how can i discuss my startup app idea with confidentiality

Hi i have a startup app idea that im working on and wish to discuss with an expert to get feedback on feasibility, how to scale it, revenue model viability, etc.. how can i discuss this with confidence where i know my idea is safe. is there an NDA thats there between the expert and me?


1. I can draft an NDA for you or you can find numerous examples online (although they are not tailored to your specific needs, they should be ok if you want to save the money).
2. Most mentors/experts/investors don't sign NDAs - we/they work with too many startups and have usually heard your idea numerous times before and therefore don't want to be limited. Second, it takes too much time (consider that they/we speak to tens of startups every day...if we had to spend 30 minutes reviewing NDAs we wouldn't get any work done).
3. In 99.9999% of the cases no one will steal your idea. Everyone has ideas, what makes entrepreneurs unique is that they actually implement them.
4. Sharing your idea with as many people as possible will ultimately help you (they will give you feedback, they will tell you if it exists, they will tell you what to improve, and they will criticize you and try pursued you not to do it - and if you listen, then it means you shouldn't be starting a startup anyway).
sorry for sounding 'tough' but all the above is the honest truth - and if you want to succeed ask for honesty, not praise.

I've successfully helped over 300 entrepreneurs, startups and businesses, and I would be happy to help you. After scheduling a call, please send me some background information so that I can prepare in advance - thus giving you maximum value for your money. Take a look at the great reviews I’ve received:

Answered 4 years ago

Hi there, great question.

When dealing with professional investors, especially VCs and active Angels, it's usually pointless to ask for an NDA. They'll reject your request out of hand and your request will mark you out as a newbie.

The basic reason for this is that active investors and professional investors don't want to steal your idea. They've got reputations to protect. Stealing ideas will get them blacklisted in the startup community. There's nothing more valuable to an investor than their reputation and besides, they want to invest in good ideas and teams, not steal from them.

It can be helpful to use NDAs with technical experts (assuming they'll sign it) and with vendor/service companies for your startup. There are NDAs available to entrepreneurs. They're definitely of varying quality. If you want to develop and use an NDA, I recommend hiring an attorney to help you when you're ready.

Here's a video I put together on this topic in case it's helpful:

Answered 4 years ago

If it is an idea (as opposed to a patentable solution), don't bother with an NDA. NDAs are notoriously difficult to enforce and only sends the signal that you are (potentially) a naive founder. There are certain situations where an NDA might be useful:
- When you have to discuss a patent-pending solution (typically where you have to walk through the entire process of building the solution or algorithm).
- When the expert may have visible conflict of interest (e.g., investor in a competing product).
- You need to have an NDA as part of another contract (e.g., maybe a client you are working with prevents you from sharing information with anyone else). This is obviously very rare.

Generally, if this is an app idea you're working on right now, it is better to be as open about it as possible and get clear and honest feedback from them. I have worked with over 300 individual founders and 60 early-stage companies in the last two years—and not one of them had any information worth NDA-ing. The benefits of brainstorming with an expert far outweighs the risks of the information going into the wrong hands.

Further, even if 0.5% of the people in the world have had similar ideas, that's 39m people who already have the same idea.

Answered 4 years ago

Fully agree with what was said before - despite what you might think, your idea is most likely not unique, and most likely not the final version of your business model. Moreover: the more you talk about it with people, the more you will be able to finetune your idea and get one step closer to success.

Make sure you have a clearly defined target group (no, "women 20-30 years old, breathing" is not qualifying), who will find your offer irresistible, and that you know how to reach that target with marketing as this will be behind 90% of the reason your company will succeed.
I can help with that :) Happy to jump on a call if you wish.

Answered 4 years ago

Be prepared a lot of people will not sign an NDA.
Reasons include:

- they have multiple interests, and may already have something similar, or may identify someone who can execute in the future; an NDA prevents them from pursuing this in the future or possibly moving ahead on current developments

- you need them more than they need you; you have no leverage, that's why you're asking for their help.

It sounds like you are not looking for a technical expert, you're looking for a business expert.
- customers are your experts that provide feedback on feasibility;
have you launched a minimum viable product to obtain feedback through?

I highly recommend learning lean startup methods and evaluating whether they offer a better route. They will help you learn regardless of who you discuss with, and
it may be easier & faster to engage experts *who will USE the product
than those who will have an opinion on the product.

