Re: Positively now
Two things I'll say from my role with a VC group in Washington DC:
As far as where to go, I'll tell you what I tell anyone I talk with. Go where there's a customer. Make that first sale and go where that leads you. Until you've got at least one paying customer you do not have a business. Full stop. You've got an accounts payable department.
Whatever your grand plans may be, they go directly out the window when you land your first customer. Every single thing you do from that point forward will be determined by who that customer turned out to be, what you actually sold them and what you've got to do to sell more. Those three things are very often surprises for everyone involved.
About a half dozen proposals a month make it to my desk and I might actually talk to two of them, maybe. But anytime a proposal comes up and they've got a functional balance sheet (meaning any kind of revenue) I will always call them. Always. Even if I'm not remotely interested, I might know someone who can help them, and they've got my attention because they have an actual business. It doesn't need to be profitable at that point, or even have a clear view of when that might be, but if they've got just one sale under their belt they are 100% closer to success than all the other dreamers out there.
The notion of a unique idea is a fallacy. Someone has thought of it, guaranteed. Ideas aren't your job. Your job as an entrepreneur is to make money with the idea. That's the hard part, everybody's got ideas, but most people have no idea how to make money with the ideas. The people that can help you give exactly zero shits about your idea. They'll help you because you've figured out how to make money with the idea. That's what they're buying into, your vision of how to monetize (x), doesn't matter what it is. You and your plan to make money with an idea is what they're investing in, nothing else.
Go wherever you've got to go to get the resources you need. When we add a company to our portfolio the first checks we write are almost always to the family and friends of the principals. We're buying up the 'emotional debt' that's a hinderace as well as proof that people believe in you. If you can't beg or borrow enough money from those close to you to get rolling, then why are you asking me for money?
And as far as someone stealing your idea, it is a risk (get used to those), but legitimate investors aren't in the business of stealing ideas to run businesses with, that's too much work and we've already done it. You'll have to put your ideas out in public forums, no way around it, but everybody there is going to be focused on their idea, not yours.
Besides, as I said earlier, it's your money making plans that matter and those will be confidential. Anyone who is interested enough to question the financials will provide you with a bilateral NDA that protects you and them. You'll have the opportunity for your own lawyer to review it as well if you like. If you've actually made it to money discussions you're in serious territory then and money is on the line, monkey business has been checked at the door.
Lastly, don't ask your government for help. Unless you're in China or Zimbabwe. They generally mean well but they will strangle you to death, by accident.