, growth, exit. We've done it all."
Gunner Technology stands out from other options that entrepreneurs who are just starting out.
"If all you have is an idea, you don't have a lot of good options," Swann said. "You can hire a full technical team, which is going to run you about $200,000 a year even if you are giving your team stock options or you can outsource your idea to India or similar and pray you get back something resembling your idea. Or you can have your cousin who 'knows some coding' work on it in their spare time. In our experience, none of these options work out too well."
And with the number of ideas out there, there's plenty of tech entrepreneurs who approach Gunner.
"They say ideas are a dime a dozen, but I'd say it's more like a penny a barrel," Swann said. "Some are great. Some not so much."
Separating the great from the not-so-great is the starting point for such relationships.
"We'd love to work with every entrepreneur," Gunner Vice President of Product Development, Jeramiah Anthony, said. "But that's not feasible. Plus, we're doing someone a disservice if we don't tell them their idea is flawed."
Sometimes the idea just isn't possible (think teleportation).
Other times, the idea has been done and the entrepreneur isn't aware of it.
And others, the cost required become prohibitive.
"If someone comes to us with an idea for a generalized social network, it's probably not going to work out without a Brinks' truck full of cash - a fleet of Brinks trucks - because we're going to be competing with Facebook," Swann said.
Gunner also likes to know how involved and what roles the entrepreneur is going to play.
"This isn't a 'throw-it-over-the-wall' relationship," Anthony said. "It's a partnership. A lot of times people bring us an idea and expect them to give them a call when it's a million dollar company. That's not the way it works. What roles are you playing? How many hours per week are you putting in on this? Are you moonlighting your idea or are you full time?"
Moonlighting works in the beginning, Anthony said, but the entrepreneur needs to have a plan in place of when they are going to move to full-time.
The other big piece is market size and monetization.
"That's a huge piece of it," Swann said. "We need to know what the market size is and what the plan is for generating revenue."
Niche markets are fine - sometimes even better than a general market - but each entrepreneur needs to be able to answer basic questions about their market.
If a client's idea passes the vetting process, Gunner will agree to a one-month relationship with absolutely no client commitment or risk.
"It's 100% free," Swann said. "We find a one-month trial works out really well for both parties. We'll get you a team and get going on your idea at no cost. It helps build trust and let's both parties know if the relationship if a fit. We'd rather find that out quickly and make nothing than enter into a contract and make money in a bad fit."
At the end of that first month, both parties can decide what the relationship will look like going forward.
Sometimes, that's month-to-month.
Sometimes it's a multi-month agreement.
Usually the compensation involves a combination of cash and equity or revenue sharing.
"We want our success to be tied to our clients' success," Swann said. "That's why, from a business standpoint, entrepreneurs are the biggest boom and biggest risk. Just like a VC - if it hits, we all win big. A miss, and everyone loses, but we're always in it together."
Below are some of the entrepreneurial clients Gunner has worked with.
Check them out for case studies and more and contact Gunner using the form below to discuss an idea and start a 30-day free trial.