Answered 4 years ago

Hi, the answer to your question is yes, I recommend consulting with a lawyer and come up with a basic NDA & MNDA forms you'll sign with each expert you want to consult with before your session with them.

Answered 4 years ago

I do understand your concern, I am glad to help you. Before you sit with an expert keep these suggestions in mind.
1. Proper labelling: Under applicable laws, if a company does not take sufficient steps to treat its own confidential information as confidential, legal protection may be lost. Labelling confidential information also serves as a practical disincentive for someone to abuse confidential information. Labelling can appear on electronic and hard copy documents. A label could be: " Confidential information and property of ABC Corp. No part of these materials may be copied, used or disclosed except with written permission of ABC Corp. "
2. Insert non-disclosure provisions in employment agreements: It is a best practice that employees who have access to confidential information sign an employment contract which contains non-disclosure provisions. If a company has confidential information which is particularly sensitive, it should be clearly identified in the contract. The employee should be obligated to return confidential information when employment terminates. Although it can be exceedingly difficult to enforce non-competition provisions in an employment contract, confidentiality provisions are generally legally enforceable. Although the law imposes certain obligations of confidentiality on employees, confidentiality provisions in an employment contract make it abundantly clear that the employer is serious about confidentiality, and therefore help prevent problems from a legal and practical perspective.
3. Check out other agreements for confidentiality provisions: As a matter of day-to-day business, companies enter contracts with service providers including consultants and suppliers of IT services (such as hosting and software implementation). Many standard form contracts which are prepared by service providers do not contain any confidentiality provisions in favour of the customer (or contain very "weak" provisions). In these circumstances, it is best to sign a separate confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement (commonly known as an "NDA") with the service provider, or "beef up" the confidentiality provisions in the service provider's contract.
4. Limit access: A company with confidential information should be careful to limit access to confidential information to only those employees who have a "need to know". By doing so, the company strengthens its legal position and also helps establish a practical "roadblock". Hard copies of documents should be kept locked, and electronic copies should be password protected. Computer access should be monitored. The monitoring of "suspicious activity" may help in a legal claim against a departing employee should the need arise.
5. Add a confidentiality policy to the employee handbook: A company's employee handbook should contain a confidentiality policy that spells out procedures for dealing with confidential information. For example, the policy should require that documents that are to be destroyed be shredded (instead of simply being put in the garbage or recycling bin). Of course, the written policy must be consistent with the confidentiality provisions in employment agreements and other legal obligations.
6. Exit interview for departing employees: During an exit interview, the employee should be reminded to return all confidential information which is in tangible form, and should be reminded of his or her future obligations regarding improper use and disclosure of confidential information to future employers and other third parties.
7. Consider notifying the new employer: If a company is particularly concerned about a departing employee working with a new employer who is a competitor, a letter may be sent to the new employer that outlines the former employee's legal obligations regarding confidential information of the former employer. The letter can often have a "legal chill effect" on any competitor who wishes to actively or implicitly induce a new employee to disclose confidential information of a former employer.
8. Review carefully NDAs from third parties: Companies are often presented with "standard form" NDAs from third parties. After a while, they can all look the same but sometimes there are important differences. For example, an NDA may require that in order for information to qualify as confidential information, it must be identified as such in writing at the time of disclosure, and if the disclosure is made orally, the confidential nature of the information must be confirmed in writing within a certain period of time after disclosure. This obligation may be quite onerous for a company that discloses confidential information, and therefore it can easily overlook the requirements of the NDA. The best approach for a company which is disclosing confidential information is that the NDA provides that all non-public information that is disclosed is confidential regardless of whether it is marked confidential and regardless of the form in which it is disclosed.
9. Watch out for the term: NDAs often contain a time period after which the confidential information is no longer subject to the restrictions in the agreement. The time period may be too short or inappropriate and a company should consider this point carefully when it signs an NDA. It may be more appropriate to make obligations regarding confidential information perpetual (if permissible under applicable laws).
10. Keep watch over your visitors: Where appropriate, visitors to a workplace should sign a confidentiality undertaking upon arrival. In addition, they should always be escorted and should be kept away from areas where they may be exposed to confidential information
Besides if you do have any questions give me a call:

Answered 4 years ago

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